Formed at FC Bibo in his hometown of Yamoussoukro, he made his professional debut in 2005 with Belgium’s Anderlecht. In 2008, after a loan at Roda JC, he joined Dutch club FC Twente, winning the Eredivisie in his second season. After that, he signed for Newcastle United in England for a fee of £3.5 million. Tioté totalled 156 games for Newcastle over six-and-a-half seasons, scoring one goal. In February 2017, he joined Beijing Enterprises of the China League One, where he died in June in a training session, at the age of 30.
Tioté played 52 times for the Ivory Coast national football team from 2009 to 2015, scoring once. He represented the country at two FIFA World Cups and four Africa Cup of Nations, winning the 2015 edition of the latter.