Eric Middleton, nicknamed "The Bug Ninja", is a Entomology Student from St. Paul Minnesota, who currently studies at the University of Minnesota. Middleton has always developed an uncanny interest for insects, and encourages to change many believed perceptions about them to the public.
Middleton first competed in Indianapolis in American Ninja Warrior 8. His run in qualifying was cut, but he finished the course holding the 9th fastest time of the night.
In the city finals, Eric was one of the many competitors that failed the Hourglass Drop, where like in qualifying, he placed 9th overall and advanced to the national finals in Las Vegas.
His run on Stage 1 was digested, but it was shown that he timed out on the Flying Squirrel, seconds before losing his grip.
Eric returned to compete in Kansas City in American Ninja Warrior 9 where his run was cut in qualifying but it was revealed that he failed the Bar Hop. Eric placed 17th overall and advanced to the city finals. His run in the city finals was digested but it was shown that he failed the Floating Monkey Bars, where he placed 4th and made his second trip to Vegas.
His run on Stage 1 was cut but it was revealed that he finished Stage 1 with 23.52 seconds remaining. In his first trip in stage 2, he failed the Wave Runner.
In American Ninja Warrior 10, Eric returned in Minneapolis. As a confident representative of his home state, he placed a bet to have Matt Iseman and Akbar eat a tempura-fried tarantula should he be able to finish the qualifying course.
Confident about his bet, Middleton flew through the course at a brisk yet efficient pace. Although he decided to go straight for the regular 14'6 wall, he became the first finisher of the night and not only moved on to the city finals, but also successfully made Matt and Akbar eat the tempura-fried tarantula. He finished 2nd overall, just behind Joe Moravsky.
He hinted after his qualifying run about placing another bet during city finals, this time on Kristine Leahy. True to his word, he placed another bet to have Kristine Leahy eat a mealworm lollipop should he be able to finish the city finals course. His actual run was digested, but it was shown that he made it to the Iron Maiden, an obstacle he barely missed out on attempting last year in Kansas City, only to slip off the bottom of the first panel. Becuase of his fall, he ate the mealworm lollipop instead during his interview. Despite being unsuccessful with his bet this time, his still placed 7th overall and made his third straight trip to Vegas.
In Stage 1, he made another bet with Matt and Akbar so if he cleared the course, they each would have to eat a scorpion. In the end, Middleton pulled through on the bet, clearing with 16.16 seconds left, leaving Matt and Akbar to eat the glazed scorpion.
His run on Stage 2 was digested but it was shown that he failed Deja Vu, broke his nose, and failed to have Matt and Akbar eat fried worms.
Eric returned for American Ninja Warrior 11 in Oklahoma City. In qualifying, his run was digested, but it was shown that he had cockroaches for sideline reporter Zuri Hall to eat if he hit the buzzer. However, in a huge shock, he failed the dismount on the Fly Wheels. This is the first time that he failed to qualify for Las Vegas, let alone the city finals. Zuri was seen to be very relieved as she gladly placed the cover back on the cockroach dish.
- Eric is one of two athletes to be nicknamed "The Bug Ninja." The other being Tyler Smith.