By the summer of 2014, Bobby Green seemed poised to become a mainstay as a force in the lightweight division. Then 28-years old, and with 6 years and 28 fights under his belt, he was coming off the biggest win of his career, a split decision over former Strikeforce champion Josh Thomson.
But health, competition, and life can all be unpredictable things. What had been an 8-fight win streak became a 3-fight losing streak over the next few years. And a career marked by consistency and work-rate became plagued by injuries and personal tragedy. Green lost his younger brother and another close friend in the lead up to a hard defeat to Edson Barboza. It was a period he later looked back on as “a tornado of emotions.”
In the months following, Green suffered a torn quad and, shortly thereafter, a torn ACL. He spent a full year-and-a-half on the sidelines recovering before returning against Dustin Poirier, who handed him just the second TKO/KO loss of his career. ‘King’ Green then pulled out of a planned fight with Josh Burkman due to “personal issues” and didn’t return to the cage until 2017, where he lost to Rashid Magomedov by split decision before drawing against Lando Vannata. Eventually, Green returned for a strong win against Erik Koch in January of 2018, but back to back knee injuries once again sidelined him until the end of the year, and a fight against Drakkar Klose at UFC on FOX 31.
Green’s bout against Klose was a tough, somewhat back-and-forth affair. But one in which Green appeared to do the majority of the work — especially over the first two rounds, where Fight Metric accounts for him out-landing Klose at a 2-to-1 clip, as well as securing a takedown and a submission attempt. Still, judges unanimously awarded his opponent the decision, putting Green’s record at 1-4-1 in his last six fights. And in doing so, it seems, may have also spelled the end of Bobby Green’s MMA career.
Green announced his retirement from fighting in a short, and since deleted, Instagram video (as part of the video, Green announced that he would be deleting all his social media accounts).
“It is an interesting world we live in,” said Green (transcript via MMA Mania). “I felt I won but when we got these judges, you know. I think I’m done. I think I’m done. I’m going to retire. I’m going to focus on my kids. Focus on their upbringing. We give a lot of time away for this sport from my family. I’m done. Thank you all for supporting me. I retire.”
“I don’t have to deal with the (expletive) judges or deal with some of the lifestyle that comes with this,” he continued. “Thank you all for your support. I will be deleting all my social media, and I’m done. But thank you so much. I hope I inspired someone to do some thing. It’s an honor and a blessing to have done this. Love you.”
Green wasn’t the only fighter to announce his retirement on Saturday, following the UFC’s latest trip to Milwaukee. Light heavyweight Adam Milstead left his gloves behind in the cage following his TKO loss to Mike Rodriguez on the Fight Pass prelims.
“There’s a beginning, there”s an end. That’s life,” Milstead wrote on Twitter after the fight. “It’s what lies between those two is what matters. I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to fight on the biggest stage in the world. Where life goes now is a question but I’ve never shied away from discovery. Thank you all!
Of course, in combat sports, a stated retirement is rarely the final word on a fighter’s career. Many have walked away from competition in the face of a hard defeat, only to return months later, reinvigorated and ready to fight again. Bloody Elbow reached Green’s manager for comment on the announcement. In his own words, “I would wait to let him cool down.”