A common and annoying misconception in the combat sports community is that an MMA fight is a ‘war’ between two competitors putting everything on the line for a victory. Such a statement is not only absurd and incorrect but a blatant insult to the men and women who actually put their bodies on the line for our freedom and protection.
Chad Robichaux, a former United States Marine turned professional MMA fighter, would be among those offended by the comparison of war to an MMA fight. For Robichaux, who competes this Friday night on HDNet for the Legacy Fighting Championship against former UFC fighter Joseph Sandoval, getting punched and kicked in the face for fifteen minutes is incredibly easy compared to dodging bullets for multiple hours of the day.
With several years of combat deployments under his belt, Robichaux has lived through some frightening experiences and, like most veterans, struggled with PTSD—post traumatic stress disorder.
It was a tough battle but Robichaux’s love for his family and of martial arts helped him prevail in the end. So when the opportunity arose for Robichaux to help fellow veterans overcome their battle with PTSD, the proud veteran took a step away from his fighting career after two consecutive losses to focus on a new foundation.
“When I decided to step away [from MMA] it was actually the worst time for me because I just had a real desire to get back in there and compete,” Robichaux said in an interview with Five Ounces of Pain.
“I went 11-0 and then I took my first loss against [then-Bellator bantamweight champion] Zach Makovsky and Zach just out-performed me but the loss that came directly after that was a fluke in my opinion. I was just itching to get back in there and the opportunity came up for me to work with wounded veterans and we decided to start a foundation.”
That foundation is called the Mighty Oaks Wounded Warrior Foundation and it is a Christian-based nonprofit organization committed to helping wounded warriors and their families with a variety of unique programs. These programs are specifically designed to help wounded veterans with PTSD and other hardships brought on by their service to our great country.
“I went through PTSD so basically we took some of the things that helped me get back on my feet when I got back from my last tour in Afghanistan and emulated them into several different programs. We are running about ten different programs a year and we just started back in September but we have blown up big due to all of the support we’ve gotten,” explained Robichaux. “We have programs that run for about six months at a time but then we have ones that run for a full year. The guys that are up here for a year, basically I’m mentoring them one-on-one and teaching them how to get jobs in the martial arts community.”
“When I came home I found that martial arts in addition to my wife and my faith were the only thing that grounded me,” he continued. “I’ve been doing [martial arts] my whole life but I would have these panic attacks but they would go away as soon as I hit the mats and started grappling.
“If you lift weights you can still think about things because your mind tends to wander but when you’re grappling or training in MMA, the only thing you’re focused on is that moment and what you’re doing. You cannot drift off and day dream on the mats so it is proven to be a highly effective form of therapy.”
Robichaux briefly retired from MMA upon his involvement in the foundation but a certain UFC Hall of Famer ignited his passion for competition once again. Now reborn as a flyweight, Robichaux is aiming for a contract with the UFC as soon as possible.
“I had to make a decision because we were going to take it up to a rural area away from the city and there was nobody to train with in the area that we chose,” Robichaux said.
“When my wife and I decided to do it, it was one of those things that I had to sacrifice which was the ability to have a team and compete. However, once we got up here I come to find out that Randy Couture is up here so even though I gave up something, I got blessed with something better,” revealed “Robo”.
A victory over Sandoval would bolster Robichaux’s record to 12-2 and, when considering the UFC’s partnership with the Marines and the fact that they are in the process of building up their flyweight division, a win could all but guarantee Robichaux a contract with the major league promotion of mixed martial arts.
“My next step after this fight is to make a push for the 125-pound division in the UFC. I just really want to fight on a Fight for the Troops card. I’ve competed in Bellator and Strikeforce as well as being the bantamweight champion for the Legacy Fighting Championship so there shouldn’t be any reason that the UFC wouldn’t give me a shot,” Robichaux said. “I don’t see anyone in the flyweight division that I wouldn’t be able to compete against. My footwork and cage control has improved drastically. I feel like I have the ability now to dictate where the fight takes place against anyone that I step in the cage with. I feel very confident that nobody in the entire flyweight division will have any sort of control in dictating the pace of the fight against me.”
Catch Robichaux’s fight on HDNet when the broadcast starts tomorrow night at 10:00 PM EST.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE