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Tim Kennedy not retired, but isn't interested in taking fights unless it's 'something special'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Tim Kennedy is not retired. He's just not interested in any potential fights the UFC might have for him.

"Has to be something special," Kennedy told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "Fedor [Emelianenko] comes out of retirement and I fight him at a catchweight of 100 kilos. I'd be down for that."

Mostly, Kennedy has soured a bit on the sport of MMA. He still loves it, but right now he's unhappy with the current state of things -- from the multiple drug-test failures to incompetence in refereeing and judging.

"I have a conflict," Kennedy said. "My love for the sport isn't going away. I'm just disappointed in the sport. I don't know how to explain these mixed emotions where I'm like: every dude in my weight class is testing positive, everybody is cheating, judging still sucks, reffing still sucks."

Kennedy, 35, has been on the shelf since falling to Yoel Romero by third-round TKO at UFC 178 in September. That was a controversial bout. Romero took too long coming out from his corner for the third round after a second round in which Kennedy nearly finished him.

The whole thing was a mess with multiple parties, including referee John McCarthy, to blame. Romero had too much Vaseline on his face from the cutman. McCarthy instructed him to wipe it off, but the cutman was already gone. Romero ended up still on his stool in confusion when McCarthy attempted to restart the fight.

Minutes later, Romero landed a crushing blow and finished Kennedy with punches.

"I thought the fight was over," Kennedy said. "Talk about a huge mistake. That's on me. Yes, John messed up. Yes, the corners cheated. Yes, Romero cheated. Yes, they all knew what they were doing and it was completely against the rules every which way. But first and foremost, I have to look at myself as an athlete. I messed up. I should have stayed there. I should have been cerebral enough to be cognitively aware that this fight could still be going on."

Kennedy (18-5) said he just is not interested in any prospective fights right now. Middleweight contender Thales Leites called him out recently on Twitter and Kennedy said he had no emotional reaction. Kennedy wouldn't be interested in a rematch with Romero, either. If UFC matchmaker Joe Silva called him and offered him a title fight against Chris Weidman, he could snap back into action. But other than that, Kennedy said he is "bored."

On top of that, the Army Special Forces Weapons Sergeant said that he's sick of the "lip service" every time there is an issue in the UFC, especially when it comes to UFC president Dana White or CEO Lorenzo Fertitta discussing drug use.

"And then nothing changes," Kennedy said.

The Austin, Texas resident still works for the Army as a contractor and, while being vague, apparently still gets deployed for missions.

"Additionally, I need my brain," Kennedy said. "This sport does not compensate enough for me to be damaged for the rest of my life, not to be able to have a real career the last 40 years of my life."

Kennedy, who won four in a row before the Romero loss, seems to just be in a holding pattern. He said he still trains 15-18 times a week. He still loves that aspect of things and the competition. Things could change for him and he could get the motivation back to fight in the Octagon. But in the current climate, it just doesn't seem to be there.

"I'm just disappointed in the sport in a lot of different ways," Kennedy said. "Not only the rampant drug use. Guys cheating. Judging. I've been a professional in the sport for 13 years. I've been a martial artist for 25, 28 years. And nothing has changed."

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