“I’m not joking, it is why I fight. If I didn’t think I could represent the military and the military community the way that I do and the way that I have, I’d be done fighting.”
Those were the words of Strikeforce middleweight Tim Kennedy on a recent edition of MMAWeekly Radio.
That is the weight that he carried on his shoulders into Saturday night’s fight against Robbie Lawler at Strikeforce & M-1 Global: Fedor vs. Henderson in suburban Chicago. And it’s a weight he gladly shoulders while everyone else points to shiny gold belts.
Kennedy handles the pressure well. He stuck with his game plane, outpointing Lawler over the course of their three-round fight, taking home a unanimous decision. His focus never wavers.
Questions, of course, centered heavily on title talk after the fight.
“I’m gonna be working out on Monday. I’m gonna be getting ready for a fight. I’m gonna be very interested in the fight on Sept. 10 against Luke Rockhold and (Strikeforce middleweight champion) Jacare,” he answered politely in a Showtime Sports post-fight interview.
But the emotion doesn’t emanate from his eyes when he talks about titles. That’s reserved for another topic, his brothers in arms.
It came pouring out of Kennedy, a member of the Special Forces in the U.S. Army, in the cage after the fight. Getting a hug from his buddy Mike Schlitz, an Army veteran that lost both arms in an IED blast in Iraq.
“I love fighting. You guys come out here and watch me fight,” a highly emotional Kennedy told the crowd, then pointed to Schlitz. “Who cares about me, these are the guys that need all the recognition. These are the guys that sacrifice everything!”
He continued in his post-fight interview with Showtime, “I don’t do this for the money; we don’t make enough. I love the fans and everything, but I do it for the guys that are overseas. I love those guys, I wish I was there right now.”
Kennedy had to pause to collect himself, on the verge of letting his emotions run wild.
“Every time I’m in that cage, I wish I was with them. But I’m here right now, so I’m just gonna keep on fighting until I get back overseas.”
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