Bellator 96 winner War Machine eyes Askren, fights because 'I can't have a boss'


Fighting for the first time in 18 months felt a little strange for War Machine. The result felt pretty good, though.

It took War Machine (13-4 MMA, 1-0 BFC) just under four minutes to stop Blas Avena (8-7 MMA, 1-1 BFC) on Wednesday night at Bellator 96 in his first fight since November 2011.

Since November 2011, War Machine re-signed with Bellator (after a stint in 2009 that never came to be when he was released before the promotion’s first event after a MySpace rant about President Obama), gone back to jail, got out of jail, got a shot in a Bellator welterweight tournament, lost that shot when he tore his ACL training, healed up and now, finally, he’s back.

War Machine said getting back in the cage after a long layoff didn’t necessarily have ring rust behind it, but there was something he wasn’t expecting.

“That’s the thing with ring rust: It doesn’t exist that much,” War Machine told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). “You fight like 40 fights in the gym before you ever come to the real fight. But I won’t lie, I was a little more nervous than usual. I felt a little weird in the beginning of the fight. I watched the fight on TV, and I looked fine, but I guess I felt a little different.”

War Machine may have felt a little different because he was testing out a knee injury in competition for the first time outside of the gym. And it’s an injury that he wonders if he’s seen the last of.

But he also had the pressure of needing to get a win in his Bellator debut – a debut that had a lot of eyeballs on it, given the somewhat controversial nature of his MMA career. Bellator 96 was the start of the promotion’s “Summer Series” and took place at WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla.

“In the back of my head, I’m scared that one day (the ACL is) going to eventually tear all the way through,” he said. “Just a bunch of little things like that. Obviously pressure. Blas is a tough guy. Everyone here is tough in Bellator, and I want to win. You want to win. We don’t make that much money, and if you lose, you get half as much money. You want that money. You want to eat. That adds to the nerves.”

But in the end, War Machine fought through the nerves and got a first-round TKO stoppage, pinning Avena down and raining down punches on him to end the fight.

And with that hurdle cleared, he now can start thinking about a Bellator welterweight tournament. He was supposed to be in one in the spring before his injury. Now he sets his sights on champion Ben Askren. But he’ll need three tournament wins to get there.

“I want to fight Ben Askren for the belt,” he said. “That’s who I want to fight.”

One thing War Machine knows for sure after all this time is that he’s a fighter and he’s in the right profession.

If he can turn that into a title, all the better. But either way, the alternatives for making money don’t suit him.

“I fight because I can’t have a boss,” he said. “I can’t drive in traffic every day and get up in the morning. I can’t do a 9 to 5. I can’t do a regular job. That’s really why I fight. In a way, that keeps me happy because I don’t have to do that. I don’t have to deal with that. My job is taking care of myself and keeping myself in shape. That definitely keeps me more happy than a regular job.”

For more on Bellator 96, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

MMAjunkie.com Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie.com lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

  • 14 days ago
  • 1350 views

Mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Jon Koppenhaver -- aka "War Machine" -- appeared before a Las Vegas judge on Wednesday (Sept. 3, 2014) to answer for felony assault charges against ex-girlfriend and read news >>

  • 14 days ago
  • 7 views

Former Bellator and UFC welterweight War Machine is just a character portrayed by Jonathan Koppenhaver, at least according to an attorney he hired to represent him in the Christy Mack assault case. I read news >>

  • 4 days ago
  • 208 views

Monday will mark exactly one month since porn star Christy Mack was allegedly attacked -- and hospitalized -- by ex-boyfriend and mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Jon Koppenhaver, who legally changed read news >>

  • 29 days ago
  • 276 views

MMA fighter War Machine’s arrest this past Friday has brought to light the details in the assault of adult film star Christy Mack and former reality TV contestant Corey Thomas.Filed under: News read news >>

  • 29 days ago
  • 66 views

Chuck Zito said stupid things and then said more stupid things to excuse the previous stupid things. Chuck Zito, former Sons of Anarchy star and former president of the New York chapter of the Hell's read news >>

  • 29 days ago
  • 10 views

War Machine, aka Jon Koppenhaver, won't fight his extradition back to Las Vegas. In a California court on Tuesday, his attorney said he is a good guy that has been painted as a monster. read news >>

  • 29 days ago
  • 11 views

Fighter Jonathan Koppenhaver, a.k.a. War Machine, will be returned to Nevada in order to face charges in the alleged brutal beating of his girlfriend, Christy Mack. The 32-year-old Koppenhaver, who w read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 122 views

Is this all just one big, horrific misunderstanding? Jon Koppenhaver, a.k.a. "War Machine," is guiltier than a love child conceived by O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony in the court of public opinion af read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 10 views

Embattled ex-Bellator welterweight War Machine will be extradited back to Nevada prior to standing before a jury of his peers regarding the alleged beating of porn star ex-girlfriend Christy Mack, as read news >>