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Tim Kennedy explains his Octagon absence and ongoing beef with UFC president Dana White

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

There's a reason why former Strikeforce Middleweight champion Tim Kennedy hasn't competed inside of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Octagon since losing to Yoel Romero via third-round technical knockout back at UFC 178 (which was his only promotional loss after locking down victories over Michael Bisping, Rafael Natal, and Roger Gracie), and it may not be what you think.

The active United States Army Sergeant First Class recently sat down with MMA Underground (shown below) to explain why he hasn't stepped foot inside of the cage in nearly 19 months.

"I got my hand slapped for talking about fighter pay. That was a big one," said Kennedy. "I had Dana White yell at me in front of, like, 20 other fighters. And, I’m sure you see how quiet I got about fighter pay. Same thing about Reebok. Then, they ultimately tried to affect me in different ways – maybe not letting me fight. While they may not be able to shut me up, and maybe I’m not smart enough to shut up, myself, I’m still going to say what I’m going to say, and maybe that’s why I’m still on the shelf."

While Kennedy explains that he'd love to make a return to the Octagon against Middleweight contenders like Vitor Belfort and Anderson Silva, who he recently called out, he is not lacking everyday excitement.

"No. I like fighting. I love fighting," added Kennedy. "I make, like, three or four-times more when I don't fight than when I do fight. And, I'm one of the higher-paid guys in the UFC, which is remarkably tragic and pathetic. So, the work that I do on a normal, day-to-day basis is way more exciting than stepping into the Octagon."

If Kennedy is in fact one of the highest paid athletes under UFC control, it's time for the promotion to put him to work. At 36 years of age, he doesn't have too much time left as an elite-level contender.

Whether he ever steps back inside of the Octagon, it's nice to know that some fighters are looking out for their peers.

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