Earlier in the week Tim Kennedy made headlines, not because the middleweight is set to fight Roger Gracie at UFC 162, but because of comments he made blasting what fighter’s earn for a living. In addition to stating “the UFC doesn’t pay very well” on the Grapple Talk podcast, Kennedy buzzed the MMA world by adding that it’s “pathetic” most fighter’s need two jobs, and that he’d make more money emptying garbage cans. Since several other fighter’s have spoken out recently about what ZUFFA pays it’s fighters, Kennedy’s remarks didn’t exactly go unnoticed…
Now, just eight days away from when Kennedy will throw down with Gracie on July 6th, the Army veteran has released a statement apologizing for the comments (statement via MMA Fighting.com).
“I recently made comments regarding fighter pay. The intent of these statements was to highlight that professional fighters incur significant expense associated with their preparations to fight and that fighter compensation is still not on par with other major sports. While I am fortunate to have various revenue streams associated with my business interests, most fighters do not have that luxury. When you spend training camps with great guys with amazing talents and you see them barely making ends meet, while simultaneously seeing athletes in other sports with far less character and a far smaller work ethic making exponentially more, you can get frustrated.
“Unfortunately, I made statements that alluded to how the UFC in particular pays its athletes. This was particularly offensive as Zuffa has taken better care of me than any other organization, even giving me a bonus for being amusing on Twitter. My choice of words was poor, not properly informed, and did not match my intent. Additionally, my comments were taken out of context. I can tell you that I have been fighting longer than most people and I remember all too well the days when there was no regulation or standard for an MMA promotion. I fought many times in Mexico where the rules were negligible, there were no physicals, and being paid was a luxury we didn’t expect. Our sport was shunned and was considered ‘human cockfighting.’ Today, we are on Fox. We have doctors and insurance. We make more money than the average American. And we get these things by playing a sport we love. The only reason this is possible is because of Zuffa. They have legitimized the sport and taken better care of the athletes than any other organization, and the trend is only improving, with athletes making three times what they made on average five years ago.
“My comments were foolish, hurtful, and inappropriate. I accept full responsibility for the statements and apologize to the UFC, Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta, and Joe Silva as well as anyone I might have offended with my comments. Fighting for the UFC is an honor and a privilege. I look forward to putting this situation behind me and focusing on my upcoming fight with Roger Gracie.”
The debate over fighter compensation aside, if Kennedy (15-4) loses to Gracie next weekend, will the UFC release him? The well rounded fighter and former Strikeforce contender is coming off a submission win over Trevor Smith in January, after losing by UD to former Strikeforce champ Luke Rockhold last July. The only other man to defeat Kennedy since 2007 is Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, and the 33 year-old has defeated established vets like Melvin Manhoef and Robbie Lawler during that stretch. This is likely why Kennedy is a slight favorite on the betting lines.