Strikeforce was once a name synonymous with exciting fight cards, showcasing both well known and fresh talent. These days, it's a ghost town of a promotion, thanks to rumors of the doors closing forever, which just recently were formally confirmed. They've cancelled their last two events, and the final card has seen more than a few changes, due to injuries. Muhammed Lawal once likened the organization to a cancer patient on it's death bed. The sad thing is, the contract with Showtime made the plight of the fighters seem desolate, as many of the top names have been locked in via their own contractual obligations.
A few fighters were brought over to the UFC last year (Alistair Overeem, Antonio Silva, Jake Shields), and more are finally making their way over now. One man who hasn't made the journey yet is Tim Kennedy, and he's one of the few (if any) left that feels honor bound to perform one last time in the cage under the Strikeforce banner. He's made his distaste for the rash of injuries that have cropped up so close to the show, abundantly clear, and feels that there's not much loyalty left towards a company that have treated their fighters so well. I recently spoke with Kennedy to get his thoughts on a variety of topics.
Stephie Daniels: You recently tweeted your irritation about the mass exodus of fighters from this card. What's your take on the whole situation? Do you think the injuries are real?
Tim Kennedy: Well, I don't know. Maybe they are, maybe they aren't. It's pathetic and convenient for every single marquee fighter in all of Strikeforce, that we all know to be going over to the UFC, are pulling out of their fights, two weeks before the final card. It's like, are you guys fighters, or are you just a bunch of little vaginas?
Stephie Daniels: With this being formally announced as the last Strikeforce card, does it kind of make you a little nostalgic?
Tim Kennedy: Yeah, a little bit. Strikeforce has been good to me. I've had a great run with them. I fought for their title twice, but a lot of the fights that I've wanted to take place, haven't, because of relationships with Showtime. I think we've kind of been the ugly, red-headed step child that shows up at Christmas that nobody is truly excited to see. That's how it's felt for the past couple years.
I'm excited to be on the final show, and I think it's a testament to the guys that are still on the show, that they are actually real fighters, and not just going out there to make a buck and promote themselves. Great things will happen after this.
Stephie Daniels: Everyone that's coming over that has a belt, isn't getting a UFC title right off the bat except Ronda Rousey. How do you feel about that?
Tim Kennedy: It's kind of sexist that a girl that has six professional fights, gets a double standard her very first fight in the UFC. She gets to fight for the title, but the exception is that it's Ronda. That woman is a marketing machine. She's fantastic with the media, and is marketable in every sense of the word. Even though I'm throwing stones, if I was in Dana's position, I'd do the same thing. She's walking publicity. Guys like Luke Rockhold and Nate Marquardt are going to have to come over and fight a contender, then they'll be allowed to fight for a title if they win. She, of course, can come over, and her first fight is defending her UFC title. But, like I said, it's Ronda, and she is fantastic for women's MMA.
Stephie Daniels: Do you find it strange that guys that are out of their Strikeforce fights with injuries are calling out UFC fighters?
Tim Kennedy: The whole thing seems like a big bunch of horse shit. Yeah, I'm gonna call all these dudes out, because I'm a super tough fighter, this is MY hood, fight me, blah blah blah, oh wait, I hurt my wrist, and I'm gonna be going to the UFC, so I'm not gonna fight. I'm just gonna wait and fight somebody in the UFC. What? What just happened? Blech. Whatever.
Stephie Daniels: Strikeforce has had to cancel their last two cards, and even though all the fighters got paid, the downside is the inactivity. How are you going to feel if this card ends up being cancelled?
Tim Kennedy: I think I fought one time last year. I want to fight like every two or three months. It will definitely make me mad. I left active duty Army to go punch people in the face, and now I can't do that because Strikeforce has only had, you know, two cards a year. Yeah, I'd be really, really bummed. Of course there's guys in the UFC that I want to fight, but I signed my name on the dotted line that says I'll fight on this card, and unless I get shot, I'll probably fight.
I've never backed out of a fight for an injury. Ever. One time I was asked to take a fight, and I had to decline because I was already injured. I had torn my toe off. I just told them I couldn't do it, not on four weeks notice, directly following having had my toe surgically placed back on my foot, but I've never backed out of a fight I'd already accepted. I'm kind of with Chael Sonnen, where I just don't get guys backing out of fights.
Stephie Daniels: When you do come over, is there somebody in particular that you have in mind to fight?
Tim Kennedy: I'm fighting on January 12th, but if you tested positive for steroids, and you're running your mouth about how awesome you are, I pretty much want to punch you in the face, because you're embarrassing me and my sport. I don't even think we have time to cover them all. I"ve got the 12th to worry about, and that's what I'm focusing on. Then I'll worry about all the cheaters.
Stephie Daniels: Since we're on the topic of cheaters, are you a proponent of VADA?
Tim Kennedy: Absolutely. You can come over and draw a sample out of my eyeball, if you want. At two o'clock in the morning, you can come and collect my semen samples. I don't really care what you collect, as long as it ensures that we have clean athletes. Mixed martial arts is supposed to be about tradition and honor and integrity, but these dudes are just cheating their asses off. It's a sport guys. Stop acting like it's not. Do the right thing and have some integrity, and stop injecting horse cum into your eye [laughs].
Stephie Daniels: I know you proudly defend your right to carry a firearm, so is it disconcerting for you to see all the gun control talk flying around in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy?
Tim Kennedy: It's sad. It's scary. I am a believer that the constitution kind of does two things. It ensures your individual liberties, but more importantly, with those liberties, come individual responsibilities, and that's the difference between my perspective, and evidently everyone else's in Washington. With individual responsibilities, we take care of our own, we take care of our families. I'm gonna work, so I can provide for my family. I don't want the government to give me anything.
The same token goes for the protection of my family. It's my responsibility to ensure that they're safe. If the government thinks that they're going to step in between what I would do to protect my family, uh, that makes me really not happy. I don't know what that's gonna look like once they get done with their commissions and task forces about assault rifle bans, but crazy guys and criminals will always get their hands on what they need to do evil. The only thing that will come out of it, is that they're going to prevent the good people from being able to protect ourselves and our families.
If some douche bag walks through my front door, and is like, 'I'm gonna rape your wife and kill your family', and I don't have a method to protect them, because the government says I can't, that will be the realization of my worst nightmare. I'm gonna take care of my family. Period. I don't care what the government says. I don't care what laws they pass. My family will be safe.
You know, every movie theater that I'm ever at, every school that I'm ever at, everyone there is safe. My brother-in-law is the same way. Everywhere he goes, everyone is safe. Whether we're in a movie theater, a mall, or at Walmart, people are safe, because we're there and have the method to protect the people that are near us. It's scary to me that they want to take that right away.
You're supposed to be able to prove that you're psychologically sound before you can get a gun. This guy in Sandy Hook, that did all this awful, terrible stuff, he was mentally unstable, and he didn't use the guns that he had. Any laws that they're going to pass right now about limiting the ability to buy an assault rifle wouldn't have even affected him, because he got the guns illegally. They weren't even his. The guy in Aurora was a psycho, too. Unfortunately, criminals break the law. The preponderance of power is supposed to be in the people's hands, not the other way around.
You can follow Tim via his Twitter account, @TimKennedyMMA