Where the Heart Is: Tim Kennedy’s Calling Lies With His Brothers and Sisters in Arms

November 7, 2013
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Tim Kennedy Troops Octagon-478x270After serving multiple tours of duty in the Middle East during his professional MMA career, UFC middleweight Tim Kennedy finally retired from active duty in 2009.  Serving as a sniper in 7th Special Forces Group, Kennedy was on the front lines of America’s longest running war(s) and has been an ambassador for the armed services ever since.

On Wednesday night, Kennedy fought in front of his brothers and sisters in arms at UFC Fight for the Troops 3 emanating from Fort Campbell, Ky.  In the night’s main event, Kennedy dispatched of the surging Brazilian Rafael Natal via first-round TKO stoppage.

It was Kennedy’s first knockout finish under the Zuffa banner (Strikeforce/UFC) and it left the crowd in attendance visibly elated at the spectacular left hook finish.

Having been away from active duty for so long, resentment and guilt are common themes for soldiers no longer serving alongside their brothers and sisters. It is an all too familiar story that most veterans are forced to deal with sooner or later.

After his victory over Natal, Kennedy leapt to the cage in a show of pure exaltation and yelled a myriad of comments to the servicemen and women cheering him on from their seats.

When asked post-fight what exactly he had said, Kennedy elaborated, “There was a lot of ‘I love yous’ and ‘I’m sorry I left you’ and ‘I’m embarrassed to be in here’ and ‘please forgive me for leaving you,’ and just a lot of that kind of sentiment,” explained the 34-year-old veteran.

“I wanted to get off the cage, run into the crowd and never come back.”

It was undoubtedly a complex mix of emotions that Kennedy was experiencing on Wednesday night.  Having been retired from active duty for a number of years, and performing in front of all these American soldiers, it is understandable that Kennedy would feel the way he does.

But as Kennedy put it, this wasn’t just a one-time thing; in fact, these feelings of guilt have been plaguing him for some time. And if it wasn’t for Kennedy’s better half, the Army might currently have one more tough guy on its roster.

“Every day. Every day,” replied Kennedy when asked if he thinks about returning to active duty.  “My wife and I – we don’t argue – but one of the things we have points of contention about is me putting back on a uniform. I’m always like… if a war kicked off, then she would probably have to give in.  Right now, she’s on the upper hand.

“I miss it every day.”

But would you actually ever return to active duty?

“If a war kicks off, absolutely. For sure. Positively,” he said with stone-cold glare.

Kennedy holds his fellow brothers and sisters so dear to his heart that he was willing to sacrifice his own career for their adoration.  And we’re not talking about active duty either. On Wednesday night, Kennedy revealed that prior to his main event with Natal, he tore his quad just a week before the fight.

“So, I tore my quad coming into this camp,” he explained. “The very last week of fight camp, a stupid thing happened; (a) lady walked out onto the track and it was either run over a 65-year-old lady – probably kill her – or try to decelerate in about two meters. I chose to decelerate and just fell to the ground grabbing my leg, screaming ‘holy…’ not great words.

“So if they had to roll me into the cage to fight Natal, I would have fought him. In the cage, once they lifted me up and hoisted me into the cage, Natal would have had to shoot me, and then bludgeon me to death until I quit.”

Kennedy went on to explain the severity of his injury, and the lengthy means of (sometimes) non-traditional healing techniques he utilized to help alleviate the injury.  However, there was very little the team could do to help the situation.  Kennedy was going to fight, or as he put it, “die trying.”

Even after his victory, there was little comfort, as a teammate slapped him on the leg in celebration, and he nearly collapsed from the pain.

Whether fighting in the sands of the Middle East, or inside the Octagon for his fellow brothers and sisters, Tim Kennedy is a pillar of courage and determination.  It’s not a philosophical debate of war, but a highlight of the human spirit and the willingness to do what you feel is right.

For Tim Kennedy, honoring a commitment is what he is all about, whether it is in the cage, or on the battlefield.   And on Wednesday night, for him, the Octagon was a little bit of both.

(Follow @RyanMcKinnell on Twitter / Photo courtesy of UFC)

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  • julian moran

    Wow, So Kennedy was in the Vietnam war and the American revolutionary war? These were two of the oldest.
    ”Kennedy was on the front lines of America’s longest running war(s)”

    • bajafox

      The longest war so far is the war on drugs

  • julian moran

    Murdering innocent civilians, including women and children, must be very important to Kennedy.

