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Tim Kennedy distances the MMA Athletes Association from Bjorn Rebney

MMAAA president Tim Kennedy admits it was a mistake having former Bellator owner Bjorn Rebney heading their launch.

MMA: UFC 206-Kennedy vs Gastelum Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like every time an MMA fighter's union reveals itself, drama soon follows that begins to derail the new organization's efforts. The Professional Fighters Association had a promising start with labor lawyer Lucas Middlebrook at the helm and several well respected UFC athletes on board. But then a list of fighters being considered for PFA board positions leaked to the press, a huge issue with many UFC fighters fearing retribution from the company should their association be learned.

Then there's the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association, which kicked off last November with a big press conference event featuring sports legend Georges St. Pierre, Cain Velasquez, Donald Cerrone, Tim Kennedy, TJ Dillashaw, and Bjorn Rebney.

Rebney was the only one there who wasn't a fighter. Rather, he started Bellator Fighting Championships in 2008 and ran it until being replaced by ex-Strikeforce promoter Scott Coker in 2014. And based on some of the shady things he did while running the organization, a lot of fighters were confused and concerned by the lead role he seemed to take during the announcement.

Recently retired UFC middleweight contender Tim Kennedy is now the president of the MMAAA, and he was on the MMA Hour earlier today describing Rebney's presence on the call as a bad idea.

“It was a mistake during the announcement to have him be a public presence,” Kennedy told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “We obviously regretted that. But he will still be somebody that the board members will go to and ask, ‘As a promoter, did you do this?’”

“I need that information and he will be the guy that I am going to ask those questions to,” Kennedy said. “But he has no authority and he has no position within the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association and he has no vote.”

“He’s never been a part in a sense that he has any authority or ability to affect anything,” Kennedy said. “The only people that can vote are board members and the only ones people that can be board members are fighters.

“His role has not changed. But I regret that he was a distraction.”

It's an important message to put out there for the fighters, and for the fans. UFC president Dana White was already using Bjorn Rebney's presence to question the motives of the entire organization, saying "You’ve got to figure out whose hand you want in your pocket. And I guarantee you, you don’t want Bjork’s hand in your pocket. You know what I mean?"

We'll see how the MMAAA moves forward with a bad ass like Tim Kennedy at the lead. He's already put them on a good path by distancing himself from the controversial Rebney.

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