UFN 31: Tim Kennedy says Belfort's manipulation is a 'spit in the face' of all martial artists

USA TODAY Sports

UFC middleweight standout, Tim Kennedy discusses Belfort's manipulation of the system, how important Fight For The Troops is, and gives a fun training story from Jackson's MMA.

This Wednesday brings MMA fans another specialty event with UFC’s Fight For the Troops. The event takes place in Kentucky and features some bright, up and coming talent as well as some more recognizable names. The card’s headliner between middleweight standouts, Tim Kennedy and Rafael Natal promises to be a good scrap.

I recently caught up with Kennedy who has been on a social media tear with fun videos, quirky photos and the occasional stinger directed toward his target du jour, Vitor Belfort. Belfort’s latest comment using his TRT as a bargaining chip for a title shot has soured many fans and left Tim with more than enough ammunition for Twitter barbs. Here’s what he had to say on Belfort, Fight for the Troops and training at Jackson’s MMA:

The Importance of Fight For the Troops Cards

What they’re doing here is truly priceless. Even though it’s being broadcasted on FOX and millions of people can see it, there’s a purpose and intent behind it, and it’s to do something for the troops. You can’t really put a value to that. There’s this crazy, energetic, violent energy at these events, where guys really want to put on a show for the troops. You’re gonna have one of the better cards of the year, just for the fact that we’re fighting for an audience of warriors, and we want to give them what they deserve, which is good fights.

Fight Card Promotion

You know, I’m going out there, I’m doing everything I can…fight camp, starving, pain, blood, sweat and tears, altitude, desert and all the horrible things that go with getting ready for a fight; I’m doing my part. It’s always great when the organization does their best to push you as a fighter.

I’m in the main event and I have nothing but great things to say about being in that position, so I guess now the responsibility is on me to provide them with the incentive to promote me more in the future.

Belfort & TRT

He doesn’t have an exemption because he failed an anabolic steroid test, so the athletic commissions won’t give him a TUE because he failed a previous test. That’s why he medically needs it, because he used anabolic steroids, and he got caught for it. Now he needs TRT and nobody will give him that exemption because he used steroids.

The Tweet

It’s embarrassing to be part of the sport and have athletes that are manipulating the system like that. It’s mixed martial arts, and it’s supposed to be about integrity and character and all the things that go with being a martial artist. This is obviously a spit in the face of every martial artist out there. It’s demeaning, it’s embarrassing. It’s not good for the sport, it’s not good for him, it’s not good for the championship, and it’s not good for the promotion. I don’t know, is there anything good about it besides for the cheater? I mean, that’s the only person that benefits from it;

1. For using it and,

2. For using it as a tool or an ace up the sleeve to try to create a situation that he could, yet again, take advantage of and cheat.

Fighting Vitor

Oh yeah, I will always want to fight that guy. Do I want to fight him clean? Yeah. And I mean clean with him not being on steroids and in Brazil. He hasn’t fought in the United States in four years and there’s a reason for that. With that said, I already said that I would fight him in Brazil, and we were going to fight in Brazil, but then he said ‘No’ to fighting me, and I don’t know if that’s gonna ever change. First and foremost, I have to get through Rafael Natal this week, and then I’ll be in a better position to make fun of people a little bit more pointedly [laughs].

Better Name Recognition

You make fun of things personal to the fighters. Chris Camozzi’s haircut, Cung Le’s driving skills, Nick Diaz’ marijuana use and bicycling. You make fun of everything; Alistair Overeem’s testosterone use and horsemeat. You find things that are dear to their heart and you mock them [laughs].

Marijuana As A PED

I’ll fight anybody that’s high, I don’t care. I’ve never smoked marijuana, so I can’t personally speak to how it feels, but I have no inhibitions about fighting someone that is using marijuana as a performance enhancer because it’s not a performance enhancer. Maybe it makes them calm down a little bit in the fight, and some people might benefit from that, but really, it’s a depressant. All my friends that smoke weed want to eat and go to sleep. I would love to fight people that have those type of chemical reactions to their PEDs [laughs]. If they’re thinking about food, maybe finding a bag of Cheetoh’s and a nice comfortable couch, instead of thinking about punching me in the face.

Weight Cut (Interview conducted this past Saturday afternoon)

My healthy, happy walking around weight is 220. Right now I am 196 pounds, and I’m eating a terrible chicken salad. Over the last 6-8 weeks, I’ve had about 25 pounds burned off me, and now I have 10 pounds to go for weigh-ins on Tuesday. If I have to eat one more goddamned salad, I’m gonna blow up Austin [laughs].

Rustam Khabilov

So Rustam, who’s fighting against Jorge Masvidal next weekend, when we first got to Jackson’s…well, he’s very Dagestani. There’s a little badass –I wouldn’t say it’s buried deep inside him, because it’s overtly right there for everyone to see—but anyways, Special Forces, Ranger…I’m a little off kilter, so just go with that [laughs].

I go up and I’m talking to him, so I put my arm around him, and I’m hugging him, and he’s obviously not comfortable with it. I tell him, ‘No, this is how we say Hi in America. We hug.’ So I gave him this really, long, awkward embrace, and he takes a step away. So I’m like, ‘Let’s say Hi again’ and I go to give him like another big bear hug [laughs], you know, 220 pound Tim, reaching around 155 pound Rustam, and squeezing the living bejesus out of him.

He hip throws me. He points me straight up in the air and tosses me across the mat. He really slammed me [laughs]. He goes, ‘This is how we say Hi in Russia.’ Of course Greg Jackson is over there pissing himself, laughing. I get back up and try again, but of course by now, he’s running around the mat and laughing, because now he knows it was a joke.

You can follow Tim via his Twitter account, @TimKennedyMMA

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