Back when Kimbo Slice was tearing up the internet street-fighting circuit in Dade County in the early 2000s, there was a kid named Bobby Green doing the same thing in California as a teenager who enjoyed a good fight. Prior to kicking ass as an MMA fighter and earning his stripes as the King of the Cage junior welterweight and lightweight champion, the 24-year-old was handing fools beat-downs as a backyard fighter.
"We would fight in backyard empty pools and guys were getting slammed on hard cement. There would be boulders, glass and dog s*** all over the floor," Green reflects. "I would just take off my socks and put them on my hands for protection. I would fight the biggest guys. Nobody my size wanted to fight me because they knew I was tough from school, so I'd have to pick the biggest guy to fight."
His unsanctioned throw-downs were fun, but dangerous. Not to mention that they didn't pay a whole lot of money. So the former high school wrestler began to seek out other career options after graduation to take care of his yet-to-be-born son. He took a job in a warehouse, but just knew that he needed to be kicking someone's ass for a living rather than stacking boxes. That's when MMA came calling.
"A friend offered me an opportunity to fight," Green recalls. "I'm already fighting bare-knuckles for free, so why not make $500 to do it with some gloves?" Honestly, fighting with socks on your hands looks silly and can leave you with funky fingers. And who wants a stinky handshake? Not Green.
The difference between Slice and Green is that the Californian is still fighting MMA while Slice has been run out of the sport. Sporting an impressive 15-4 record in the three short years he's being fighting professionally, Green's raw, unadulterated talent has translated well in the big leagues. In fact, he's so raw that he affectionately named his fighting style "Hood" instead of "Jiujitsu Practitioner" or "Kickboxer."
"At that time it was like a way to throw my opponents off," Green says about the style title that he has since stopped using. "When you hear a guy is a Brazilian jiujitsu fighter you know you can't go to the ground with him. When you hear that he's a boxer, you figure you shouldn't stand and trade punches with him. I called it 'hood' so no one else knew what I was going to do. People would be like 'Hood? How do I fight that guy?'"
He's become something like the drunken master of MMA as he wrecked his foes with his bastardized style. He was even granted the opportunity to showcase his eccentric style to mainstream audiences when he was featured on Season 3 of "Bully Beatdown" and roughed up a tough-talking wannabe rapper. (Watch the full episode right here.)
Tomorrow night (July 30), Green will have his chance to shine under the bright lights of Strikeforce when he takes on Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante on the under card of Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson. It will be a major step up in competition for Green, especially considering that he took the fight on 11 days' notice.
"I'll fight anybody at any given time," Green explains. "I don't say no to anyone. I'd rather test myself against the best."
The fight is a huge opportunity for Green to take his game to the next level. With a mouth to feed at home, he'll be damned if some fighter who shares a nickname with the world's greatest rapper will deny him of a once in a lifetime opportunity.
"I'm still not financially stable," he says. "I'm still trying to do everything I possibly can as a father to my son. It's getting better, but I'm still looking for something that is going to have my son financially set."
Hopefully on Saturday night the "King" will go from fighting in empty swimming pools to putting one in his backyard for his son to swim in.
+ Watch Bobby Green's "Bully Beatdown" post-fight interview below.