Veteran middleweight fighter Tim Kennedy (10-2), who recently debuted and signed a multi-fight deal with Strikeforce, has opted to forgo his military career and will now focus solely on mixed martial arts.
The Green Beret's six-year military enlistment ends Aug. 4, and his terminal leave began July 10, according to a recent report from the Army Times.
Last month Kennedy unsuccessfully lobbied the National Guard for assignment to its Elite Athlete Program so he could continue both his MMA and military careers.
Kennedy would have been the first professional MMA fighter who was allowed to remain on active duty.
"My dream is to be able to continue to represent my brothers and sisters in uniform while fighting," Kennedy said at the time. "I know that I can have a huge impact of bringing the right people for the right job in the military. I'm confident that we will be able to work something out. If we can't then, I will separate my service, but I will continue to represent the uniform that I had the honor of wearing."
Kennedy, who was assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, N.C., took an 18-month break from MMA to serve in Afghanistan and other locales as an Army Special Forces weapons NCO.
A longtime member of The Pit with John Hackleman and Chuck Liddell, Kennedy turned pro in 2001 and went 3-0 in the IFL in 2007. Casual fans may remember him best from a classic December 2007 HDNet Fights main-event bout with Jason "Mayhem" Miller. In a back-and-forth battle, Miller, who suffered a loss to Kennedy at a 2003 Extreme Challenge event, survived a deep guillotine choke and ultimately scored a close unanimous-decision win in the rematch. Aside from a loss (due to a cut) to Scott Smith in his pro debut, it remains the only loss of Kennedy's career.
Just 14 days after the Miller loss, Kennedy returned to the IFL and defeated Elias Rivera via first-round TKO.
Kennedy, who expects to fight at an as-yet-unannounced September Strikeforce event, made his promotional debut in June with a second-round submission victory (due to strikes) over Nick Thompson. It was his sixth consecutive win (and ninth in 10 pro fights) to come via stoppage.