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Timothy Kennedy grew up in San Luis Obispo, California. Kennedy’s father enrolled Tim and his brother in shooting schools, boxing lessons, wrestling teams, and jiu jitsu classes. Tim Kennedy attended Eagle Academy private high school, graduating in 1998.
He then attended Columbia College of Missouri earning a BA in Criminal Justice in 2002. Kennedy began competing in sanctioned mixed martial arts fights while still in college, but after graduation he joined the United States Army, enlisting in the elite Special Forces in 2004.
However, he continued to compete in MMA while serving as a Green Beret. When the Army instituted a service-wide Combatives (hand-to-hand fighting) tournament in 2005, Kennedy entered and won the tournament in the light heavyweight division. He achieved this goal three years in a row.
In 2007, he completed Ranger School and was assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group, where he served on Operational Detachment Alphas. During this time he was also a sniper, sniper instructor, the principal combatives instructor for C Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group.
Kennedy deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom multiple times. Among Kennedy’s multiple awards are the Army’s Bronze Star Medal with V device, which was awarded for valor under fire.