Only a couple days after Tim Kennedy said the “UFC doesn’t pay very well” and that he would make more money emptying “trash cans”, the middleweight veteran has released a statement apologizing for the comments. The apology comes approximately one week before Kennedy will fight Roger Gracie at UFC 162.
Kennedy recently appeared on the Grapple Talk podcast, where he made the aforementioned remarks, and also noted that it’s “pathetic” that many fighters have to hold down another job. The decorated soldier’s statement relayed (via MMA Fighting.com):
“I recently made comments regarding fighter pay,” Kennedy wrote. “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,” Kennedy continued. “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,” Kennedy finished. “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.”
Apology aside, Kennedy’s initial comments came at a time when several other fighters have been speaking out about fighter pay (albeit all of them are ex-ZUFFA employees), as John Cholish, Jacob Volkmann and Jason “Mayhem” Miller have also been critical of the company’s salary structure in recent weeks. So, in other words, the polarizing issue doesn’t seem to be going away.
It will be particularly interesting to see if Kennedy remains in the UFC fold if he ends up losing to Roger Gracie next weekend. If you’re wondering, Kennedy is the favorite to win on the betting lines.
Stay tuned to MMA Frenzy.com for all your UFC news and coverage.