War Machine thought he’d done his time when he was released from jail in July 2011. He got back to training and even scored a win over Roger Huerta, but in February he was sent back to jail over a prior incident.
Now he’s once again a free man and hoping to restart his fight career in Bellator.
“Last time I got out, I didn’t do anything wrong,” War Machine, formerly known as Jon Koppenhaver, told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “I went back to jail for an old, old case. When I got out last year from jail, it had been seven months and I hadn’t done nothing wrong. I was just doing the same exact thing as I’m doing now. I was already making the effort to change after the first sentence.”
His plan to stay out of trouble is to stay out of bars and clubs.
“I don’t get in trouble anywhere else,” he said. “It’s not as fun. I can’t have the same amount of fun as I want to have. Pretty much I just sit at home all day and play on the Internet and invite girls over late at night for a powwow. That’s all I do. I train and I come home. My life is just training, food, Internet and late-night booty. That’s it.”
In particular, War Machine is focused on getting back in fight shape after spending months in a jail cell. So far it’s been easier than his first time.
“It was tough, particularly the first time when I first got out,” he said. “I was horrible. I was getting destroyed. All my students were just beating the crap out of me. I had no strength. Everything sucked. But this time coming out, surprisingly it was a lot easier than last time. I don’t know why. I don’t know if it was just because psychologically I already did it once and it was easier the second time around, but this time it wasn’t as hard to get back in the swing of things. But it’s still tough. Besides training, it was a lot of emotional anxiety. A lot of feelings hit you when you first get out.”
In fact, he said getting out is actually tougher than being in jail.
“It’s so hard when you get out,” War Machine said. “Getting out is the toughest, scariest part. That’s why these guys stay in there. It’s just easier.”
The 31-year-old is expected to debut with Bellator next year when the promotion moves to Spike TV. Of course, Bellator has received some criticism for promoting a fighter with a criminal record, but War Machine remains grateful for the opportunity.
“I get a lot of crap for my out-of-the-cage antics and stuff, but I’ve never acted like a fool in the cage,” he said. “I’ve never disrespected no one in the cage. I’ve never acted like an idiot ever. I come to fight and I’m professional. I don’t play any games. I try to win. I try to put on a good show. I’m a professional when I’m in that cage. I might get a little wild on the outside and say funny things and be a goofball, but when I’m in there, I’m all business. I think that’s what I really should be judged for when it comes to fighting because that’s my job. My job is to fight. That’s what I do. Everything else is pretty much my personal life.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 59:40).