Earlier this month, long-time middleweight contender Tim Kennedy announced his retirement from MMA. With this retirement from competition, Kennedy now shifts his focus to a new fight, as he battles on behalf of fighters as the President of the new Mixed Martial Arts Athlete’s Association.
During an appearance on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Kennedy gave an update on this association, which has been somewhat quiet over the last few weeks. During this segment, Kennedy touched on the controversial involvement of former Bellator president Bjorn Rebney, and shed some light on how the fighter recruitment process is going.
He started by explaining that Rebney has no real power within the organization, and that he serves as more of a consultant for the organization.
“He’s never been a part in the sense that he has any authority or ability to effect anything,” the newly retired fighter said. “The only people that can vote are board members, and the only people that can be board members are fighters. It’s very, very clearly laid out that way. So right now, the board members are the only ones that have any authority to do anything whatsoever. They’re the only ones that can vote, they’re the only ones that can effect change. Bjorn, it was a mistake during the announcement to have him be a public presence. We obviously regretted that, but he will still be someone that the board members are going to go to ask ‘well ok, as a promoter, how did you do this?’ I wish I could ask Dana White those questions, or any of the other promoters, but there’s not very many of them. There are like five guys. So, I need that information, and he will be the guy that I’m going to ask those questions to. But he has no authority, and he has no position within the Mixed Martial Arts Athlete’s Association, and he has no vote.”
Kennedy went on to reaffirm that, if he could go back and launch the MMAAA again, he would not have allowed Rebney to share in the spotlight, as he only served as a distraction from the association’s admirable mission.
“I regret that he was, as you said, a distraction,” Kennedy said. “There’s not a better word. People were like ‘oh my goodness, why is he there?’ Well, he was the second most successful promoter in MMA, and now he’s not promoting, so if anybody is going to be able to answer a question that I’m going to ask about how something happens as a promoter, I need that. I need that information. Knowledge is power, and with something as important as this, you have to know everything.”
From there, Tim Kennedy explained that though things have been quiet on the MMAAA front, he and former MLB Player’s Union Rep JP Arencibia have been busy traveling to major gyms to recruit fighters. So far, the pair has visited American Kickboxing Academy in Fresno, California, and Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Their next target is American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida.
“I just got back from Jackson’s, me and the Major League Baseball Player’s Union rep came with me,” he said. “He is a great friend of the Mixed Martial Arts Athlete’s Association. When he was playing for the [Toronto] Blue Jays, he was the union rep for the team. So he has a lot of experience, specifically with what we’re trying to achieve within the association with how it works. So I can [approach fighters at a gym] and say ‘hey man, this is what we’re doing, this is why we’re doing it,’ but then when a fighter goes, ‘well how does that go about happening,’ he helps in the explanation of that because he has experienced it first hand.”
“The response has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s going to come from an official release from the Athletes Association about who is now part of it, just know that both [Jackson’s and AKA] received us with open arms. If you know the fighters from there—two of the five major gyms we’ve already been to—both of them have been like ‘hell yeah, this is what’s going to happen next.’”
“There’s a lot more fighters involved officially, but the board members are the same.”
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This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/23/2017.