Matt Riddle says alcohol caused JFK incident, discusses failed drug tests

Originally published at Matt Riddle says alcohol caused JFK incident, discusses failed drug tests

Former WWE and UFC talent Matt Riddle spoke about some of the more controversial topics surrounding his career when he joined Ariel Helwani’s “The MMA Hour” program this week.

Riddle, the current NJPW World Television Champion, opened up about an incident at JFK International Airport last year, provided further detail about his time in rehab and failed WWE drug tests, and touched on the allegations of sexual assault surrounding him.

Last September, Riddle claimed in a social media post that an “officer” at the New York airport sexually assaulted him. In the now-deleted post, Riddle said that the incident was “really weird and uncomfortable” and made him feel “small and useless.” The post was made after Riddle returned to the U.S. following a WWE event in India.

Riddle told The MMA Hour that “I put myself in that situation,” and that numerous factors — including consumption of alcohol — caused the incident to occur.

“I had a really bad ear infection. And then of course you had a couple of cocktails on top of that … Flights were delayed. It was just a perfect storm,” Riddle said when discussing the incident. “If I wouldn’t have a couple of drinks, I wouldn’t have put myself in that situation.”

Riddle claimed that while he doesn’t believe the incident at JFK resulted in his release, “it didn’t help.” He also went on to mention that the incident — when he alleged that an airport staffer assaulted him — was a “sign” that he had been overworking himself.

Later in the conversation, Riddle said that cocaine use was what caused him to go into rehab during his time with WWE. Riddle said his failed drug tests occurred after he “went to the strip club and did some cocaine a couple of times.”

Riddle didn’t seem bothered when reflecting on mistakes he had made earlier in his career. “I made those decisions,” he said. “I live with those consequences, or the fun, or the not fun, and learn and live from it. That’s all I can do.”

The conversation later touched on the sexual assault allegations that have been brought forward against Riddle in recent years. In 2020, during the Speaking Out movement, wrestler Samantha Tavel alleged that Riddle sexually assaulted her in 2018.

Riddle, who admitted he had an affair with Tavel, continued to deny sexual assault. He put down those who had accused him previously, claiming that the allegations were an attempt to take him down.

He was later asked about the lawsuit against former WWE boss Vince McMahon, which included allegations of sexual assault, trafficking, verbal and physical abuse. When discussing the lawsuit filed by a former WWE staffer, Riddle was hesitant to say whether McMahon was in the wrong. He called the text messages included in the lawsuit “disturbing,” but still has pause about the case.

“The hard part for me with all of this is, I don’t know, it’s just a finicky area,” he said. “It just seems like he ends up in these situations. There’s always large sums of money involved, and just, I don’t know.”

Other former WWE talents have been less hesitant to denounce McMahon. Earlier this month Bret Hart claimed he has “absolutely zero respect” for McMahon.