    • Milosc

      I just spotted this while reading the SI article, and he seems like a person who has completely hypnotized himself not to pay attention to details

      Everyone he kills is a “bad guy” of comic-strip proportions. Period… Like they all have football jerseys on in some video game

      Something tells me, mentioning the ’53 overthrow of Mossadeq would just get a blank stare.. the guy is a poster boy for mind control

    • DamianCross

      Its important to Rory Macdonald too but what does that have to do with serving in the military?

    • The irony in your avatar is that you’re too stupid to realize that “you’re” is spelled incorrectly and it wasn’t part of the joke.

    • Mikemma123

      You are a damn idiot that don’t deserve to live in this country. F***ing moron.

      • julian moran


    • MikeMck

      Of course. That’s what they’re there for. As a sniper im sure there’s many times he’s had terrorist in his sights, but had to change and target the women and babies first. That’s one of the reasons it took so long to get Osama. Too many babies around, and you must kill them first.
      Question for you. It’s a known strategy in the Middle East for terrorist to surround themselves with women a children because they’re aware that its policy for Americans to not engage when women and children are present. How do you view those guys?

      • julian moran

        For your information:
        regarding the war in Iraq,
        Iraqi troops killed: 30,000
        Iraqi civilians killed: 864,531
        U.S. troops killed: 4,414
        What did the war have to do with terrorism? = nothing.
        Who won the war? = The Americans who took control of the Iraqi oil.

        • MikeMcK

          You are aware that the majority of those civilian deaths are not at the hands of Americans right?
          I’m not sure if you don’t care, but I’m sure there’s many people that would think that matters.
          It would also be nice if we did actually take their oil. It’s a nice talking point though.

  • Dellbert

    Uh Oh, he said he has a passion that overrides his desire to fight in the UFC. Dana is probably gonna cut him, “well since he loves it so much, now he has all the time in the world to do it. He doesn’t wanna be here, he’s gone.”

  • nooneee

    its your own stupid government, they just follow orders….if your gov’t wasnt soo f***ing paranoid then no wars would we be going into, but as always the USA is trying to bully little countries.

    • fsunoles10

      yeah so we just should have let terrorist attack us some more, the fact of the matter is it wasnt just 9/11, them ass holes attacked us numerous times before 9/11 and we did nothing. 9/11 just so happened to be the final straw and i hope we kill as many extremist as we possibly can find and afghanistan comes into play because thats where their safe haven was and the taliban who were ruling afghanistan at the time wouldnt deny that safe haven and here we are. and please call me a sheep cuz i guarantee i have more knowledge of the big picture than you ever thought of having, not saying i know everything but people like you sound like you’re strait out of the tin foil hat brigade and have to take everything you say with a grain of salt.

      • julian moran

        You escaped from the mental asylum again?

      • RED eye JEDI

        9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB

    • julian moran

      The U.S. government is not paranoid. It is acting with an objective. The U.S. government uses propaganda to keep the U.S. population paranoid, so that they can go to war with defenseless countries and take home all the goods.

      • Litos

        You are free to leave the country whenever you’d like to, if you despise it that much. I don’t get it, all these people that hate our government, just won’t leave …why is that?

        • Darin

          Because the government does not equate to “America”. You’ve bought into the propaganda if you believe loving America is the same as loving the American government.

        • julian moran

          Is running away from your problems your answer to everything?

  • Darin

    The word in the title should be “Lays”, not “Lies”. Freudian slip? Seriously, does this site have an editor? Any oversight whatsoever?

  • Lucas Freire

    If an unecessary invasion kicks off*

  • Tony

    WOW! What complete lack of respect for a man who helped make our freedom possible. (comments) You don’t have to agree with it to be respectful! Julian Moran, just so it is crystal clear, you are able to have the electricity-computer- and free speech due to men and women just like TK that sacrifice daily. I guess your OBVIOUS liberal stance gives you the right to run your keyboard about things you know or care nothing about. I say keyboard because running your mouth would require a pair- I guarantee you wouldn’t say this crap you spew to ANY actual active duty service men, that’s a fact! People die in war, this is an unfair fact & it will continue to go on in every war. I personally had an uncle, aunt, and (2) cousins die in the trade center attack, another uncle died of agent orange from Vietnam. Look, I have no faith in our current government either, & completely disagree with harm coming to innocent people, whats the solution?! I’d say to start, try respecting others & those who have paid the ultimate price allowing you and I to have our own opinion. Enjoy that freedom!! jack@$$

    • DC

      I respect your patriotism, but what does overthrowing Iraq and Afghanistan have to do with freedom here in USA.

