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December 19, 2014

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Q+A: Retired UFC star Forrest Griffin discusses his SNAP Experience for Three Square

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Forrest Griffin watches fighter introductions at UFC 160 on Saturday, May 25, 2013, at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Griffin announced his retirement at the post-fight news conference.

Nick Lachey at Three Square

Nick Lachey visits Three Square food bank during his Winnit.com's Everybody Wins Tour. Launch slideshow »

UFC 148: Griffin vs. Ortiz

Forrest Griffin nails Tito Ortiz with a left during their light heavyweight fight at UFC 148 Saturday, July 7, 2012 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Griffin won a unanimous decision in what was Ortiz's retirement fight. Launch slideshow »

Las Vegas food bank Three Square launched a new effort this year titled the SNAP Experience, in which volunteer participants agreed to spend $3.71 per day from last Monday through Friday, for a total of $18.55 per person the five days, to learn first-hand the food-budget challenges that Nevadans face.

SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or formerly commonly known as food stamps, and is a federal-nutrition program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. More than 106,000 households in Clark County receive an average SNAP benefit of $260 per month.

One of the participants was retired UFC star Forrest Griffin, and I talked with him last Friday about his SNAP Experience, which wasn’t, ahem, a snap.

What compelled you to agree to take part in the SNAP Experience for Three Square this week?

To be completely honest, I wanted to see if I could do it, to live off a certain amount of dollars each day.

How did your week go?

It was really tough, especially in a house with a wife and a young child. I ran out of money on Wednesday.

What’s been the most difficult part of limiting your spending on food?

I’m used to eating a lot of meat at lunch and dinner, and I love dessert, especially dark chocolate bars. I’ve eaten a certain way for years, and I’m not much of a cook. It was definitely a lot of Rice-a-Roni and macaroni and cheese. And ramen, too.

What was the most surprising thing you learned this week?

I ate like this in my early 20s. I was broke for a long time. It was surprising to learn how much you have to sacrifice.

How is this different than your normal eating habits when you were competing in the UFC?

I eat a lot of meat and vegetables and fruits, expensive fruits, and it’s not cheap when you’ve eaten a certain way for years for work.

What are your favorite foods and guilty pleasures?

Dark chocolate bars, and those are not cheap.

Any big plans this year?

My big plan this year is to stay more involved with the day-to-day of the UFC.

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

I’ve already broken all of my New Year’s resolutions (laughs), so I’m going to start over with Chinese New Year.

The City of Las Vegas, City of North Las Vegas, City of Henderson, Boulder City, City of Mesquite, Weight Watchers and AARP were community partners in the 2014 SNAP Experience.

Don Chareunsy is senior editor for arts and entertainment of the Las Vegas Sun.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

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