Upon meeting Tim Kennedy, Army Special Forces—UFC Middleweight fighter—action actor, perceptions are shattered. Kennedy embodies all the different occupations he undertakes, yet he breaks all stereotypes of these quintessential manly men. Most people bounce between jobs depending on what occupation they are currently at, but for Kennedy, he is all his professions all of the time. He is a complicated charismatic character, and one hell of a great guy.
“It’s not like they are separate things. Being in Special Forces [Green Berets/Ranger], you have to be pretty athletic,” Kennedy adds. “It was pretty easy to go from there to fighting, that’s what we do everyday anyway. The stuff I’m doing with TV, everything I’m going to do is going to be very physical, very textured in realism/sudo-realism.”
Kennedy knows what his strengths are and he will use them to his advantage. It’s hard not to acknowledge his confidence, especially if you’ve ever seen him in the ring, but his strength in character goes beyond his physical stature and military background. He’s putting an element of authenticity that is lacking in so many projects today.
“It’s not really acting if you’re just being yourself. My background (military) is always going to be there. Out of the 25 roles that are offered, we exclude 15 of them on just what the role is,” Kennedy says. “Is there a chance of me dying, permanent disfigurement; no, then I’m not interested. Yes, then tell me more.”
On the History Channel’s new show “Hunting Hitler,” Kennedy is one of the lead investigators to determine whether or not Hitler committed suicide 70 years ago. In 2014, government documents were declassified, including an array of investigative reports. There is enough evidence to suggest that he escaped and fled to Argentina. The show (available on the History Channel’s website) uses modern technology to solve historic mysteries.
The role Kennedy takes in the investigative team, is one only a handful of people could qualify for. Not many people have experience with ground penetrating radar, use of drones, weapons, knowledge of fighters, tracking people occupationally, and of course military background. Even with all the qualifications tailor made for him, Kennedy wasn’t sure this job was for him.
“There was a lot of apprehension because of the topic and the content. When they said they thought that Hitler made it out of the bunker and they wanted to see if it was possible, I don’t know about that one….That's a little cooky,” Kennedy says. “I didn’t want to be involved in the conspiracy.”
Through the course of the show, the knowledge and possibility opened up for Kennedy, and the viewer as well. Evidence is found that could point to an alternative story in history, by mixing science and history. As Kennedy puts it, it is “conspiracy theory-ish, but there’s so much circumstantial evidence.” The show is compelling, even though history can be complicated, and with engaging personalities at the helm, the show is addicting.
Kennedy is open about the frustrations of having lived the investigation versus watching the show, he doesn’t want people to take for granted the work put in to get the information they were able to get or the time it took for them to conduct research. Even with all that was done for the investigation portion, this is a television show. There was a production crew and shot that needed to be filmed, and hours of footage the audience will never see or be aware of.
“That poor production crew. ‘Hey can you drive down this road one more time?’ I was like fuck no. You got the shot, I’m driving to the fucking beach, we’re looking for a U-boat,” Kennedy says.
The most incredible element of the show is witnessing the fear that is still present decades later. Hitler is one of the most influential and villainous men in history, and his actions still resinate long after the atrocities stopped. For Kennedy, someone who was an active member of the hunt, it was an unbelievable feeling.
“It was powerful. Nazis killed around 10 million people, it’s fucking scary. I know they pushed an Israeli agent off a mountain, just cause she’s asking questions about history,” Kennedy says. “I knew that Nazis had made it to South America, I just had no idea how powerful the Nazis were and still are in South America.“
The first season of “Hunting Hitler” lays the ground work for the search for truth, and even though we are only a few episodes in, there are hints at this continuing on. There has been talk about expanding individual segments, but Kennedy doesn’t think he’d be a part of the show. Not that he would not want to continue his role in the search, but that the search will veer into a realm that is outside his expertise.
Without the sequels or spinoffs in his future, 2016 is still going to be one hell of a year for Kennedy. He is still training everyday, twice a day to be exact, even though he’s unsure of when his next fight will be. As he waits, though, he’ll have his new film “Ranger 15” to look forward to.
“My company Ranger Up and Article 15, the two largest military lifestyle brands, came together to make a movie. ‘Ranger 15’ is somewhere between the Hangover, Zombieland, and Team America. It’s unbelievable.”
This film oozes military in all the right ways. Ranger Up and Article 15 are composed of veterans, so naturally so would the production, including two Medal of Honor recipients Dakota Meyer and Leroy Petry. This is not your typical military movie, and this change in store is both refreshing and exciting to see.
Before Kennedy can bask in taking military in Hollywood by the balls, come February he’ll be participating in another passion of his, self-empowerment. He will instruct a class on how to protect themselves in dangerous situations.
“With the world we live in, we have to have the knowledge to protect what is ours. Providing skills to people so that they can survive any situation,” Kennedy explains. “There’s a reason that SOFSAT, Special Forces, situational awareness techniques for survival are courses the military has. I’m trying to take those and make them into versions so that there’s never a victim of anyone that I know.”
The first course will be in Austin, a 3-day 18 hours course that will prepare you in a wide range of offense and defensive techniques. It’s not about being a badass, it’s about survival. For more information on the course, please go to the SheepDog website.
Kennedy is a confident, intelligent, well-rounded man who knows what his strengths are and centers his professions accordingly. If you see him involved in any project you know he’s passionate about it, putting all his energy into it to bring truth and awareness to the masses.
“Hunting Hitler” airs on The History Channel on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. CST.
Written by Lisa Mejia
Images by Karla Reina