The War Machine that is.
Earlier today, it was reported that “The Ultimate Fighter: Season 6” fighter Jon “War Machine” Koppenhaver was cut from the UFC by the Vice President of Talent Relations, Joe Silva.
The reasoning behind the cut appears to be two-fold.
Earlier this week, in wake of the tragic passing of Evan Tanner, Koppenhaver posted a MySpace bulletin expressing his opinion on the matter, implying that he believed Tanner’s death to be a result of suicide.
“What else is an underpaid fighter supposed to do at the end of his career?” War Machine wrote in the posting. “Cash in his 401K? Collect social security? Start to work some [expletive] job for 10 bucks an hour? (This) [expletive] ain’t boxing, and if you’re not Chuck [Liddell] or Tito Ortiz, you don’t get paid dick.”
Within a matter of hours, he had removed the bulletin.
Not surprisingly, this was just another in a long line of posts where War Machine “spoke his mind”. In this case, it was claimed that he removed it once he learned more of the truth.
“I took it down because … when I first wrote it, I didn’t know the whole story,” War Machine said. “I had just heard that they had found his bike and that they had found him in the middle of nowhere. I thought, ‘[Expletive] man. He must’ve killed himself. He must’ve been depressed. That’s what I figured, so that’s why I wrote that bulletin. The once I got the [expletive] comments and they got the story out where he said he was going on a quest and all that stuff and it was debatable on whether it was an accident or not, I took it down.” (As posted on mmajunkie.com)
Eventually, his rants came back to bite him when UFC officials heard about the bulletin. Shortly thereafter, War Machine was offered a fight against Brandon Wolff. Apparently, this was a fight that was not to his liking and he instructed his management to play hard-ball and turn the fight down. Koppenhaver’s concern was that he had nothing to gain by fighting Wolff. Instead, he claimed, he would rather fight the likes of Josh Burkman or Dustin Hazelett. Someone, that is, with a name.
When this idea was pitched to UFC officials, Silva gave no other options. War Machine was told to take it or leave it. So he left it. Strike two. And on Wednesday, Koppenhaver was cut from the UFC.
In the last few hours, since this story broke, there has been an immense amount of criticism of Koppenhaver’s actions and decisions. MMA sites and forums have been flooded with comments condemning him for what was said about Tanner, as well as disagreeing with his choice not to take the Wolff fight. Finally, this evening, War Machine has spoken out against his naysayers. In another MySpace bulletin, Koppenhaver writes:
“I posted a bulletin after Evan Tanner’s body was first found in the desert. For SOME reason I am getting a lot of flack because of it. I don’t know how anyone got the idea that I was being disrespectful to him in any way. If anything I was talking shit on the UFC. Mostly I think a bunch of FAGGOTS are just looking for ANOTHER reason to hate on me.
Anyway, I am going to go over what I said and why I said it.
Evan Tanner was a former UFC champion, one of the pioneers of the sport. He fought his ass off, losing to only a select few in his career. He was never well paid for his efforts. Only a select few in the UFC are; so basically if you’re not Chuck Liddel or Tito Ortiz chances are you won’t make enough money to retire on. And if you don’t own your own gym you will pretty much find yourself lost and wondering “what next?” Before his death his career was coming to an end. He was past his prime and had no real chance of making a come back. He was also battling his troubles with alcohol. I was there at his last fight when my good friend and brother Kendall Grove won a decision victory over him. I was watching and obviously rooting for Kendall but I remember while in the midst of it all ,that I couldn’t help but feel sad for Evan. I watched him when I was a kid…watched him beat many great fighters, I looked up to him. Seeing him get dismantled by Kendall and then seeing him backstage…it made a lasting impression on me to say the least.
So, with all of this being said, when they first reported that he had gone missing and that they found his body in the middle of the desert, I automatically assumed that he had killed himself. It didn’t sound unreasonable to me and to be honest I still think that trip he made to the desert was, in his mind, perhaps a one way trip. I think that he didn’t want to add extra hardship on his loved ones by making it an obvious suicide. I think maybe he couldn’t have brought himself to do it anyway. I honestly think he was just super depressed and confused on his future and went out there to the desert…truly not caring if he came back or not…and he didn’t.
I also KNOW that MANY fighters in the future will come to the same crossroads as him. Fighting their whole life, no insurance from the UFC, no retirement plan, never being paid what they deserved. And as a result they too are going to find themselves in Evan’s shoes. It’s a sad ending for the life of a warrior. But it is one that is coming for most of us. It won’t suprise me if several fighters kill themselves in the future. I know that when my career is up and if I haven’t made the money I need or if I don’t have the gym that I am planning on owning I very well may do it. And that’s the truth.
So after reading all of this, if you still have a problem with me and what I said about Evan Tanner, I don’t give a fuck. That’s your problem. This is my opinion, deal with it.
Thanks to all my LOYAL fans.
I’m sure this latest post will only give his “haters” more fodder for their assessments of Koppenhaver’s character.
According to yet another bulletin from the illustrious War Machine, his next fight will be on October 18th. Here is the most recent post:
I don’t have ALL the details yet but my next fight will be the main event in Mobile on October 18th!
I’ll be taking on Ultimate Fighter Season VII star Mike Dolce!
If you’re in the area come show some support!!
Any guesses as to how well this show will compete with UFC 89?