Stay tuned to Fightmagazine.com later this week for more on EA Sports MMA.
The former Olympian talks about his career trajectory, his goals, and his friendship with Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal. Shot and edited by Rick Lee.
In Part 3 of this FIGHT! Life series, Strikeforce Middleweight Champ Jake Shields tells us why he makes his living fighting inside the cage, from providing for his young daughter, bonding with his buddies Gilbert Melendez and the Diaz brothers, and testing his abilities against the best martial artists in the world.
Produced and directed by Matthew Ross. Camera: Marc Rizzo and Randy Ward. Edited by Ryan Jackson-Healy and Ashley Cahill. Music by Jacques Brautbar.
Mixed martial arts fans know him as a full-time fighter and soldier, but friends and family know Tim Kennedy for his fondue. Leading up to his fight with Zak Cummings at Strikeforce Challengers on Sept. 25, FIGHT! caught up with the Strikeforce middleweight to talk about how he celebrated his 30th birthday, why cooking lessons made him a fighter, and the restaurant he’d like to open after he’s done competing.
FIGHT!: You just had a birthday. How did it feel to turn 30?
It was actually pretty anticlimactic. When you’re like three weeks out from a fight, you can’t drink, you can’t eat anything. It’s like, “I’m gonna make you a cake,” and I’m like, “I can’t eat a cake. I can’t even have salt on my chicken right now.”
FIGHT!: So what did you do to celebrate?
I actually went to Gold’s Gym at like, 11:30 at night and did a strength and conditioning workout.
FIGHT!: That sounds like a hell of a birthday.
It was actually fantastic.
FIGHT!: You have a pretty familiar story as a full-time fighter and a full-time solider. What facets of your personality do you think get obscured in that characterization?
I have a very small group of people that I could say are my friends and confidants, and if you asked them that question, they’d say, “He loves to cook.” My perfect day would be at the beach, hanging out with my family and my kids. I love my dog. He sheds a lot—I have a huge white German shepherd. I also love shooting, both recreationally and occupationally. I’m not a workaholic, but I’m a workout-aholic—I really enjoy training. So usually I try to integrate all those things together. Dog. Beach. Family. Working out. Food. Bam. Perfect.
FIGHT!: Do you have any formal cooking instruction?
My mom would make my brother and I do different culinary classes when we were kids. That was actually one of the reasons why I ended up fighting: my dad would send us to different martial arts schools to try and compensate for my mom’s influence. That was when we were in grade school. When I’m all done with the military and fighting, I’m definitely going to cook a lot more and get really good at it.
FIGHT!: What are the Tim Kennedy specials?
I make a killer fondue (see below for the recipe). I’ll take some sirloins and cook those up. I’ll have a whole bunch of different breads and cheeses: Gruyere cheese, mozzarella, cheddar. Sometimes I put it in a white wine base or a beer base. Sometimes I make it kind of peppery, sometimes kind of spicy, sometimes not. And then just dip all of your stuff in the cheese and drink some wine.
FIGHT!: And what do you wash it down with?
Right now, I like an old-vine zin. I was a pinot noir guy—that was the fad for a couple of years—but right now I’m definitely loving old-vine zin.
FIGHT!: Have you had an aspirations to open a restaurant or anything?
Yeah, as long as I don’t have to do any of the business side of it—that’s why I have my wife. She’s a business mogul. I’ll just cook.
FIGHT!: What kind of restaurant would you have in a perfect world?
Oh, man. I wouldn’t mind having a really nice steakhouse that’s kind of on the shady side of town, so maybe I could get robbed every few months and just spice my life up. I don’t want to get bored in my old age—I want to keep my skills honed and sharpened. But I don’t think my wife would go for that. Maybe like an open cafe on the beach instead.
Fondue Tips from Tim Kennedy
“This is one of the easiest fondues to make,” Kennedy says.
1 garlic clove
1 ¼ cups dry wine (“I use a decent chardonnay,” Kennedy says.)
2 cups mild cheddar
1 cup Gruyere
1 cup mozzarella
A dash of pepper
Bruise the garlic, and rub it in your fondue pot. “I suggest an electric fondue pot,” Kennedy says. “And cooking oil ones are…dangerous.”
Add the wine, put the pot on medium heat, and let the wine start to cook off. As soon as it’s steaming well, start adding your cheeses. Keep stirring to prevent burning or clumping. Slice up gala, Fuji apples, different peppers, French bread, and some cooked sirloins. Sit down to watch Strikeforce Challengers on Showtime on Sept. 25 at 10 p.m. EST. Begin dipping.
At FIGHT! Magazine, we believe there is a need for a completely objective and unbiased ranking system for fighters to replace the myriad subjective rankings that have become skewed, in many instances, by fighter popularity. In an effort to address this issue FIGHT! Magazine brings you its computerized rankings system which takes into account a fighters strength of opponent, strength of performance, and frequency of activity. Go here for a detailed explanation of how FIGHT!’s rankings work.
Strikeforce Challengers 15 went down on Friday night in Stockton headlined by Justin Wilcox vs. Rodrigo Damm. Wilcox walked away with an impressive stoppage win but held steady at #27 in the Lightweight Rankings. Strikeforce needs homegrown contenders if it wants to move in to pay per view, and “The Silverback” proved that he deserves a higher-caliber opponent and a big-show opportunity. The promotion has some fighters it needs to keep busy (*cough* Gesias Cavalcante *cough*) so it should be too hard to get it done.
