Born and raised in San Bernadino California, Bobby Green came from a rough upbringing. With his father working in the streets and his mother a drug addict, Bobby and his brother were raised primarily by their grandmother. Now after 30 years and experiencing indescribable emotional pain, Green has a chance to truly show the world who he is as a fighter and as a man in his first UFC main event this saturday. This is the Bobby Green story.

Tough Beginnings

Bobby grew up in San Bernadino California and was raised in a dangerous neighborhood. Speaking on his upbringing, Green had this to say.

“There was so much violence. People get killed all the time. People are everywhere, laying on the ground sleeping, it’s in the slums, in these dark places. It’s a dead city. My Dad was in the streets and my Mom was on drugs. When you get hooked on that type of stuff that’s it. That’s all you know and all you do.”

Bobby saw more than he could bargain for when he was a child. Drug abuse, gang activities, and much more was going on around him. But by the time he was only four or five he knew poverty and pain more than anything else.

“She couldn’t take care of us, she didn’t have the means. I remember being so hungry I would eat dirt. My dad said he found us once and our pampers were full, and hadn’t been changed in three or four days. My mom brought us to our grandmother’s house, she had smoky yellow eyes. My brother was maybe six months old.”

Paving his own path

Bobby would go on to middle school and high school in Fontana, California and would pick up wrestling in high school. His brother went a different direction, and joined a gang when he was only twelve.

Green said that his grandmother always taught him to protect his family, take care of himself, and stay off of the streets, so Bobby took up wrestling in high school, and became quite good at it.

Two years into high school, another disaster struck. Bobby’s caretaker and grandmother passed away. Green was supposed to be put into a foster home until he turned 18, but one of his teammates had other thoughts.

John James Ballestero, Green’s teammate on his wrestling team, found out the news about Bobby’s potential entry into a foster home and went home to tell his parents, and to convince them to allow Bobby to live with them.

Bobby would be adopted by the family so that he could remain in high school and continue wrestling. 

“I started developing character. I started learning that I could get people’s attention. I could be something. I could be a state champion. I could be great.”

Origins of a fighter

One night Green was hanging out with friends, drinking and talking about life. One of his buddies mentioned a freestyle wrestling tournament the next day, so Bobby signed up for it. He showed up at the tournament and started styling on everyone.

“The match started, and I’m doing things no one’s ever seen. I’m jumping, spinning over the guys back, doing some weird twists.”

Green would would win the match decisively, and impressed everybody in the building.

As he was leaving the wrestling match, a man would come up to tell him he should become a fighter. He showed Green a picture of a fight card. One that had the man Bobby just outwrestled fighting for a belt.

Two weeks into his mixed martial-arts training, Bobby would go to Mexico for his first fight. In his early fights, he said he just fought so that he could make a living as a fighter. He fought with passion and heart, and fighting started giving him recognition and let him make a name for himself. 

He became King of the Cage champion and solidified himself as an excellent fighter. He would then sign with Strikeforce, one of the best promotions at the time. He had five fights under the Strikeforce banner, and after losing his first via split decision would go on to win the last four.

Bobby Green’s UFC Career

After the UFC purchased the StrikeForce banner, Green would be added to the UFC’s roster. In his first fight he was +235 to Jacob Volkman who was a -300 favorite. Green would shock everybody but himself by dominating Volkman and finishing him by submission in the third round.

The Bobby Green Story

Bobby Green during UFC 199 media day at the Forum in Inglewood, CA., Thursday, June 2, 2016. (Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

Green had been beating the odds since he was just a child, and he continued to do it in the UFC. He would put together three more wins that year, giving him a seven fight win streak since his strikeforce days.

Unfortunately, right as things were at their highest, tragedy struck. Bobby’s brother Mitchell was shot dead in a drive-by shooting in May of 2014. The murder shook Bobby to his core, and he didn’t know how to proceed with his career.

Although Green and his brother had gone down different paths, they always kept in touch. Bobby used his money from fighting to help push his brother away from the gang, but it wasn’t enough. Bobby was over an hour away when he found out his brother had been shot, and could not make it home in time.

Inspiration

Bobby had one choice: to continue to fight and get better in his brother’s name. He would fight less than three months after his brother’s passing, and was nervous and unprepared. He told himself he just had to do it for Mitchell. He knew he needed to fight and win for his brother.

Green would fight Josh Thomson on July 26th 2014. Thomson at the time was a Strikeforce legend and within the past two years had fought Gilbert Melendez for a belt. He also was coming off a split decision loss to Benson Henderson after beating Nate Diaz by KO.

This would be the biggest fight of his career at the time, and he went in with pure heart and passion for his brother. He would fight an absolute war, showing the UFC he was the real deal, and getting the victory on the judges scorecards.

“When you’re in a fight with me, you’re not gonna break me because life has tried to break me so many times.”

First Main Event

This coming weekend marks Bobby “King” Green’s first UFC main event. He’s five and two since 2020 and fought just two weeks ago as the first fight on the main card of UFC 271. Jon Anik stated at the end of his fight that he’d “love to see Bobby Green awarded for his hard work with a UFC main event.”

Anik’s wish would come true a few days later as Green would accept a fight against Islam Makhachev that will happen this Saturday. Green is coming in on short notice off of a fight less than 15 days prior, but will look to make the fight a gritty and fun fight.

Makhachev is known for his grappling, and Green had some opinions on his style. He told Ariel Helwani that Makhachev doesn’t have fights, he has matches. He’s a skilled grappler, but Green expects to go into the cage and punch him in the face.

He wants to make it a real fight, not a match. He wants to confuse and overwhelm Islam, and he’ll be hoping to do it against the odds once again. Green is a +550 underdog, one of the biggest male MMA underdogs in recent history.

But Green isn’t worried about that. He’s going to go in there and show why he’s been so successful with this for the past 15 years.

“Fighting showed me that you can be different, you can be misunderstood, but at the end of the day everything boils down to choices. You can change everything, it all just depends on YOU.”

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