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Morning Report: Tim Kennedy says his fight with Rashad Evans at UFC 205 will be 'a wash' financially

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UFC middleweight Tim Kennedy says his fight at UFC 205 will be "a wash" financially and that his next bout needs to be for a title or a lot more money.

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Tim Kennedy is ready to be back in the Octagon, but it might be a one-time thing.

Kennedy has been out of action since September of 2014, in large part because he was focused on other pursuits outside of the cage. Though he made himself available for special circumstances like fighting Dan Henderson on short notice, Kennedy has maintained that he makes far more money outside the cage than he does inside, so he he only wanted to come back for something special. A bout with former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans in the UFC's Madison Square Garden debut satisfied that requirement, and Kennedy and Evans are set to fight on the FS1 prelims of that historic card.

But depending on what happens next, that could be the end for Kennedy. Speaking with ESPN earlier this week, Kennedy suggested that it would take a title shot or something equally as grandiose to get him back after 205.

"After Nov. 12, if they're not saying, 'your next fight is against Michael Bisping,' who I smashed, then I don't know. I can't even imagine the fight that would bring me back in again.

"It took Madison Square Garden, on the biggest fight card in MMA history, against a former light heavyweight champion, perennial contender, coming to a new weight class, in a state they just legalized MMA for the first time, for me to come back - with the potential of, 'win here, move into title contention.' If it took that much to get me back here in the first place, it sure as hell will take a big, shiny belt for me to stay."

Kennedy does have a win over the current champion Michael Bisping, but Chris Weidman and Yoel Romero are also on UFC 205 and fighting for what is presumed to be the next middleweight title shot. Beyond that there is even more gridlock as Ronaldo Souza and Gegard Mousasi are waiting in the wings as well. It seems unlikely that Kennedy will leapfrog all of these contenders with a win over a debuting middleweight.

Of course the other tried and true method of retaining fighter interest is an increase in fighter pay. And while Kennedy is hopeful for the future of that in the sport, he also says that his fight at UFC 205 is basically going to be a break even affair.

"They actually had a tax attorney contact us to say, 'just wanted to warn you guys, here's some tax documents you need to start filling out.' I rented a house in Albuquerque. I'm paying $5,000 medicals. I'm paying coaches, management, gym fees, recovery costs, cryotherapy...

"We have to get extra rooms in New York. You know how much a room in New York is - how much a flight to New York is? [Donald Cerrone] is going to be flying Greg Jackson out, I'm going to fly out Brandon Gibson. We're trying to, economically between the two of us, absorb the financial impact from the aspect of New York.

"I'll probably be a wash for this fight camp in money. Think about that for a minute."

Kennedy is not the first fighter to make this claim. Al Iaquinta was originally set to face Thiago Alves at UFC 205 but withdrew from the fight and retired from the sport because he claimed he would be unable to  make any money after factoring in all the costs of training and fighting (for reference, Iaquinta made $23,000 plus a $23,000 win bonus for his last fight and Kennedy made $70,000 base for his last bout). But Kennedy isn't only concerned with the purse now, he's looking at it as an investment for a future where fighters will make substantially more money than they do now.

"The sport is at an opportunity in the very near future to make a difference and be something really significant, special and fantastic. To see [athletes'] lives be sustained at a [financial] level that's not embarrassingly humiliating, we're close to that corner. I hope we take it and I hope I'm there to take this sport around that corner.

"I'm sure as shit not in this sport for the money because it's not there yet, but it will be. We're close. Conor McGregor has made huge waves in changing what the realization of what somebody can make, and before him it was Jon Jones and Ronda Rousey. We know the potential is there for earning. We're going to get it, but we're not there yet."

2016 has been a revelatory year for fighters in the UFC. When Zuffa sold the UFC for $4 billion earlier this year, fighters finally had a benchmark by which to judge their collective value. With these numbers out in the open, a legitimate push for a Fighter's Association has been gaining steam and numerous fighters have begun speaking out about the inadequacy of their pay, especially in the context of their expenses, something Kennedy has been doing for years.

"I don't want to tell anybody what to think. That's not ever what I've done. I'm going to tell you how it is and you be a smart, intelligent person and interpret what I'm saying. You make your own opinions. I don't want to tell a fan what to think. This is just the truth of the sport. This is the truth about what I'm making. The expenses [involved], people don't understand."

Tim Kennedy faces Rashad Evans at UFC 205 on Nov. 12th at Madison Square Garden.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

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N/A

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TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

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1995: In his first fight after becoming King of Pancrase, Bas Rutten submitted Maurice Smith with a rear-naked choke at Pancrase: Eyes of the Beast 6.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

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Weekend is here and we finally got fights again, and good ones too boot. I'm actually very much looking forward to Bellator tonight and the main event on Saturday is one of the best fights of the year. Enjoy the weekend and see you Monday.

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If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy them.