To say that the last year of Tim Kennedy‘s fight career has been disappointing would be an understatement.
The former Army Ranger left the military to pursue a full-time career in mixed martial arts, but between 2011 and 2012 he only fought a total of three times, and Kennedy would classify that as many things, but hardly full-time.
A big part of the problem Kennedy has experienced falls on the shoulders of Strikeforce, who put on less shows per year than other promotions like the UFC or Bellator, and thus fighters don’t get to compete as often. Add to that two cancelled shows to close out 2012, and Kennedy was as frustrated as any fighter on the roster could possibly be.
“I’m a business owner. I have employees and there’s been transitional periods where we’re moving from one warehouse to another, or we’re maybe being bought out by another company, but regardless, I’m going to take care of my employees. I think your first obligation as an employer is to the people that work for you,” Kennedy explained when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio.
“Fighting one time in a year is ridiculous. Especially because the reason I left active duty service was to fight. I love special forces, I love everything about being a sniper, I love jumping out of airplanes, I love wearing a green beret, and I love being surrounded by a bunch of bad asses. I left what I loved so I could fight, and since I left I’ve fought like two times.”
The disappointment abounded for Kennedy after Strikeforce announced the line-up for the final card in their existence and it consisted of three title fights plus heavyweight Grand Prix winner Daniel Cormier leading the way. Within weeks, however, the card was whittled down to one title fight and Cormier, with a slew of other fighters dropping off due to injury.
Kennedy doesn’t want to point the finger and say that somebody wasn’t legitimately hurt, but he believes it’s awfully suspicious that name after name fell by the wayside and now they are looking at a future in the UFC without ever finishing business for Strikeforce.
“I don’t know why Strikeforce would go out and say, ‘Hey, all these guys are going to be on this card,’ and then a week later all these guys aren’t on the card. From Luke Rockhold to Gilbert Melendez to (Jorge) Masvidal, it’s like all the marquee guys that you know are going over to the UFC are conveniently injured,” said Kennedy.
“I’m going over there (to the UFC) but I don’t care. I’m still going to go out and fight, I’m going to fight a risky fight against a guy that’s dangerous that nobody knows on the last Strikeforce card. If you’re a fighter, act like a fighter and go out and fight, and stop acting like a little (expletive) and go out and fight.”
Kennedy does admit confusion when it comes to the list of fighters already chosen to go to the UFC, while some others are literally fighting for their careers on this last Strikeforce card.
“Fighting is an industry where you could get cut for anything. It’s an industry depending on how your performance is you could get cut, medicals, anything you could get cut. There’s no telling,” Kennedy stated.
“I have no idea how they work. Sean Shelby and Joe Silva, I’m sure they have a method and a process to it, but sometimes I think they just (expletive) in one hand, and they have this big dry erase board with all these names on it, and they just throw poo on one dude’s name and then the other name they like highlight it and circle it and draw happy faces and like little golden stars.”
Whether it’s the dream of a UFC debut or just no desire to fight one last time on the sinking ship that is Strikeforce, Kennedy wishes more fighters would have stepped up to compete on this final card because that’s what fighters do – they fight.
“Bottom line, it comes down to if you’re a fighter you should fight. You shouldn’t be poising yourself to leap to start the next segment of your career in a different promotion. Your loyalty has to lie with who is taking care of you. Strikeforce has taken care of me. I could have easily been like, ‘Oh, my vagina hurts too. I’m not going to fight,’ and then just get on a February card because I was miraculously healed,” said Kennedy.
“I’m not. I’m going to go out and fight cause that’s what I think people should do.”