steph


Bristol Marunde

Bristol Marunde

Remember that guy you were impressed with during The Ultimate Fighter: 17 Finale that faced Clint Hester on just one week’s notice? You’ll probably want to remember his name.

 

Despite his third round KO loss to a vicious elbow from Hester, Bristol Marunde [12-8] was just selected to take on TUF 2: Brazil’s Viscardi Andrade [13-5] in Rio at UFC 163.

 

In this interview, Bristol and I talk about the upcoming “must-win” situation against Andrade, his training under BJJ master and (now) fellow-UFC fighter, Robert Drysdale, his very own Washington-based fight promotion, Reign FC, and an in-depth look at what it is really like inside that TUF house…

 

 

…All this, PLUS some personal pics, of course. Take a look.

 

***

 

Stephanie: Did you know that your opponent [Viscardi Andrade] just went through the same situation that you did after his season with The Ultimate Fighter? [Marunde was not selected to perform in TUF 16 Finale last year.]

 

Bristol Marunde: Yeah, I never watched any of their show, but that’s what I was picking up. I’m curious what’s behind the UFC’s motive for bringing him back.

 

Stephanie: I know, me too. I was going to ask you if you knew anything…

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Marunde vs. Andrade (Poster via CageWall.com)

 

Bristol Marunde: From what I gather is that he kind of stuck his foot in his mouth and openly talked badly against the Nogueira brothers.

 

Stephanie: Had you heard much about him before recently?

 

Bristol Marunde: No, I’d never heard of the guy. I had to look him up to find out who he was; took me about three, four days to figure out what his name is.

 

Stephanie: He’s coming off a six-fight win streak, two of those by TKO and then the two prior by RNC, do you feel confident with both your striking and your ground game?

 

Bristol Marunde: Yeah. As long as I have time to train, I’ll be perfectly fine. I need to spend the time in the gym that I need to. What does that really mean? That means that I need to be in good grappling shape and, really, to be in good shape [all-around]. I have the technique and the experience; I just need to get in better shape. I grappled really hard today at Drysdale’s with Robert [Drysdale]; he’s huge and it’s tiring. I just need to come home, eat and chill. It’s just a lot. I know how important this fight is. I will put everything on hold for this fight. I might be obligated to my promotion, though; I can’t just put that aside.

 

Stephanie: With just one week’s notice and an entire weight class up from your normal fighting weight, what are your thoughts on your bout with Clint Hester at TUF: 17 Finale? Was it just was one of those things where you get caught or do you think there was something you could do to prevent it had you had a full camp?

 

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TUF 17 Finale: Hester vs. Marunde

Bristol Marunde: Getting hit with an elbow? Is that what you mean? [Laughs]. Yeah, I can look at the fight, but to me it’s hard to critique much because I was so exhausted in that third round. I was just really tired and I could barely pull my hands up. I was really faking it pretty good as I watched the fight. Coming off my stool, I was just really tired and I wasn’t in any kind of MMA shape or grappling shape; I wasn’t training leading up to that fight. It’s tough to say; there are things I could have done differently, but if you don’t have any gas in the tank, you just can’t even really use technique. That really opened my eyes that I really need to be in good shape for this fight and come ready to fight. Really take it to him. This is Brazil and I can’t let this go to a decision; the judges are not very conducive to giving the win to a non-Brazilian. We know that going in to this, so I have to really be offensive and hungry for this fight. I can’t just go out there and compete. In the past, I’ve fought and only given it a minimum of what it required in training, effort and mindset and it has showed in my performances. I know there are tough critics out there on me; I’ve seen it. I don’t take it personally because I’m a critic too of myself. Let’s be honest, I had my back against a wall and I really need to pull out a huge win in an impressive fashion. Otherwise, where does that leave me in the sport? Fortunately, I have this second chance, maybe it’s a third or fourth chance; it doesn’t really matter to me, but what is important that I really go out there and win impressively. I don’t even want to think about the alternative of where my career would go. Let’s just say this is one of those moments where in an athlete’s career that will be defining, I mean, to win impressively; otherwise, I don’t know what lies ahead.

 

The situation is that I’ve been somewhat mediocre in my last couple fights for the last two years. Yeah, I can make excuses and say, “Well, if you look at my record, I took these last two fights on a week’s notice. I did good for no training, stepping in…”  That doesn’t matter to me; I need to go out and do it. I want to do big things and I want to do it right. This sport is not something where you go fight in the UFC just for fun. I’d like to say it’s fun; there are parts of this that I enjoy and I thrive for the energy and the hard work, but if you don’t get it 100 percent, then it’s going to eat you up and you’re going to get beat up in the Octagon. I think that’s kind of what’s happened to me is that I gave it 90 percent, or maybe 85, because I have had other things in life that have distracted me. MMA has been sort of a savior for me; it’s kept me on the straight and narrow and it’s been something that has been in my life for the seven years. Not till recently have I really come to understand what the sport had done for me, personally. I think that’s a good thing, but at the end of the day, you have to want to fight; you have to want to get in that cage. You need to want to go out there any want to destroy your opponent. You can’t just be there going through the motions.

