With Chael Sonnen off the table for Michael Bisping, Strikeforce middleweight Tim Kennedy has set out to talk his way into a fight with the polarizing UFC middleweight vet. Out of the blue, Kennedy took to Twitter earlier this week and blasted Bisping for his actions against Jorge Rivera and his corner at UFC 127. Then in a myriad of follow-up interviews, Kennedy laid out why he wants a crack at Bisping. In short, the Army Green Beret wants justice.
“I haven’t lost sight of where I am and who I’m looking at realistically in Strikeforce. I knew that Chael (Sonnen) was going to be in a bad position, and if Chael and Bisping are kind of the No. 1 and 2 guys, and Chael is out, I’ll fight the No. 2 guy in a heartbeat. I know they don’t have anybody lined up for him, so I’ll step up to the plate,” Kennedy told MMAWeekly.com.
“I go in the ring, I let how I fight speak for me. I don’t like trash talking, but I hate people that don’t fight fair. I hate cheaters. I hate people that use steroids. I hate people that hide their urine samples. I hate people that grease their bodies. I hate people that manipulate judges. I hate it all. Just go out there and fight. It disrespects everything this sport is about.”
“He walks away with a win, a TKO, from blasting the dude in the face, illegally. Just drives me insane, like it’s the worse thing that can happen in the sport,” Kennedy said about Bisping. “As a fellow athlete, I think somebody has to hold him responsible for that.”
Kennedy really laid it on thick in another interview with Bloody Elbow. He even says he’ll donate his purse to charity, because fighting Bisping isn’t about the money.
I watch a lot of video and a lot of tape and I was watching the fight between Jorge Rivera and him and now that there’s the potential for me to fight some of those guys, a lot of guys I’ve been ignoring, I’m now watching more with a little bit more interest. So I was watching that fight and dude, my blood just turned cold when I watched him knee Jorge in the head and then I watched him walk over to the corner and spit on them. I’m a martial artist, I’m a professional athlete, I’m a soldier and everything about that fight was disrespectful to everything I stand for. Just watching that fight stirred the pot. He is everything I’m against. He cheats. And when I say cheats, I hate all cheaters. I hate guys that use steroids, I hate guys that grease, I hate guys that throw illegal punches, or say they got kicked in the groin so they can get a break, guys that throw illegal knees to the head. I hate them across the board equally. But the worst situation is when the cheater wins and now it’s like every single fighter out there is like, ‘Oh, I can knee a guy in the head and get a slap on the wrist and then I can go back in there and win the fight.’ That’s idiotic, it’s offensive and I personally take it as a big stain on the whole entire sport. So I really wanted to demonstrate that there’s different athletes out there. That’s there’s guys who do the right thing, who fight fair. Fighting Michael Bisping wouldn’t be about the money and that’s why I said I’d give my fight money to charity. Let me just fight this guy and show them I can fight fair and win fair, and more importantly, I’m not fighting for the money, I’m not fighting for the fame. I’m fighting to fight. The charity of my choice can keep the money. So just to demonstrate and exaggerate the point that there are athletes out there who care about fighting, they care about martial arts and care about doing the right thing.
So what does the outspoken Brit think about this? Well, in short, he thinks Kennedy is just trying to make a name off his back and as far as he’s concerned, Kennedy can go “f— himself.”
It’s completely weird. He actually sent me a Tweet. It was directed to me, @bisping, ‘Bisping you’re an a**hole,’ or something, ‘You disrespected the sport and Jorge Rivera for the illegal knee.’ Normally, I never, ever respond to negative Tweets because, you know, all you’re doing is confirming to this person that you’ve actually read it and it may have gotten to you, so I never usually respond. But on this occasion, I thought, Here you’ve got another fellow professional of the sport that should know better, and he’s directing it at me. I’ve never met the guy, he doesn’t even fight in the UFC, and I just said, You know what, Tim Kennedy? Go f**k yourself. You’ve missed the train. That bandwagon left two months ago. I don’t know what his problem is. Again, he’s another one in a long list of people who’s trying to make a name off my back.
I’d have to agree with Bisping about the timing of all this. It does feel unnatural considering the incident took place months ago. I don’t doubt Kennedy hates cheaters and feels like he should do his part to make them pay, but I do wonder if this is about getting into the UFC as much as it about serving justice.