Tim Kennedy, alongside Georges St-Pierre and Cain Velasquez, spearheaded a new fighter organization in November. While efforts to make strides in compensation and benefits for fighters was hailed by most as a positive development, one part of announcing the formation of the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA) backfired big time.
While Kennedy stands by the formation of the MMAAA and the involvement of Bellator founder Bjorn Rebney, he regrets putting the former promoter front and center as a public face when unveiling the organization.
The MMAAA’s initial participants included the three aforementioned fighters, as well as Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and TJ Dillashaw. It’s the type of star power that such efforts need if they are to make any headway in a sport that is largely an individual pursuit. Rebney, however, isn’t so popular, having a poor reputation amongst many fighters that question his motives in helping the MMAAA get off the ground.
“It was a mistake during the announcement to have (Rebney) be a public presence,” Kennedy said during Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “We obviously regretted that. But he will still be somebody that the board members will go to and ask, ‘As a promoter, how did you do this?’ I wish I could ask Dana White those questions.
“I need that information and he will be the guy that I am going to ask those questions to, but he has no authority and he has no position within the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association and he has no vote.”
Currently, the board members that Kennedy refers to include himself, St-Pierre, Velasquez, Cerrone, and Dillashaw, although Cerrone and Dillashaw were particularly put off by Rebney’s involvement, which was a surprise to them when the announcement was made.
Reeling something like that back is never an easy situation, but Kennedy is doing his best to put as much reasonable distance between the MMAAA and Rebney as possible, at least in regard to any position of authority.
Whether that will be enough to assuage Cerrone, Dillashaw, and other fighters remains to be seen, although Kennedy says that response has been overwhelming with numerous additional fighters inquiring about the organization.
“(Rebney) has never been a part in a sense that he has any authority or ability to affect anything,” Kennedy said. “The only people that can vote are board members and the only people that can be board members are fighters.
“His role has not changed. But I regret that he was a distraction.”