Jon Koppenhaver. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
‘War Machine’, formerly known as Jon Koppenhaver before legally changing his real name to his nickname last week, has been formally released from the UFC following controversial comments concerning the death of former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner among other things.
In a recent interview with MMA Junkie, Koppenhaver stated that he learned of his release from the organization courtesy of UFC matchmaker Joe Silva this past Wednesday.
“Joe Silva—he was pretty much on a power trip,” War Machine said in the interview. “He was like, ‘I already told you that I already have Wolff for War Machine. I don’t know who he is thinking he’s negotiating with me. You know what? I’m sick of this guy.’ Then he brought up the Evan Tanner thing. ‘He made a dumbass comment on Evan Tanner. He’s not supporting the UFC. You know what? War Machine is cut.’ And they cut me.”
Silva reportedly offered Koppenhaver a fight against newcomer Brandon Wolff after a proposed fight against Matt Arroyo was scrapped. Koppenhaver opted to decline the bout, citing a lack of star power behind Wolff’s name and then asked for a more notable opponent. The UFC declined to fulfill Koppenhaver’s request.
War Machine also posted a MySpace Bulletin in the days following Tanner’s death, speculating that Tanner likely killed himself after losing his last two UFC fights and realizing that his career may have been finished. However it has since been revealed that Tanner likely died of heat exhaustion during his solo camping trip last week.
“I still believe in my heart it was a suicide,” War Machine said in his MySpace post. “Whether or not—maybe he didn’t shoot himself in the head, but I think he went up there maybe with plans not to come back. I just think he was a great fighter, he was a champion, and I guarantee you that he never made shit for money. I guarantee you that he was at the end of his rope.”
“There was no chance for a comeback. He was depressed, guaranteed. He had just lost to Kendall Grove. He was getting older. He knows he has no retirement plan. He had nothing, dude. That could be the outcome for a lot of fighters, myself included. I for damn sure guarantee you that if I’m in my 40s and I didn’t make enough money and I don’t have my own gym to support myself or whatever, I’ll probably kill myself too.”
War Machine has since taken the bulletin down, stating that when he wrote it, he was unaware of all of the details surrounding Tanner’s death and has now learned the real story.
According to Koppenhaver, he has already signed to headline a smaller show next month in a main event slot and is open to the idea of returning to the UFC later in his career if welcomed back.
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