A week from today, on Wednesday, November 6, the UFC will pay tribute to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces with its Fight for the Troops event at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Competing on the card will be four veterans of the armed forces who have made the transition into the UFC, including headliner Tim Kennedy, former world title challenger Liz Carmouche, active duty Army vet and TUF 16 winner Colton Smith, and his TUF 16 castmate Neil Magny.
Below are capsule bios of this fearsome foursome, and for a closer look at the roster of military veterans who have fought in the UFC, Strikeforce, WEC, and PRIDE, check out the feature on them which is only available in the digital version of UFC 360 magazine. For more information, click here.
A decorated member of the US Army who is a Ranger qualified Special Forces sniper and a former Green Beret, Tim Kennedy never did things in a conventional fashion, with his ability to be a top level mixed martial artist and an active duty soldier at the same time just the most notable example of his form of normal. “My dad was a police officer, so what was normal for us probably wasn’t normal for most, and that just got worse throughout life,” said Kennedy, currently a UFC middleweight. “What was normal in basic training wasn’t normal for most, it was the same in Special Forces school, and it just kept getting less normal than what other people were experiencing. And then the next thing you know, you’re just a Special Forces sniper Green Beret with a Ranger tab that’s been in every combat zone on the planet at the time, with over 200 gunfights, and that’s normal.”
Along with Ronda Rousey, Liz Carmouche made history in 2013 when she competed in the first ever women’s fight in the UFC. She owes a lot of her success to her time in the US Marine Corps, where she served three tours of duty. “It taught me what I’m capable of achieving,” she said. “And it taught me that I can overcome any boundaries as long as I set my mind to it. And I think up until that point, I put it into question whether that was actually true, and the military proved to me that is indeed something I’m capable of.”
An Airborne Ranger Qualified Infantryman in the US Army for the past seven years, Staff Sergeant Colton Smith has managed to juggle his military duties with an MMA career which saw him win season 16 of The Ultimate Fighter in 2012. “Being an Active Duty Leader and UFC fighter are two of the more challenging jobs a man can undertake,” he said. “As a soldier, our willingness to close with the enemy and destroy them for little or no recognition is what sets us apart. That gives us the intestinal fortitude to drive on, whether we are on the fields of battle or in the UFC Octagon.”
A seven year Army veteran, The Ultimate Fighter 16’s Neil Magny, an All-Army Combatives Champion and the All-Guard Combatives Champion, was one of the first notable graduates of the Combatives program to make it big in mixed martial arts.
For more information on the UFC Fight for the Troops, and to bid on once in a lifetime auction items to benefit the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, click here.