Former Strikeforce veteran Tim Kennedy is never one to shy away from speaking his mind. He's routinely one of the more outspoken and honest fighters in the sport.
GSP is to Diaz as smallpox are to the American/Shawnee Indians. #UFC158— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) March 17, 2013
Whether you find this joke to be funny is irrelevant. Even if you do have a sense of humor as Kennedy points out in a follow-up tweet, the joke is incredibly insensitive to Native Americans.
Epidemics of smallpox devastated the Native American population when European settlers came to the Americas. Kennedy explains his actions to fans who replied to his original tweet.
@ct_usf I know a bunch. And they have a sense of humor. I make fun of every. Particularly my own heritage. Relax. Life is too short.— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) March 17, 2013
It's one thing to make a joke like this in the company of friends or family. I think we can all admit to making crass jokes in private. But Twitter has quickly become a national stage for media, and this kind of humor doesn't belong on it.
I'm not saying Kennedy or any other fighter for that matter has to be boring or give the same spiel that many other professional athletes give. But Kennedy has to consider that he is now known as a UFC fighter, and as such there is a certain degree of professionalism one must exhibit.
Kennedy not only represents himself as a fighter but now the UFC as well. And as we've seen in the past from racy Twitter comments (see Miguel Torres), the promotion takes its public image seriously.
He doesn't have to act like a "straight as an arrow" kind of guy, but with the UFC becoming more well known in national media, this kind of comment is exactly what opponents of the UFC and MMA are looking to use against them.
Let's not make it any easier for them.