On the heels of his TKO victory over former UFC star Roger Huerta, Bellator has decided to roll the dice on War Machine (Pictured), formerly known as Jon Koppenhaver before having his name legally changed. The controversial fighter is expected to resurrect his MMA career as a contestant in Bellator’s Welterweight Tournament in Season 6.
“Jon’s not had an easy road,” said Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney. “And there’s no doubt he’s made some poor choices, but after having had conversations with him since his release, he really seems to understand where and why things went wrong and wants to make them right. And, when he’s focused on nothing but training and fighting, he’s a talented and exciting fighter.
“I hope he’s able to turn this second chance into something positive.”
After a 5-1 start to his professional MMA career, War Machine began a downward spiral that included numerous altercations in bars and nightclubs, which eventually led to his year-long incarceration. He also appeared in several porn videos.
Originally signed by Bellator in 2009, War Machine made disparaging political comments that led to his release before he could step foot inside the Bellator cage. Prior to that, he went 1-1 with the UFC but came under fire for his remarks about Evan Tanner’s death. He then turned down a fight with then-little-known Brandon Wolff and was issued his walking papers.
The 29-year-old now realizes this may be his final opportunity.
“It’s like I hit the rewind button,” War Machine said. “I pressed rewind and now I have a chance to get my life back on track. It feels great. Not everyone gets this kind of opportunity. I’m just stoked to be back in the mix here with Bellator.
“I didn’t get released from Bellator because I sucked. I got released because I was making poor decisions in my life. Right now I’m just out to show the world that I do belong here fighting the best with Bellator.”