On Sat., Bellator hosted a Lightweight Championship fight at Bellator 39. Champ Eddie Alvarez beat the challenger, Pat Curran, soundly, retaining his belt and his #11 Lightweight Ranking. Curran slipped from #30 to #33 and talking at the post-fight presser about dropping to Featherweight, where he competed before signing with Bellator. Unfortunately for Alvarez, it’s unlikely he’ll crack the top 10 unless one of the guys in front of him gets crushed by a lower-ranked fighter; with every other top 25 lightweight in the world now fighting under the Zuffa banner, it’s going to be tough to find an opponent with a ranking value high enough to help vault push Alvarez back into the top 10, where he arguably belongs.
The season four welterweight tournament rolled on with Lyman Good vs. Rick Hawn #76 to #42. Hawn took a controversial split decision, jumping from #76 to #42 in the Welterweight Rankings, while Good crashed from #37 to #65. Hawn will now face the winner of Jay Hieron vs. Brent Weedman in the tournament final. Also at welterweight, UFC vet Ben Saunders moved from #54 to #46 with a stoppage win over Matt Lee.
In a lightweight tournament semifinal, Patricky Freire destroyed Toby Imada with a barrage of strikes. Imada drops from #52 to #120 in the Lightweight Rankings following the loss. Freire will enter the rankings after the tournament final.
Go here to view the full results.
We entered the results from several other cards this weekend into our rankings database; go here to get the full results from Strikeforce, Bellator, AFC, KO Entertainment, Shooto Brazil 22, and Jungle Fight 26.
November 7 is a big day for Strikeforce. Fedor Emelianenko will make his debut on the promotion’s first CBS-televised card in a city the promotion has never been to. Scott Coker & Co. will surely encounter a lot of surprises but I don’t expect many of them to occur in the six-sided cage. Betting odds courtesy of BestFightOdds.com.
(Against Arlovski, Fedor was getting beaten until he wasn’t. Keep that in mind when placing your bets.)
Rogers has a punchers chance and that’s about it. He has a significant size advantage over Fedor but Emelianenko has tooled bigger guys before. The Russian is not the best striker or grappler, but his transition game is flawless, using Sambo punches to set up takedowns and turning his opponent’s takedowns into advantageous positions. His timing and distance are also impeccable, which more than makes up for any technical deficiencies in his striking.
FIGHT! Pick: Fedor.
Jake Shields has proved that he is world class at 170 and 185 but I think “Mayhem” poses serious problems. Miller is good enough on the feet to beat Shields up and good enough on the ground not to get caught. The advantage in wrestling goes to Shields but I’ll take “Mayhem” for the new Strikeforce middleweight title.
FIGHT! Pick: Miller.
This is a decent-enough match up but it should have been a title fight. If you’re going to bother booking your new light heavyweight champ, put his belt on the line. Anyway, Sokoudjou has shown flashes of potential, mostly in his first few fights before getting derailed and run out of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Mousasi has been on fire, capturing titles and Dream and Strikeforce by wrecking guys like Jacare and Babalu. This one’s easy.
FIGHT! Pick: Mousasi.
American Top Team’s “Bigfoot” Silva has shown potential, holding the short-lived EliteXC heavyweight crown and taking wins in K-1 Hero’s and Sengoku, but Werdum is battle tested, having fought, and beaten, better competition in Pride and the UFC. “Vai Cavallo” is also a Abu Dhabi Combat Club champion so I don’t expect him to get outworked on the ground. It may not be a rout, but Werdum is a live dog in this fight.
FIGHT! Pick: Werdum.
FIGHT! Pick: Fedor. Resulting Outcome: CORRECT
Jake Shields (-266) vs. “Mayhem” Miller (+236)
FIGHT! Pick: Miller. Resulting Outcome: INCORRECT
Gegard Mousasi (-460) vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (+393)
FIGHT! Pick: Mousasi. Resulting Outcome: CORRECT
Antonio Silva (+156) vs. Fabricio Werdum (-165)
FIGHT! Pick: Werdum. Resulting Outcome: CORRECT
Danny Acosta recently caught up with elite wrestler and nascent mixed martial artist Daniel Cormier at AKA in San Jose, Calif. With only a few months of serious training under his belt, Cormier is preparing to fight at Strikeforce Challengers on Sept. 25.
On Weds., Strikeforce announced that Welterweight Champion Nick Diaz (#6 Welterweight) would defend his belt against Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos (#35) at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., on Jan. 29. Winner of his last eight fights and 11 of 12 since his submission win over Takanori Gomi in 2007 was overturned due to Diaz’s failed drug test, Diaz will face a whittled-down version of the fighter who began his career fighting north of 200 pounds. The as-yet-unnamed event will also feature a title fight between Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (#10 Middlweight) and “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (#12), a rubber match between reality show host and FIGHT! contributor Jason “Mayhem” Miller (#21 Middleweight) and Tim Kennedy (#27). Miller lost to Kennedy in the semi-finals of a tournament at Extreme Challenge 50 in 2003 and defeated him at an HDNet Fights event in 2007. The main card will be rounded out by a light heavyweight bout between Trevor Prangley (#37 Light Heavyweight) and Roger Gracie (#20) and match featuring Heisman Trophy-winning former NFL star Herschel Walker and one-time WEC vet Scott Carson.
Tickets for the event go on sale Mon., Dec. 27 and the main card will air live on Showtime at 10 p.m. EST/PST.
Paul Thatcher’s best shots from M-1 Global/Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum are up now, as are a slew of video interviews shot immediately following the fights. Check out the photo gallery here and go here to watch interviews with Cung Le, Alistair Overeem, Rafael Cordeiro, Jerry Millen, and Frank Shamrock.