UFC 162: Tim Kennedy apologizes for fighter pay comments, looks forward to Roger Gracie fight

Esther Lin/Strikeforce

Beep ... beep ... beep ... Tim Kennedy kicks it into reverse and apologizes for slamming his employer's pay scale just a week out from his UFC 162 fight against Roger Gracie in Las Vegas.

Back track!

Tim Kennedy didn't mean all those "pathetic" things he recently said about Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter pay, releasing a statement on Thursday (June 27, 2013) that his remarks were "not properly informed" and "taken out of context."

His official statement in full via Kennedy's official Facebook.com page:

"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 hurtful and inappropriate. I accept full responsibility for the statements and apologize to the UFC, Dana White, Lorenzo Fertita, & 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."

Kennedy (15-4) is a two-time Strikeforce middleweight title challenger, coming up short to Luke Rockhold and Ronaldo Souza in his championship opportunities. The 33-year-old is one of the most outspoken fighters in MMA today, bringing career wins over names such as Trevor Prangley, Melvin Manhoef and Robbie Lawler, among others, to the Octagon.

The funny thing is, UFC has never paid the former Army Staff Sergeant a fight salary to date, just the Twitter.com bonus that he mentions, which was from the legacy Zuffa-owned Scott Coker and Co.

Kennedy, who has earned eight of his 15 career victories by way of submission, is scheduled to compete at UFC 162 against Roger Gracie -- the fourth Gracie to step foot inside the Octagon when he makes his debut -- and the first since Renzo Gracie, who lost to Matt Hughes back at UFC 112 in April 2010.

He'll be cashing his first UFC check by the end of next week, but it will be interesting to see if it's his one and only, depending on how he performs against the jiu-jitsu wizard on fight night.

As well as how sincere the Zuffa brass find his apology.

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