This past weekend (Sat. Sept. 27, 2014), Tim Kennedy was on the verge of defeating top middleweight contender, Yoel Romero, at UFC 178 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Luckily for Romero, round two came to end before Tim could deliver the finishing blow.
A dazed Romero made it to his corner, and that's where the drama began to unfold.
Romero remained sitting on his stool for over 30 seconds at the beginning of the final round, buying himself some extra time to recover thanks to the UFC cutman's excessive use of Vaseline on his eye.
Less than a minute later, it was Kennedy who was on wobbly legs, as "Soldier of God" tagged the one-time Army Ranger with a series of devastating strikes that put an end to his night (video), leaving the former Strikeforce title contender bloodied and in a very irate mood.
Appearing on a recent edition of The MMA Hour, a very steamed Kennedy unloaded on Team Romero for their sneaky cheating tactics and on referee John McCarthy for "fucking up."
"Man, I thought the fight was over twice. If anybody is to blame, it's totally me for the outcome. Someone has to step up and be the bigger guy in all of this. Dana knows he cheated, the Nevada commission knows he cheated. His corner knows they cheated. They are bragging about it, Liborio is coming up and apologizing, Yoel comes to me in the back and apologizes. They all know what happened. It's the oldest trick in the book. If this was any other sport, the NFL or the NBA, they'd be like, 'man it's the end of the fourth quarter, were going to go an extra 28 seconds.' This is beyond unprofessional and tragic. I though the fight had ended. When John came in, I thought that was the end of the fight. I see my corner coming in with the stool, I see his corner working on him, and I'm like, 'What's going on?"
"My corner tells me to be careful because he is going to swing widely. But I can see his corner and he is saying no mas. I'm pointing at Dana, the crowd, his corner, the commission, the judges like what is going on? If he gets 28 seconds to recover, imagine if I had an extra 28 seconds at the end of round two. The guy wouldn't be walking for a month. But no, John gave him an extra 28 seconds. I was gone, I wasn't even mentally there anymore and that was a big mistake on my part. I thought the fight was over not once, but twice. So I rushed in and made a huge mistake. I was gone. I was thinking it was the end, I wasn't even thinking about fighting."
As far as Romero's corner goes, Kennedy says they carefully calculated a plan to buy their fighter some more time.
"Everything they did was calculated and planned. The extra Vaseline, to throwing in towels, to dumping bottles of water on the floor to leaving the stool in there; all of those things, they've been doing it for 50 years. When did Ali do it, 40 or 50 years ago? That's how pathetic this is. And the fact that they are smug about it, makes it more tragic and makes it that much more unprofessional. I think that John (McCarthy) is the best referee in the promotion. He and Herb Dean, I have great respect for them. He (McCarthy) fucked up majorly in my fight. For being the best ref in the world, he got owned that night by a bunch of guys doing shady things. He got played by all three of them. He just let it happen. Before the fight, I told John, 'If I hurt him, he is going to start playing cheap, I promise.' He said, 'Is this my first day working here?' I told him,'No it's not.' When Derek Brunson hurt him, he punched him right in the balls. It wasn't even close, he punched him right in the dick. When he gets hurt, he fouls intentionally. So I was ready for it, but I was trying to get John ready for it, and obviously he wasn't. He got owned."
After the fight, Kennedy revealed that he planned to appeal the loss, though the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) has pretty much already dismissed his challenge.
In addition, Kennedy says he saw Romero do his best Roberto Duran impersonation by signaling to his team "no mas" on more than one occasion prior to getting off his stool.
Some people, though, feel Kennedy is in no position to question the integrity of someone's actions inside the cage as he broke the rules, as well, by grabbing on to Yoel's gloves prior to unleashing the near fight-ending strikes in round two.
Kennedy, though, says he has no recollection of doing that and has yet to see the fight. But he did admit that if he did indeed do something wrong, he'd happily answer to the NSAC for it.
As for what's next for Kennedy, he says he has no clue if he will actually take his gripe to NSAC, as he says it likely won't change anything. For now, Kennedy plans a taking a month-long hunting trip to gain some perspective as to what he wants to do next.
He also doesn't rule out a rematch against Romero, if he can manage to "fight fair," that is.