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UFC Fight Night: Bobby Green is fighting for not himself but his kids

UFC Fight Night: Bobby Green is fighting for not himself but his kidsDAZN
The reason Bobby Green fights isn't what you think it is.

'Being a fighter is a demanding profession. The sacrifices made by the men and women who put on the line are unheard of.

From multiple training sessions a day to eating, making sure you get the proper sleep, to taking care of your body, it is a 24-7 job. Adding children to the mix makes it even more challenging for many reasons. 

Bobby Green is no different as he steps up on ten days notice to take on No. 4-ranked lightweight Islam Makachev on Saturday in the UFC Fight Night headliner from the Apex in Las Vegas, Calif. Green had just come off a stellar performance at UFC 271 on Feb. 12 when he beat Nasrat Haqparast via unanimous decision to notch back-to-back victories.

Days after the fight, Green was enjoying the fruits of his labor and was going to help his girlfriend recover from surgery when he got the call to replace Beneil Dariush and main event his first UFC card.

"All you can eat sushi. I went to town. It's was all you can eat," Green excitedly told DAZN News. "I definitely got my money's worth as (I had) spicy tuna, eel, octopus.

"She (Green's girlfriend) was very understanding," Green added. "I've always told her work comes first and providing for my kids is the first thing that I'm interested in, and everything else is just second. I'm sorry about that. But as a man, I'm supposed to work and provide.


Green didn't have it easy growing up in San Bernardino, Calif. Green was placed in foster care at the age of four as his dad was in prison, and his mother was addicted to drugs and sent him into foster care. 

Green began his mixed martial arts career in January 2008. He went 19-5 before finally making it to the UFC with his first fight in the organization in February 2013.  He's 10-7-1 inside the Octagon heading into his first bout on top of the marquee. But the struggle and sacrifice to make it to this point is as real as it gets. 

Green has three children with three different women. One of them lives with him. The balancing act of giving three kids the same amount of attention while fighting is brutal. But it's one Green has finally started to figure out. 

"I'm getting better at it over the years," Green admits. "My kids are getting a little bit older. My youngest is six. We're getting to the point where I'm getting a little better. At first, it was driving me nuts. Women pull on you all these different ways and what you're not doing right and wrong. But now, I'm so much better at it, so it’s balanced out now."

As they have gotten older, Green's kids have started to pay more attention to his fighting career. While they enjoy what their father does for a living, Green knows they don't care about what he does. Like any child, they just wanted to spend time with their father, regardless of his job. Going from UFC 271 to this weekend's contest has made Green realize that even more.

"Yeah, they're proud of me," Green admits. "I think they're more so worried about spending time with me. My issue is that when I take on these five-week camps, I haven’t seen my kids in five weeks. The last one (fight) was short notice. It was five weeks. And so I haven’t seen my kids in five weeks. Then I'm like, ‘Daddy's coming home. Daddy's coming home. It's time to go play. It’s time to go have a good time’. Then I get another call like, ‘Oh, actually, I have to go back to work."

"They don't understand. All they understand is that daddy’s not here. Daddy’s somewhere else. Daddy's not here. It plays on my heart. But I think over time that they will recognize what I've always told him that we have to make sacrifices for what it is that we want."

When Green is in fight camp, he tries to talk with his kids every day. With the advent of Facetime, Skype, and other video devices, it is easier to connect with family while you are away. Though technology is more advanced, it still is difficult for Green to talk with his loved ones.

"Even that can be an issue," Green said. "Time confliction. For instance, my daughter, who lives with me, doesn't see me often, and she lives with me. The kids get up, and they have to go to school at seven. So I'm sleeping. Then I have to be training at 10. I end around maybe 12, one. Sometimes I have to go to two, three practices. They're not getting out of after school program until like four or five.

"When I finish training and everything, and I've had a meal, it's around three, four, maybe four, not falling asleep. So I'm sleeping through the time that they got home. Then it's I'm up by seven to get to practice by eight. I'll see my daughter and say, Hello, kiss her. From there, I go to practice. I don't get back to 10, 10:30, and they're sleeping. It is really hard. We just miss each other."

That would appear to be the most challenging thing in being a fighter from the surface. Not to Green because of the way he grew up without having his parents by his side to guide him in life and show him what loving someone is all about.

"There's a lot of things hard about the profession," Green said. "A lot of things that are hard about this profession. I don't know if it's the hardest because you have to understand. I've been in foster care since I was about four years old. I never had a mom and never had a dad. My dad was in prison most of my life. My mom's on drugs and gave us away. When you don't have those things, I don't have attachment issues (like saying), ‘I miss my mom. I miss my dad’. 

"I never had those. Sometimes I even suffer with connections with my kids. I don't understand how they miss me because I never had that feeling. They're feeling these things that I never had to feel because I had to get used to not having them."

But as time has gone on, the 35-year-old has begun to understand better the way his kids feel towards him, which in turn, has helped him grow closer to them with each passing day.

"It's all-new, and it's strange," Green admits. "I'm trying to learn every day. I'm trying to be the best father I can be and deal with the chips I was dealt. Yes, I start to realize, like, ‘Oh, he's having an attachment with me’. 

"It's very hard. I'm still learning and doing the best I can."

Makhachev has been a runaway train since entering the UFC. He's 10-1 and is currently riding a nine-fight winning streak, with five of those wins coming inside the distance. So when Dariush pulled out, the UFC looked far and wide. All of them declined, except for Green, who understands the hype centered around the man that many pundits feel will be the next lightweight champion. 

"I'm very aware of the hype," Green said. "That's why nobody else wants to take it. To some people, it may look crazy. It's like, ‘Why would you do that’? 

"But I'm a crazy motherf—er."

A win over Makachev puts Green in line for a significant fight and perhaps a crack at the winner of the lightweight title clash at UFC 274 between champion Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje. But, to Green, getting the elusive shot at the title doesn't mean much to him. 

"A win for me puts me closer to the title, which I really don't care about," Green claims. "But a win for me gets me more paid, and that's about it. It gets me paid."

For the "King", it's about being a prizefighter and making the most money for his three kids, who, at the end of the day, mean more to him than anything else. 

"If I had the title, I couldn't jump in on a week's notice," Green said. "They (UFC) wouldn’t even call the guy with the title to jump in for the fight. To me, it's the money I can make. I feel like some people may get put on a certain schedule. We need six, eight months to promote you or to promote the fight. Me, I'm just popping them out. This is the third fight in four months. Just being that active and you can stay in front of the people's faces. 

"I'm always fighting for the money. It is always about the money."