Word came out earlier this week that Ranger Up was out as a sponsor for UFC and Strikeforce fighters. The company, though, will still continue to pay its athletes even though they will not be able to wear Ranger Up paraphernalia at UFC or Strikeforce events.
Bloody Elbow Radio's Matt Bishop and Brian Hemminger spoke with Strikeforce middleweight Tim Kennedy about this issue for Thursday's edition of Bloody Elbow Radio.
Most notably, Kennedy said he'll be foregoing other sponsors for his fight next week with Robbie Lawler at "Strikeforce/M-1 Global: Fedor vs. Henderson," opting for blank shorts and shirts.
"I've been with Ranger Up for six years. They've been so loyal to me in every single way they possibly can supporting me as a sponsor. Even though I can't be wearing them on my shorts, I won't be wearing anybody. I'm going to reciprocate that. It's going to be symbiotic. They've supported me and they're going to continue to support me, so I'm going to be wearing blank fight shorts. I've going to be wearing a blank T-shirt. Zuffa is a great company and they are very business minded and they're my bosses, so I can't argue how or why they do things, I can just do what they tell me. So I won't be wearing Ranger Up, but I'm definitely going to be supporting them in every way I can.
Kennedy said he hopes Ranger Up will be able to sponsor fighters by the end of the year.
"I don't know what they're doing. I just spent a few weeks with Jorge up at Jackson's and he has Ranger Up tattooed on his leg. That's an indication of how supportive Ranger Up is to fighters, for a guy to literally tattoo Ranger Up on their own body so everybody knows how good we've been to them, that should be a testament to that. Fighters really do need sponsorships to survive, we don't make enough fighting to afford our training camps or our training, so I think it would not be the wisest decision if Liz, an up-and-coming fighter, was like, 'Oh, I'm not going to wear any sponsors.' You can't survive, you can't put food on your table and you can't train. Even though it'd be a great gesture, (she needs sponsors) that can support her training full time."
Join us at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT Thursday for another edition of Bloody Elbow Radio, where you can hear the entire interview with Kennedy. We're also schedule to be joined by Bellator featherweight tournament semifinalist Ronnie Mann.