Meet Tim Kennedy, a combat veteran who is assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, N.C. (read: Green Beret). At least he will be posted there until Aug. 4, when his six-year enlistment runs out. Kennedy is choosing not to return, because his unit commanders won’t let him participate in his other love besides the U.S. military: Mixed Martial Arts.
By all appearances, he’s pretty good at both. Kennedy, who trained with Chuck Liddell before joining the Army, beat Nick Thompson, ranked 10th in the world in his weight class by MMAWeekly.com, on June 19 in a fight aired on Showtime. If it were me, I’d want someone like that on our side, and would do everything in my power to keep him happy. But then I’ve never invaded Iraq.
Every time Kennedy asked his Army National Guard bosses if he could participate in civilian MMA tournaments, they refused. They even told him he couldn’t compete representing the Guard. So he was forced to make a choice, he said.
“I’m disappointed and bummed out,” Kennedy said about leaving the Army. “It’s not what I wanted, but I feel like I did everything … I could have done to make this work.”
“Opportunity only knocks for a short portion of your life, and my time is now,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy, who recently signed a three-fight deal with Strikeforce (he fights again Sept. 25), will also be featured in the EA Sports MMA video game as “Tim Kennedy, Army fighter.” He says that he can’t understand why the army wouldn’t use his participation in MMA as a recruiting tool, and I have to say I agree with him; he’d be reaching the perfect demographic. And it beats sending recruiters to high school campuses.