United States military personnel figuratively come in many shapes and sizes. From the recruiters to the radar technicians to the pilots to safety personnel to the foot soldiers, everyone has a job and they are all important. Unfortunately, the reality of their differences really sets in upon returning home from duty.

While all jobs are equally important, the burdens they carry can vary greatly. One of the most common afflictions these warriors bring home on a daily basis is post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is not just a condition related to combat veterans, but can arise from any traumatic experience. It’s all over the news when something bad happens as a result, but it doesn’t always make the headlines when somebody battles the condition, gets better and turns to assisting others as his calling in life.

Professional MMA athlete Chad “Robo” Robichaux is a U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran. While he served in the military, he was not at a desk on U.S. soil, nor was he on a ship out at sea. Robichaux was on the ground in Afghanistan, and when he came home, life was much different.

Robichaux (Andy Hemingway/Sherdog)

“After my eighth tour, I was diagnosed with PTSD,” Robichaux revealed in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “I almost lost my family to it. After I was able to put things back together, [my wife and I] decided to start helping others. We used the platform of an accomplished athlete to do that. I have an MBA and a Ph.D., so I have the education to direct a large foundation, and I have the backstory, the experience and the platform. I wanted to bring it all together to be very successful at what we do and help a lot of people. My partner is Dave Roever from the Roever Foundation. Dave’s been doing this since Vietnam.”

At 38 years old, Robichaux has had quite a career—actually two, for that matter. In addition to fighting on foreign soil, he has been fighting in the MMA ring since the turn of the millennium. Undefeated for a decade, the warrior didn’t lose his first MMA battle until 2011, when he fell via a third-round TKO. He followed that with his second loss, a first-round submission. Definitely in a low point of his career, he was sort of slipping. However, as he learned with PTSD, pain is temporary and he will live to fight another day.

Robichaux is a second-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Carlos Gracie Jr. and Vinicius “Draculino” Magalhaes. He also holds black belts in traditional Japanese jiu-jitsu and karate and has been in martial arts since he was five years old. With his extensive ground skills, Robichaux has all but one of his 17 pro MMA victories by submission. Needless to say, that submission loss hurt, so he came back big with a 51-second submission of Joseph Sandoval in his last fight.

“A lot had changed in my life, so I was really focused,” Robichaux admitted. “All I wanted to do is beat Joseph Sandoval.”

The win over Sandoval has led to something big. Even after appearances in Strikeforce, Bellator and Legacy Fighting Championship, the combat veteran is now set to fight on one of his biggest stages yet.

On Saturday night, live from the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Fla., World Series of Fighting will host its sixth event, and Robichaux will be facing another longtime MMA competitor in Andrew Yates.

“It was five or six months ago we started to talking to World Series,” explained Robichaux. “As for the bout itself, I’ve had almost three to four months to prepare for it.”

Any fighter will say that three to four months is too long for a camp. There is a certain timing involved that allows a fighter to peak at just the right moment. It’s not a very ideal situation to train much beyond eight weeks, with some needing much less, but for this combat veteran, it was a good deal.

“In this case, I just tore through my camp, really getting prepared,” he said. “I’m glad I did in this case, because I got to really sharpen some things that I wanted to work on that play into my game plan and strategy for this fight.”

Approaching 40 years old, the BJJ black belt is never too old or wise to keep learning. That’s what Robo is all about. And, to him, age isn’t really a factor.

“I’d like to compete maybe five more years,” Robichaux explained. “It’s not really an age thing. I just have certain goals in my life, and other things besides fighting. At that point, I want to have progressed past competing, not because of competing, but what comes with it, like the long camps and stuff. I think if you take care of your body and train hard, you can make it into your 40s in this sport.”

Robichaux (R) (Andy Hemingway/Sherdog)

Yates may only be 24 years old, almost young enough to be Robichaux’s son, but the elder of the two knows that in MMA, as in military combat, you never know what to expect.

