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Thursday, 12/06/2012, 11:12 am

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Exclusive: Jon “War Machine” Koppenhaver Talks to BJPenn.Com Radio

 

Jon “War Machine” Koppenhaver has made more noise outside of the cage than inside of it. As a contestant on season six of The Ultimate Fighter Koppenhaver displayed an interesting personality ans showed he could handle himself inside the Octagon. He was released after a first round submission loss to Yoshiyuki Yoshida at UFC 84 along with some remarks he made about the death of Evan Tanner and refusing to take a fight he was offered from Joe Silva.

Since then he has fought nine times winning seven of them including a third round knockout of Roger Huerta. It’s what he has done outside of his fighting career that has drawn him the most attention. He has been hired and fired by Bellator after some remarks he made about President Obama. He began a career as a port star and has served two – one year stints in jail.

Now that he has been released and re-signed by Bellator, Koppenhaver is promising to show he is a changed man and that he can make an impact in the Bellator welterweight division. War Machine was recently a guest on BJPenn.Com Radio and he certainly had some interesting things to say.

BJPenn.Com Radio

So are you living in Vegas now?

War Machine:

No, I moved back to San Diego after I was released from prison.

BJPenn.Com Radio

So you’re prepared to make your debut for Bellator, do you have any idea when you’ll be fighting for them?

War Machine:

Yeah, It’ll be around the second week of January. I’m not sure against who yet, but it looks like its going to be Paul Daley or Ben Saunders. It’s going to be a tough first fight back, but its going to be a lot of fun, I’m looking forward to it.

BJPenn.Com Radio

You’ve got two guys that you might go in there with and you know they are going to stand there and bang. They’re not going to look for any easy way out.

War Machine:

Yeah, they are definitely both finishers, but I’m a finisher too. Either guy will definitely make for an exciting fight.

BJPenn.Com Radio

I know you were recently released from jail, I read the whole story and I know going in there was kind of a shock. Can you explain to us what exactly happened?

War Machine:

I did a year in San Diego from a more recent fight; I was out for 7 months, not doing anything, being cool. I was getting a bunch of work done, getting ready for the Roger Huerta fight and also getting ready for the Bellator tournament. This was an old case from like three years prior, it’d been open for a long time and finally after being  in jail, I said, you know what, I’ll except a plea bargain as long as there is no jail time. I’ll pay the fines, do the probation, I just wanted to get this thing done with. I wanted to get on with my life. The district attorney gave me a deal with no jail time with restitution and probation. I signed it and went to the court for sentencing and the judge was just like, nah, I’m not going to honor this, I want him to go to jail. It was a fluke freak thing. To me, she just looked at me and you could tell she hated me, she wanted to screw me. I don’t know what her problem is, but it was crazy. I didn’t even know that was possible.

BJPenn.Com Radio

Right before the whole incident, I heard about you opening a gym or were part of an opening of a gym. I was reading stuff about you teaching kids and you were really loving life.

War Machine:

Well there’s a gym here called Undisputed. Me and Baret Yousida, who is  from Hawaii,worked together there. I was teach the kids class there and helping with the morning jiu jitsu and MMA classes. Me and my Navy seal buddy  were in the works to open up a gym, probably in Washington state area before I went back to jail.

BJPenn.Com Radio

That just goes to show you how messed up the law system is, there’s probably more people than we know of, that are innocent, that are locked up right now. When they put you back in there, I read that whole story, you were changing your life after you were released the first time and really making a positive impact on a lot of kids lives. You were really doing things and handling things much differently.  When they threw you back in there, I felt for you. That’s not right at all.

War Machine:

It hurt because I had done those things so long ago and I paid the price. I was in for a whole year and  I got out. I was totally trying to be a little angel. I think it was irresponsible for her to send me back in there after I had shown that I changed. She could’ve just said, alright, I’m going to give you a suspended sentence,  or whatever and if you screw up once, you’re going back. Seeing that I was doing better, she should’ve let me stay out. She was a maniac.

BJPenn.Com Radio

There’s so many people like that. They look at you with the tattoos and think, I don’t like this guy.

