By Lindsay Toler
By Chad Garrison
By Allison Babka
By Lindsay Toler
By Jake Rossen
By Lindsay Toler
By Kelsey McClure
By Lindsay Toler
Above all, teenagers still brawl. "You don't really grow up around South Broadway without learning to fight," says one scrapper from the area.
But Mike Green has changed for good. A decade ago, he'd be the one littering in the alleys, but now he's the one picking up other people's trash. A one-time friend of the dope dealers, he's now trying to sweep them off the streets. (Two of his biggest pet peeves, he says, are people who don't recycle or cut their grass.) He no longer gets in street fights, and he has a tattoo of Einstein on his hand, reminding him to think before he acts.
Neighbors appreciate his efforts. "Mike is the godfather of the south side," says longtime friend Wally Frankovic. "He's the guy who will never do you wrong — as long as you never do wrong to him. Everybody on the streets shakes his hand."
More than a godfather, though, Green is simply enjoying his role as father. Each one of his teammates calls him the best dad they know. As one of them puts it, "Maddy comes first, and then there's everyone else."
"We best buddies," admits Green. Tattooed on his wrist, just below that dangerous right hand, is the word "Daddy." (The only part of fatherhood that he seems worried about is the inevitable talk about periods.)
On a morning in late January, however, Green's mostly preoccupied about his upcoming fight. It's the day before his headline match at South Broadway Athletic Club, and Green has been pitted against Daniel McKinney, a fresh-faced city kid with seven fights under his belt. "He's a young cat — looks like a brawler," says Green, his body jittery from a 24-hour fast prior to weigh-ins.
With a 38-18-4 record, Green is still dangerous in a cage, and he's an instant crowd draw. He's upped his training regimen to two workouts a day, and later this year he'll defend a local belt he won recently in his 155-pound weight class. "I'm not going anywhere anytime," he assures. "I never met nobody who could step on my toes."
But in the back of his mind, he's worried about losing for the second time in a row, which would be a first. A few months ago, he suffered his first knockout, alerting him to the sobering reminder that, at age 37, he's no longer invincible. Age lines have creviced into the scars encircling his eyes, and his withered knuckles have started to swell.
"There was a time when not a whole lot of people wanted to fight Mike Green, but today is different; he's not the Mike Green he was twelve years ago," says Biondo. "Now, his name is almost like a brand, and young kids want to fight him. He's turned a lot of people into MMA fans. He's a St. Louis story."
South Broadway Athletic Club, minutes before the St. Louis legend enters the cage for the headline match in front of a sold-out crowd.
Madeline, hyper all night thanks to the free Dr Pepper offered by her favorite bartender, has been selling raffle tickets and using a giant green foam hand to bop heads in the crowd. Her voice is hoarse from cheering; her tongue painted blue from a lollipop.
But now, in the late hours of the evening, she channels a fighter's mentality. She strides to the locker room door and assumes her position to lead Green's entourage in a parade to the cage.
The opening bell sounds; Green bows to his opponent. After a few seconds of dancing and warm-up jabs, the legend comes at McKinney with a karate kick to the chest. McKinney stumbles and goes down. "Let's see some blood!" shout the fans.
Like a tiger, the legend pounces on his victim and assumes a chokehold. McKinney wiggles free and flips the legend on his back. But the move is reversed. Soon, the legend is straddling McKinney's waist, unleashing a flurry of right hooks to the side of the head. One minute and 56 seconds after the opening bell, McKinney motions for surrender. He is done.
Maddy runs onstage and gives her hero a hug.
Eventually, the chaos dies down, and the fans retreat to their cars, leaving the fighters, girlfriends and club attendants behind. And sometime during those moments, Mean Mike Green, the fighter, transforms back into Dad.
He slings his gear over his waist, as Maddy tugs at his waist. It's past her bedtime.Correction published 3/4/11: In the original version of the story, we erroneously stated that Mike Green graduated from St. Mary's High School. Though he attended St. Mary's, he graduated from Mehlville Senior High School.
Wish the best for Maddy in whatever she does. Wish the best for her Mom also. Hope she continues to try to repair her relationship with her daughter. People do change and everyone deserves a second chance. Godspeed, Tina and Maddy....may very well be a long journey- definitely worth enduring.
I know Maddy IRL (: Might be going to her cage fight! Wish me luck getting tickets.. getting expensive really fast.
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Good luck, Mike and Maddy!
Being a friend of Mikes' going as far back as I can remember. He has always been a fierce competitor no matter what it was. I see the same in Maddy. Shes a very bright and beautiful young lady, but just like her Daddy dont piss her off! I am proud of his and her accomplishments in and out of the ring. Im even prouder to call them both my friends and extended family. To Loam and Fabs bring your sons to a fight and challenge "The Madness" and we'll see who gets the living daylights kicked out of them or winds up with brain damage. No one would, this isn't boxing. Research the sport a little better before you make accusations of such things. Then again I wouldn't expect anything less from the uneducated. This is Maddys' time to shine please dont tarnish this moment for her with your rash comments. Watching her train would make the laziest of men get off the couch and want to train! Thank you Maddy! We love you!
Interesting you assume I have a son. Son or daughter, I have no interest in bringing my progeny to a fight. Thank you, though, for the invitation, as well as for your assumption that people who are not interested in fighting are uneducated. We just find our inspiration in other, safer things.
Lets just say you and your father were Tennis Players and I made a comment like, "I wonder how your Dad would feel if you fell and your Tennis racket were to get lodged in your ass?" Then again you would probably feel nothing. With me knowing nothing about Tennis it sounds pretty stupid maybe even ridiculous. With you knowing this is virtually impossible unless I learned how to play Tennis on South Broadway. Cause with a comment such as yours I'd graciously shove the Tennis racket up your bum! Its a good thing you and your progeny aren't interested in fighting because the world needs more Tennis Players.
As a father I have to wonder how Mike will feel when he watches an opponent kick the living daylights out of his daughter. Then again, he may feel nothing.
Madeline is representing the new breed of young people growing up in this sport. I think this is very exciting. Martial Arts are great for everyone who has the temperament and willingness to train consistently. It's amazing to me that Maddy has learned so much, so quickly and is able to defeat opponents in a variety of fighting styles. Well done, Daddy Green for recognizing talent in his own daughter and nurturing her passion. Mini-Warrior Princess!
The only thing that's going to happen to her is brain damage and she'll have her dad to thank for it.
Thats a fairly narrow minded generalisation to make. Sure people get injured in sports like this but the numbers are tiny.Youre just as likely to get injured as a pedestrian as you are in a fighting ring.
She will have her amazing father to thank for her self confidence, discipline, and guidance that will make her an amazing woman. Wish every little girl was lucky enough to have such a loving devoted father.
there are other ways to give your daughter self confidence, discipline, and guidance that will make her an amazing woman without brain damage and dementia and roid rage
1. karate 2. girl scouts3. military(when shes 18)
by the way what boy would want to fight her i mean every boy in history is taught to never to hit a girl
She'll also have him to thank for broken bones or teeth - or even brain damage. There's a reason there are laws against children participating in this kind of fighting in most states.