Controversial “War Machine” Bellator Bound
Just a few days removed from what was likely the biggest win of Jon Koppenhaver’s–or “War Machine’s”–career to date, Bellator has announced that it has signed the controversial fighter and UFC vet.
Although Bellator’s announcement did not include any details as to when Koppenhaver will make his debut, the fighter tweeted last night that he’ll compete in the promotion’s next welterweight tournament. The competition is expected to take place in early 2012.
“Jon’s not had an easy road,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney was quoted saying about Koppenhaver, who has been involved in several high profile altercations and incidents throughout his career, which culminated in a year long jail sentence for an assault conviction. “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.”
The 30 year-old, former “Ultimate Fighter” competitor signed with Bellator in 2009, but after making disparaging and threatening comments about U.S. President Barack Obama, the fighter was promptly released.
“My past has kind of shaped and molded who I’ve become, but the mistakes I’ve made in the past have definitely made me realize that I have to avoid certain situations in order to be the type of person I want to be,” said Koppenhaver, who also worked briefly in the pornography industry.
“It’s like I hit the rewind button,” the welterweight added, who is 3-2 in his last five fights. “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.”