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Friday, 06/14/2013, 03:00 pm

EXCLUSIVE (Part 2) | War Machine on Recent Bellator Signings: “The Diaz Brothers Should Come,” “We Need Some Winners to Come Over”

By JAKE CHASTAIN

| This week our boys Kinch and Chase Raymond invited Bellator welterweight and interview favorite, ‘War Machine’ Jon Koppenhaver, onto this week’s episode of BJPenn.com’s Late Night Cageside Radio show. War Machine discussed his upcoming fight with Blas Avena at Bellator 96 on June 19th, his training heading into that fight, and how fighters he feels that fighters do not get paid what they deserve and what he feels needs to happen in order for that to change. Here are some of the highlights of Koppenhaver’s interview as he discussed getting back to fighting after his time away from the cage and he also went in depth about his relationship with Bellator:

He first talked about getting out of jail and getting back into fighting:

“It’s going well man. I’m excited to fight again. It’s been a long ass time. When I got out of jail I freakin tore my ACL and had a big setback and uh, every since then I’ve been training hard at my gym down in San Diego; Undisputed. I got a great jiu-jitsu coach, Baret Yoshida, I got a bad-ass boxing coach, Joe Vargas, and um, I’ve been training tough, training hard. I got all my guys coming to help, man; my team. I feel good, man. Feel good.”

On recovering from the ACL tear:

“I didn’t get surgery, man. It wasn’t a complete tear, it was a partial tear, and uh, you know what I mean, I could have had the surgery but I don’t have the time, you know? I don’t have time or the money to sit around for six months or a year. I don’t have health insurance, you know what I mean? So, when shit happens, you know, if you’re a fighter you got to fight. So I sat down a rested for a little while and now I’m back doing what I do.”

War Machine then talked about how he loves fighting for Bellator, how they stuck by him through his troubles and how they differ from the UFC:

“I went to jail but I never lost my contract. I didn’t do anything new, anything bad so Bellator wasn’t going to punish me. It was an old, old thing. So they stuck by me, Bellator. Bjorn Rebney wrote me letters in jail, and um, they were there upon my release with the film crew and stuff so I just picked back up where I left off.”

“They stuck by me. They want me there and I’m happy to be there. You know, I love Bellator. You know what, dude, these guys freakin…I see these horror stories of suspending this guy, suspending that guy in the UFC. You can’t say that, you can’t say this. You can’t do this. Look at me. I’m the most outspoken, crazy bastard on Twitter and you don’t see Bjorn talking to me. You don’t see Bellator firing me, suspending me. You know what I mean? Let us be fighters. Let us be ourselves.” He continued, “I love Bellator for that.”

He then spoke about how Bellator allows him to express himself freely as a fighter and a person and how he would like to pay back the company for allowing him that freedom:

“At the end of the day, I don’t want to be in the UFC if I have to freakin watch everything I say and I have to be a little puppet. I won’t do it man. I don’t give a shit. I’ll stick with Bellator. I won’t be like Eddie Alvarez and all these dudes. I really hope I win this freakin tournament just as much for Bellator as for myself, man. Because I think if I win this shit and I beat Askren to get the belt and I’m the Champ, I know that that’s my comeback story and the marketability I have will help Bellator promote stuff. So, I’m just as excited just as much for them as for me to win. You know? I have to win. I want to do good things for them. I don’t want to leave them. I love that they’re supporting the fighters and letting us talk and letting us do what we wanna do. I love Bellator. They’re the shit.”

“Freedom is important to me.”

“Being in Bellator is kind of making me relive that little old mindset where I can be free and be a fighter. So I’m enjoying it, man.”

Jon then touched on the topic of the new Bellator signings and how he felt it would benefit the company:

“What really needs to happen is there needs to be some cross-over fighters that come not after getting their butts kicked in the UFC.”

“Guys that aren’t losing need to come to Bellator and be like, ‘Man, I want some freedom. I’m coming to Bellator.’ When that happens, that’s when shit is going to hit the fan.” He continued, “We need some of the winners to come over here. You know what I mean?”

He then gave an example of a perfect scenario when he explained, “Like the Diaz brothers, man. They should be over in Bellator, man. The Diaz brothers should come when their contracts are up. That would be sick. It would be like a whole trend. Everyone should come. We could talk and do whatever we want over here, have all kinds of fun, be ourselves. You know what I mean?”

Stay tuned to BJPenn.com for the third installment of interview highlights with War Machine Jon Koppenhaver on Late Night Cage Side Radio.  Koppenhaver will make his return to the cage next Wednesday, June 19th, against Blas Avena. Stay posted for his thoughts on that fight.

-Jake Chastain

@jchastain45

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