Strikeforce’s Tim Kennedy Fights For More Than Just His Record

Tim Kennedy: Hungry Like the Wolf

Some people think that there’s danger in the octagon—cuts that ooze blood, torn ligaments or blows that can render a man unconscious. But after talking to rising middleweight contender Tim Kennedy (11-2), set to face Trevor Prangley at Strikeforce LA on June 16 (televised on Showtime), one realizes that whatever Kennedy experienced in Afghanistan and Iraq as a special forces Green Beret dwarfs any trauma sustained in the cage.

Back in 1994, just one year removed from the debut of the UFC’s first show, Kennedy began his formal MMA training with John Hackleman’s famed gym, The Pit. He describes the time spent training there as both ‘rough’ and ‘awesome,’ perhaps indicative of both the intensity and enjoyment he gets from the sport.

“We were doing sprints up the dunes in Pismo Beach at Arroyo Grande to going to John Hackleman’s house where the cage is—the Pit—to do some hard sparring, then going to SLO kickboxing to do our wrestling, Chuck Liddell is—and was—amazing. There’s a ton of guys there, Glover Teixeira, Scott Lighty, who are super-good, too.”

The next logical step were ‘amateur’ bouts, some fought in California under Pancrase rules (open palm); others fought at an Indian casino in Temecula with bare-knuckles, elbows and knees on the ground; and bare-knuckle fights south of the border in Mexico. The rules were never the same, but Kennedy kept improving until his amateur record stood at 30-1. He turned professional in 2001, and has wins over Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller and Nick ‘The Goat’ Thompson.

After earning a BA in Criminal Justice in 2002, Kennedy pursued grad school for psychology but chose to enlist in the US Army in 2004. With the constant danger to the US of terrorist attacks, Kennedy knows without a shadow of a doubt that American forces stationed abroad are helping to keep the country safe.

“Having been to Afghanistan and Iraq, and every country around those, seeing firsthand the good that we do there and the bad people we stop that are there actually gives me a lot of confidence that we’re doing the right thing.”

There’s a high degree of difficulty due to the fact that this is an unconventional war. Defeating sovereign nations in Germany and Japan gave a conclusive ending to World War II for the Allied powers—but how is the situation different?