    • Pretty sure we’d still have electricity, computers, and free speech regardless of if people were told they were fighting for it or not.

    • julian moran

      Tony, for your enlightenment: The military does not protect our freedom. What it does, is take other people´s freedom away from them… That and all their resources.
      If you actually think that the military fights for our freedom..you are your worst enemy.
      If you want to get educated, go on youtube and watch the video ”Hearts and Minds”.
      You are welcome. And no, I do not show respect to murderers just because they acted out of ignorance.

    • Milosc

      Just “who” is it that’s trying to take away our freedom, again?

      Tim Osman, or the NSA?

      Read the 15 pages George Washington University published on Operation Northwoods, then see how much more Red Herring you’d still like to swallow

      What is, is. It doesn’t belong to anyone, and only a fool is truly blind. Good luck

  • Tony

    On ALOT of levels, absolutely nothing…truth be told. There were many “agendas” being fulfilled in both, its disgusting how are military personnel was used to line pockets. But, getting mad at the mailman for bringing the “bad news”/ bill ect. is the equivalent of the comment. These men and women are following orders, that’s it. To say ALL are innocent is ridiculous, but 99% of these people are protecting freedom, for us & others who cant stand up for themselves, or don’t posses the means too. To believe a “bully” will just keep going after the same people…..I believe otherwise. They hurt their own people who live around them, believe some of what they believe, and kill them dead in the streets- in front of God & everybody. If given the chance and opportunity, what do you think they would do to us….

  • Tony

    Pretty sure you don’t know what your talking about. As far as “we” having anything….only the super rich & loyalists to the terror groups have anything in these type of affected places. Do me a favor and go tell your ignorant statement to all of the dis-placed Syrians who had to relocate due to their situation. But, they are in Syria, not here….so it doesn’t really matter right?! With a name like shi# sandwich, cant really expect a whole lot of anything

  • Tony

    That’s hilarious!! I just checked & your name is Fetus, not Feces, ha!

  • Tony

    Talking about avatar’s, clicked on yours to read other comments you’ve posted…..man your rude everywhere you post. To each his own, but seriously, do you need a hug?

  • rapidfire

    there’s a new trend in the world of MMA.
    a defeated fighter used to give all types of sorry ass excuses why he lost. now the trend has been reversed.
    after winning a fight, just about every fighter now says
    “I was injured going into this fight but i still trained and won!” like as if he could have done so much better.

    they just need to STFU period….

  • Tony

    Who is trying to take our freedom….good question. One that wont be answered by looking something up on youtube. And, for your info, someone is ALWAYS trying to take freedom away from innocent people. This is a fact, that, by the way doesn’t require your belief to be true or false. Are you not aware of our allies or enemies?

    And please, if your going to believe anybody, left or right, take out the opinion and ingest knowledge…because something “fits” what you want to be, doesn’t make it truth.

    • RED eye JEDI

      The U.S. government and the rich elite are the ones trying to take freedom away from the people. and they try to do this as quietly as possible lulling us into a false sense of comfort.

    • julian moran

      If I ever buy a sheep, I´ll name it Tony. That´s right, after you, you should be proud.

      Except that sheeps tend to be docile. You are more like a sheep chiwawa.

  • Tony

    “for my enlightenment”…..that would suggest your passing on truth or wisdom for my benefit, or those around me. All I’ve received to be as honest as I can be is opinion. Youtube huh? What are you & Milosc the same person….weird. I’m my own worst enemy, forgive me for not gaining the “awakening” intended from the over-used cliche catch-phrase…..

    • julian moran

      I would tell you to buy the documentary at your local store.. but the U.S. government banned the documentary from being distributed.. That documentary and every other documentary disclosing such information.. So you are left with youtube..

  • Tony

    Couldn’t agree more……the problem is that “they” wont leave the place they complain about. You and I and other’s know, its just whining at best, no solutions are offered, no actions taken. Its the guy that keeps coming to the coffee shop day after day, complaining about the “horrible” coffee….but keeps coming back. Must not be that bad

  • Tony

    Fist off, very cool name! 2nd, you couldn’t be more right,
    that is every country on the face of the Earth though. The rich elite & government officials are such a minute portion of “America” that do have power and authority over “what” is actually done. If your dog gets fleas, don’t hate the dog hate the fleas, its not his fault he’s just a carrier doing what he’s been trained to do.