Since his last MMA fight in December of 2016, former UFC middleweight Tim Kennedy has spent his time on a myriad of projects, including working in television.
After wrapping up the third and final season of Hunting Hitler for the History Channel, Kennedy has embarked on a new series; one that could potentially get him killed.
In the upcoming Discovery Channel series Hard to Kill, Kennedy attempts some of the most dangerous jobs in the world. From avalanche technician to test pilot, Kennedy and his crew see just how much punishment a former MMA fighter and Special Forces sniper can take doing jobs that make civilized life much easier for the rest of us.
MMAWeekly.com: Firstly, Tim, tell us how Hard to Kill came about.
Tim Kennedy: We tried to imagine a show that we could do that could show an inside look that normal people can’t see or imagine. This was one of two ideas we had: to go and do the most deadly jobs in the world, jobs that I do and have done, and give people an opportunity to see what these courageous men and women do every day.
MMAWeekly.com: How did you go about picking the jobs you attempted to do during filming, and were there any jobs you didn’t want to do?
Tim Kennedy: This isn’t a stunt show or Fear Factor or Steve-O and Jackass, these jobs are something that somebody gets up every single morning does. The fact that I do it isn’t courageous. What is courageous is that somebody has been doing these things for 17, 18, 20, 30 years.
For the job selection, we only had three requirements: one – it has be essential to the American way of life and contributes to this life that Americans have; two – it has to be inherently dangerous to the point that the people who do these jobs frequently get hurt or die; and lastly – we had to have source material when something goes bad and what someone can do to survive. That’s how we built episodes.
No, I never said no to a single thing they asked me to. No, I never said no to a single job. We still have plenty of jobs we plan on doing.
MMAWeekly.com: On your previous series, Hunting Hitler, you were part of a team. What is it like with Hard to Kill now having the entire show centered on you?
Tim Kennedy: It’s nerve wrecking because it’s all on your shoulders. Special Forces ODA is awesome; you’ve got a 12-man team and you’re indestructible because together you’re so strong. But then you become a sniper and it’s just you and one other guy. It’s that same kind of feeling.
Going from a show (in Hunting Hitler) that was a huge success where there were other guys who had to deal with the responsibility and stress of the filming life and the schedule and travel – it’s easy. This, where every day you wake up and it’s all on you, is scary. I have to crash this plane. I have to crash this helicopter. I’m getting buried alive in an avalanche. Or I’m getting hit by this bull. It’s not “we” or “us”; it’s about what the hell am “I” going to do here.
MMAWeekly.com: Did you have to do anything different in your training routine to specifically get ready to do a show like this?
Tim Kennedy: I was talking to a strength and conditioning coach and a dietitian, and we’re looking at it trying to figure out how to make me harder to kill. That sounds cliché, but seriously, we started talking about durability and flexibility. We added some more percentage of body fat. We really sat down and looked at what we could to do to make response times shorter, and if I get hit how could the damage not be as bad.
MMAWeekly.com: What do you want viewers to take away from Hard to Kill?
Tim Kennedy: I hope people watch this and get an opportunity to see into these people’s lives. They can see why can they get on an airplane and not plummet into the sea and die; because somebody did it for them. There are no crash test dummies for airplanes. Some badass gets behind that stick and flies that plane for the first time.
Nobody knows about them. You never think about somebody who goes to the top of a mountain and sets explosives so you can ski without getting trapped in an avalanche. There’s somebody who goes up and does that, and one in five of them gets caught in an avalanche. There’s somebody that goes out there and makes it safe for you. There are people who do amazing, selfless acts to make our lives easier.
MMAWeekly.com: Along with the television series, I understand you are going to be training and advising at Fathom Academy, the world’s first commercial astronaut training facility located in Georgetown, Texas. Can you tell us about that?
Tim Kennedy: If they put together a Space Force and I don’t get to do that, I’ll go to my grave crying. It’s been a while since we’ve had monumental successes in space. It’s like the final frontier. Space and the deep seas are the places we still don’t fully know. I hope that I’ll get a chance to be part of the first class ever to do that, so that if we have a space war, I can go and fight in it.
It’s getting out of my comfort zone. No matter how strong you are, how fast you are, how many fights you have in the Octagon, or you were a Special Forces sniper, when you’re just floating in (zero gravity) and have to attack, I’ve never done that before. It’s kind of scary, but exciting, and I think it’s going to be a blast.
MMAWeekly.com: Thanks for taking time out for us, Tim. Is there anything you want to say in closing?
Tim Kennedy: Hard to Kill premiers July 31, and I beg, plead, and implore that everybody tells everybody they know to tune in Discovery Channel to watch that.
I have another show called International Army Sniper Competition: Top Sniper that I’m the host and competitor in it. I go to Fort Benning, Georgia, and go through the international sniper competition with 40 of the best snipers in the world and we go event by event. That is on the History Channel.
(Photo courtesy of Discovery Channel)
Tim Kennedy’s ‘Hard to Kill’ Trailer
(Video courtesy of Tim Kennedy)