“I’ve been in this sport a long time, and the one thing I know, when you get another special athlete in there, anything can happen,” Robichaux said. “So, I’m training for him just like he was anybody else, Miguel Torres or anybody else. I’m taking him very seriously. I know he believes in himself and his camp believes in him, so I’ve put a lot of hard work in.”

Fortunately for Robo, Yates is not a complete mystery. He’s spent most of his fighting days at the amateur level, which surprisingly yields a lot of tape. Yates is on the Wand Fight Team, and most of his losses are by decision or submission.

“He’s kind of all over the place,” said Robichaux. “It’s hard to figure out what his style is. I do think he handles pressure very well, which is a tough match-up for me, because I fight that way. I’m a tornado. If there’s a way to hurt somebody, I’ve got a technique to take advantage of that. I think it’s great, stylistically. I think it’s a great match-up for me.

“He’s taller than me, but we have the same reach—a 68-inch reach. I feel really superior on the feet. I’m definitely superior in jiu-jitsu. I don’t know his wrestling, but I consider myself as good as any other wrestler in MMA. That’s the only unknown, but I wrestle with [NCAA] Division I college wrestlers everyday. I’m taking them down, they’re not taking me down. And these guys are bigger than me, so I don’t see him throwing anything at me that I haven’t seen.”

Nobody could ever expect an eight-tour veteran to be anything but ready, especially when he has a decade of pro MMA under his belt, which also happens to be black. The WSOF knows the value of this Marine, and the promotion intends to ride the wave for a little while, at least. While this warrior’s lifelong cause is helping out fellow veterans, he is a professional fighter and still has his eyes on the prize.

“I signed a four-fight, 18-month agreement with the World Series,” Robichaux stated. “I’m 17-2 as a pro, so I [have one of the best records] in the division, next to Miguel Torres, although on this card he is fighting at [featherweight], not bantamweight. You’ve got [Marlon] Moraes and [Carson] Beebe, and Moraes will probably win that fight. I’m sure with [WSOF’s] inaugural belt coming, they’re going to start ranking guys within our organization, and I’m interested to see where I fall. My eyes are set on getting a shot at that first belt or whoever gets that first belt. I want to fight for that World Series belt.”

Focused and ready, Robichaux will be bringing a whole new level of warrior into the ring against Yates come Saturday night. It will be one more battle to add to his lengthy resume of combat. However, no matter how many birthdays he has, there is one war he will never stop fighting—the war on PTSD.

“I’m a director of a large Christian-based veterans non-profit organization under the Roever Foundation, and I run the faith-based part, the Mighty Oaks Warrior Training Division,” explained the former Marine. “The website is operationwarriorreconnect.org. We work with guys on active duty and veterans coming home who are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. We work with reintegration. We do camps for them. We do family camps and retreats. We have four ranches around the country that we take them to, and it’s all paid for by the foundation. I do a lot of public speaking for that, speaking in a lot of churches.

“The suicide rate is 22 per day and the divorce rate is 90 percent for combat veterans, so it takes an organization to step up and get these guys the freedoms that they fought for, and that’s what we’re doing. We have a Christian-based and a non-secular-based approach, but I happen to run the Christian-based side.”

With an impressive background, a ton of talent and the backing of a great fight team, a growing promoter, a wonderful family and a foundation that supports his cause, Robichaux is never just sitting on the sidelines. He’s a father, a brother, a warrior and a spiritual guide for wounded souls. But come Saturday night, he’s a mixed martial artist, and when the cage door closes, he means business.

Robichaux would like to thank all of his coaches and training partners at Gracie Barra Magnolia, his sponsors: Enlisted Nine Fight Company and Training Mask, his wife and children and, of course, his foundation, the Mighty Oaks Warrior Training Division of the Roever Foundation. Follow Chad on Twitter: @ChadRobo

Photo: Chad Robichaux (Andy Hemingway/Sherdog)