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Bristol and his son, Kale

I just want to get in the gym and train because I want to erase the poor performances of the past. I just want to get in there and work my ass off. I’ve already trained more in the last week than I did for the past couple months. Before the Clint Hester fight, I didn’t know where my career was going; thank God that Joe Silva called me. Thank God for second chances. I get to do what I love to do. All I need is a training camp and I have that now, so I’m taking all what I have learned and I am motivated to [live up to] my potential. That is what I am striving for is to show my potential, prove it to myself and really silence the critics; show that I belong in the UFC.

 

Stephanie: No one got to see much of your grappling or wrestling at the last fight.

 

Bristol Marunde: Yeah, I really would like to mix it up a little better. That last fight, [Hester] was so big that when I shot in, I could just feel that weight. I have a deep wrestling background and I would really like to show that a little bit more…maybe some big takedowns. Fighting at 170, I’ll be big and healthy for it, so I’m excited to be in good enough to know I’ll be able to shoot takedowns and it won’t tire me out.

 

Stephanie: It’s evident that the grappling of those who train under Robert is far superior; do you think that will help you as well?

 

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Marunde putting in work on the heavy bag

Bristol Marunde: Yeah, my grappling at Drysdale’s has really forced me to stay on my ground name. If you go in there, it’s funny, with Robert himself…you have to become good or you’re going to get beat up every day. Every time I go to practice, I learn something new and I wish I had known that for my previous fights.

 

 

Stephanie: You’re from Alaska originally?

 

Bristol Marunde: Yeah, I was born there, but grew up in Washington most of my life.

 

Stephanie: How did you end up in Vegas?

 

Bristol Marunde: I was in Seattle and I was working [as a sales exec for a construction company] and I had an opportunity to transfer to Vegas. It was Vegas or a couple of other cities. I chose Las Vegas because of the training.

 

Stephanie: You were already fighting professionally at that time?

 

Bristol Marunde: Yes; I moved to Vegas late 2008.

 

Stephanie: Do you remain happy with that decision?

 

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Bristol and his beautiful girlfriend, Aubrey

Bristol Marunde: Yes, I am so happy I moved to Vegas! Since moving here, so many good things have happened to me in my life. The training is phenomenal; I get to train with the best grapplers and MMA fighters in the world.

 

Stephanie: Are you training with [James] McSweeney?

 

Bristol Marunde: Yeah, we grapple together and I do a lot of stand-up with him. He’s looking good and he fights a lot and has good energy in the gym. I feel like in the past I have always worked one or the other [stand-up or ground game], but for this fight I am putting in a lot more time in being better rounded. I am working on very strict boxing; I need to get my hand speed faster. I am not just focusing on one aspect of it like I have done in the past, where I get excited and I go all grappling or all stand-up; I’m actually keeping a really good balance of both. Also, we do wrestling one full day a week.

 

Stephanie: Going back to Vegas and as a former resident, myself, I want to know one thing you LOVE about the city and one thing you HATE.

 

Bristol Marunde: One thing I love about Vegas is good food. I am a huge “food person.” I love going out to eat at good restaurants and Vegas has some of the best food and the best service; that’s huge for me. You can have all kinds of different food here, like sushi, steak…I can just go pick a restaurant every night and they’re so good. So that’s what I love and what I hate about Vegas is…I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, so everything was green. I hate that everything is brown in Vegas: the houses, the desert. Everything is so brown and bland. I wish there was more green; I miss trees.

 

Stephanie: You could always go down to Wynn and Encore

 

Bristol Marunde: Yeah and then I would end up at the pool and wake up three days later. Happens all the time. [Laughs]

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Bristol and his little bud

 

Stephanie: You have a son [Kale] with your girlfriend, Aubrey. Do you want him to one day start getting into MMA or wrestling?

 

Bristol Marunde: [Laughs] No! I want him to do football, I want him to enjoy his weekends and not spend every waking moment in the gym. I want him to do something more fun. Here’s the situation: if he wants to fight, I will train him and he will be the best fighter in the world and I will live in the gym for him, but I would rather him get into, like, motor cross or football, so I can go do that with him. Then, when I’m done fighting, I can spend the rest of my time outdoors or at the lake. If he wants to train in the gym, I’m going to have to be in the gym everyday with him. We are going to go knock people out!

 

Stephanie: Tell me about how you got into wrestling and then MMA?

 

Bristol Marunde: I started wrestling when I was ten-years-old and my mom said I just came up to her one day and said that I wanted to start wrestling. We never came from a big sports family, but it was in me from a young age that I wanted to be in combat sports. That kind of got me started. I wrestled forever, through high school and a little bit in college. Wrestling is one of those sports where you put in a lot of work and devote your life to it, but there’s no glory in it. Thank God for MMA, because wrestlers actually have something now that they can look forward to and transition into. Once I was done playing college sports, like I said, I needed something. MMA, for me, gave me the guidance and the drive. I was looking for something to do and my older brother [Jesse] is the one that convinced me to try MMA. If it wasn’t for him, I never would have though I could do it. [Jesse tragically passed away in 2007.] This was back in 2004; he just really pushed me into it. I just never would have thought [this would be a career for me]; I avoid violence, I’m not a violent person. I tried it and started training and had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know if I was going to get beat up or what. I had never even been to a fight. I just signed up and found the right people. I went to my first fight not knowing A THING. I just showed up and knocked the guy out. Right then, I was hooked: I knew this was for me and this is something I can do for a long time.

