St. Cloud MMA fighter hooked on crocheting

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Many of us have a hobby that helps pass the time or calm the nerves, but a heavyweight fighter from St. Cloud has a unique pastime for when he is not in the ring.

In the gym, it’s easy to see Maurice “The Pirate” Greene gets his kicks from mixed martial arts.

"It's not so much the fighting, I like the competitive nature, the competitive aspect of the sport,” said Greene.

But when he's not in the ring, this MMA fighter could be part of a knitting circle.

"It keeps my hands busy and I think it’s cool you can take a skein of yarn, one little thing you bought at the store, and make something that will keep you warm for 10 years," said Greene.

Greene learned to crochet nearly 10 years ago as a way to pass the time at work and during his commute on the train in Chicago. Since then, he's knitted more than 150 items from hats to scarves and everything in between, many of which he's sold under the name “The Crochet Boss.”

"The night before a fight I don't do a whole lot,” said Greene. “That's time to crochet. In the locker room before the fight, before I really get into the zone. Maybe I want to calm down. I don't care what anybody says, we all get nervous. That calms my butterflies."

At 6-foot 7-inches, 260 pounds, Greene is nobody's punching bag. But so far, he hasn't had to take any jabs about his love of yarn.

"At first they are like ok, but then they see the product they see what I have in store,” he said. “They're like, ‘You made this?’  I'm like ‘Yes.’ They say, ‘You just made that look really cool.’"

Greene may have the skills to wrestle any opponent into submission, but he says his hobby is the real knockout.

"I make some dope merchandise," he said. “I do say, ‘This is not what your grandma made. This is made by The Crochet Boss.’"

Greene says he's not the only crocheter in his family. In fact, his relatives will have a crochet competition at a reunion this summer. In the meantime, he will battle for the LFA heavyweight championship at the Armory in Minneapolis on April 27.