War Machine:

She looked at me and said, look at you, you look like you’re going to pop. You’re probably on steroids. I was like, what, I couldn’t believe it. I’ve never tested positive for steroids, I’ve never been arrested for steroids, she had no reason to even say that man. She just despised me. I probably reminded her of some guy in high school that wouldn’t bone her or something.

BJPenn.Com Radio

What’s funny is, you’ve always had one  of the most interesting twitters in MMA, I think you even tweeted in jail. How did that even happen?

War Machine:

I was just doing my monthly blog and being in jail for a whole year I didn’t want my name to fizzle out. I wanted people to keep up with what was going on with me, so I wrote a letter to my friend once a week and he logged into my twitter for me and would post it.

BJPenn.Com Radio

That was a good idea to keep you in the press and the public eye. Now that you’re out again, do you feel even more motivated than ever before to really pick things up with your MMA career and really make a stamp?

War Machine:

Yeah, I’ll always try my best so I can live and eat and stuff. But I want them to see more, just to piss of the judge and the supposed victim. I want them to see that I’m doing well and showing my face on tv. I want them to flip though through the channels and see my face and cringe. I want them to be disgusted with my success. I just want to throw it in their faces. That really motivates me.

BJPenn.Com Radio

I know you were on season 6 of The Ultimate Fighter and when I first approached you about coming on this show, you mentioned one of your best friends is Rude Boy (Troy Mandaloniz). Do you keep in touch with him a lot?

War Machine:

Yeah, I was actually just bullshitting with him the other day on Facebook. We go way back and we’re good friends. We live in different cities now, so its kinda sucky. We don’t get to hang out as much, but we’ll always be close. He’s awesome.

BJPenn.Com Radio

I know you legally changed your name to War Machine, does your family call you that or do they call you Jon?

War Machine:

I only changed my name for legal reasons because I was being sued. I don’t go around saying my name’s War Machine. I still say my name is Jon. The thing is, half my friends call me Jon, half of my friends call me War, it goes back and forth.  This is just so I can legalize my nick name.

BJPenn.Com Radio

I would lover for somebody to call me Machine.

War Machine:

It stuck back in the day. Phil Baroni named me War Machine when I was at Mark Layman’s Cobra Kai. I would introduce myself and be like, hey my name’s Jon and Layman and everybody would be like nah his name’s War Machine. It just stuck for years and years, and that became my name. It’s a cool nick name I can’t complain.

BJPenn.Com Radio

Now you mentioned your two possible matches for your upcoming Bellator fight are Paul Daley and Ben Saunders. You and Ben were on the TUF season 6, obviously you guys have some history with each other.  I can’t imagine you and Paul Daley, that’d probably be to you, the most exciting matchup because he’s got thunder with his hands. Ben had a good run in the UFC, but you have to imagine, you’d probably want that Paul Daley fight a little bit more right?

War Machine:

Well Ben and I are buddies. This is our sport, beating each other up is nothing, but if you have to fight your friend, you want to do it in the finale. I don’t want to fight Ben in the first round. The loser of that fight is probably going to go home with a small purse compared to if we had to fight in the finals, we’d bump heads and make a bunch of money. No one wants to take food out of their friend’s mouth, so I don’t want to fight Ben first. If I have to fight Ben I want it to be in the finals.

BJPenn.Com Radio

What are your thoughts on stepping in there and fighting for Bellator?

War Machine:

Its awesome, after the UFC I’ve been fighting on some decent shows with decent opponents, but not on TV not where all the fans can watch. I’m excited to be back on the live TV show where everyone can see me and where I can really prove that my skills are at the top level. I don’t want to be fighting in the shadows. I want to fight the good guys and get recognition that I deserve. I want to get back into the lime light and make money. Do this thing all the way.

BJPenn.Com Radio

Thanks for coming on the show; Anything you want to say to anybody?

War Machine:

I just want to say thank you to the fans for sticking with me through all the crap. I’m glad to be back and just look for me January on Spike TV fighting for Bellator. I’m gonna bring the heat. It’s gonna be good fights, I promise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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