MMA superstar, Green Beret Tim Kennedy announces retirement from fighting

In a humble dispatch today on social media to his followers and friends, MMA luminary Tim Kennedy said he’s stepping away from the sport he’s loved for more than two decades.

In his message, Kennedy thanked his coaches, family, opponents and scores of others who helped in his journey. He also makes a point to thank the military community for its support and motivation.

“I want to thank the military community for their support,” he writes. “I’ll never be able to explain how much you motivated me and how much I always tried to make you proud.”

Kennedy’s message opens with a reflective journey to the emergency room following his last fight, and loss, to opponent Kelvin Gastelum. Kennedy, 37, entered the octagon Dec. 10, 2016, in what he says was great shape, but he couldn’t fend off the younger Gastelum and experienced a TKO at 2:45 of the 3rd round.

Kennedy is a realist and recognized immediately that this fight, culminating an 18-6 career, was the end.

“I’m the guy that is always in shape,” he writes. “And I was for this fight. I worked harder than I ever have before for this fight. But I wasn’t me anymore. My brain knew what to do but my body did not respond. I’ve watched other fighters arrive here. I’ve watched other fighters pretend they weren’t here. I will not be one of them.”

The married father of two daughters is more than a MMA fighter, he’s also an Army Sergeant First Class, Green Beret, Ranger and Sniper. He entered active military service in 2003, becoming a Green Beret in 2005 and completing Ranger school in 2007. He’s also deployed in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom several times. In August 2009, Kennedy transitioned from active duty to the Texas Army National Guard and serves in the position of Special Forces Weapons Sergeant. Among Kennedy’s multiple awards are the Army’s Bronze Star Medal with V device, which was awarded for valor under fire.

Although mixed martial arts has been a large part of his life, his diverse skills and interests have allowed him to compete on the Ultimate Soldier Challenge as a Green Beret and he was featured as a “Ranger” on the Spike TV series Deadliest Warrior. Kennedy has also competed in the grueling 3-day Modern Army Combatives tournament, and was one of only three men to be undefeated, as well as three-time champion. Kennedy is also one of the only three service members to be awarded a black belt in Modern Army Combatives.

As if those achievements aren’t enough, he’s also published author who penned a three part series of “Letters from a Foreign Land” chronicling his time in combat … and oh by the way, he’s also a featured as a participant in The History Channel’s series Hunting Hitler.

In his closing comments today, Kennedy says to his wife Ginger that although this “dangerous” chapter is coming to a close, there’s more to come.

“I don’t deserve you and you don’t deserve what I’ve put you through. I could lie to you and tell you it’s all over, but we both know I have already moved onto another super dangerous thing to fill my time, so I’m going to leave it just at ‘thank you and sorry’ for now.”

To learn more about Tim and his background, you can visit his site where he offers an insight into his training and links to the Sheepdog Survival Fund, in which 100 percent of all donations go to fund training for Law Enforcement officers through Sheepdog Response. He also has links to his entrepreneurial ventures.

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  • Jim Verchio is a staff writer for Popular Military. As a retired Air Force Public Affairs craftsman, Jim has served at all levels. From staff writer to Editor-In-Chief, he has more than 30 years experience covering military topics in print and broadcast from the CONUS to Afghanistan. He is also a two time recipient of the DoD’s prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award for journalism excellence.

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