 

Stephanie: Tell me about TUF: 16 – how you got on the show and your experience.

 

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Before entering the Octagon at TUF 17 Finale

Bristol Marunde: It started with, for my team, they didn’t do open tryouts. I had no intentions of ever trying out to be on The Ultimate Fighter at that time. I had tried out in the past, several times, and I didn’t want to go away for seven weeks. They called me a month before the show and I didn’t think I’d make it since I had tried out for it before. I really didn’t treat it like it was a big deal at the time; I just went on with my normal life. I had been working and promoting events in Seattle and two weeks before the first fight to get into the show, they called me and said, “Be ready to make 170, but no guarantees you’re going to be on.” I was in Seattle and hadn’t trained for two months, so there was a little bit of apprehension about going into it because, for one, I’d never made 170 before, I’d always fought at 185 and two, I had too much going on and didn’t have time to train. Like a week before, they told me to pack my bags and I started shedding off the pounds, hoping I could make weight. I was nervous because I hadn’t been a 170 since high school, which was ten years before, twelve. The day before, I was like, “Crap, this is real, dude,” as I packed my stuff. Then, you get to the hotel in Las Vegas and say your goodbyes; I said goodbye to Aubrey and Kale and walked in and they took my phone and everything I had that wasn’t in the rulebook. I walked into that hotel room and had a lot of apprehension; it hit home, “Holy crap, if you lose, everybody’s going to see that I lost and didn’t even make the show.” It was very weird; I was completely alone. There was no corner, no support group…it was a whole new experience. Going into the fight, walking in it was completely empty; it was the strangest thing EVER because it was completely silent. There was no noise whatsoever, no music, nothing. I would rather hear people booing me than nothing because it was so strange; I was looking around, there’s Dana [White], Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson. I could hear, like, the cage creak as I walked past it, I could hear somebody cough. This is just weird! My opponent comes out and we’re staying at each other and it’s QUIET. I was like, “Dude, there’s NO way I am going home.” I got [the win], but it was really tough actually; he was huge. He cut a lot of weight. I’m looking at this guy and I’m thinking, “How did this guy make 170?” I ended up choking him out, but it was definitely a whole new experience. Even though I had a lot of fights, you can’t…. NOBODY can prepare for The Ultimate Fighter. They throw you right in there and you’re on. It’s like, “Okay! Show up and fight,” and it’s so weird.

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Marunde fighting on TUF 16

Then you win and I’m like, “YES!” excited, wanting to celebrate, you know, but then they’re just like, “Okay, go stand in line.” Then it hit me that I was going to be gone for seven weeks; holy sh*t! I thought, “I can’t see my two-year-old son for seven weeks?” It was such a trippy feeling.

 

Stephanie: Did you make any friends on the show?

 

Bristol Marunde: Oh yeah, I made a lot of good friends. I still keep in touch with them today, like Colton Smith and Igor [Araujo]. Colton and I were roommates and we had a common bond; even if you didn’t like some of the guys in the house, you still kind of shared that moment together and went through your boot camp together. You’ll always remember those people. They know exactly what it was like and only they know what you experience, so you kind of have that common bond that brings the guys together as a group.

 

Stephanie: Tell me about your experience with your coach.

 

Bristol Marunde: Shane Carwin was very cool. He was so much better than the TV show was able to portray. Him and Roy Nelson didn’t go at it and they didn’t talk a lot of trash to each other or cause a lot of drama. You know, after I watched the show, I could see how it was kind of boring in TV standards. In all reality, Shane was awesome and he brought in a great coaching staff and they were all very cool to us. They took care of us and we all learned a lot. That aspect of real life was cool because they were there. As the show went on and I watched it, you didn’t really see a whole lot of that.

 

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Bristol and fellow TUF 16 vet, Colton Smith

We were told the fights were really boring and we were supposed to push the action and I kind of took that to heart. I really came out walking forward and trying to throw some big punches. For some reason, I thought the judges were going to give us a fair ground, but they gave both rounds to the other guy and I ended up losing my second fight. It was really frustrating; I felt like I deserved another fight because I was ready to fight more and more. It was very frustrating to go back to the house after you lost and to try to wait it out, because I still had five or six days [left]. It seemed like an eternity. We had no distractions; no TV or music, so it was just, like, SLOW. I was like, “What am I doing here? I lost and I’m ready to go home and see my family,” but I had to stay there and go train. I helped my teammates out and helped them get ready for their fights, so I had to suck it up. We were all going stir crazy towards the end. We were close to burning the house down; the crew actually had to come out and tell us to calm down sometimes because we were throwing knives and having giant watermelon fights and basically going nuts. They said they were going to start charging us money, $200 per incident. A lot of guys lost several hundred dollars. They don’t really show it, but we all went so crazy because we were, like, prisoners and you kind of get that prison mentality. Since we didn’t have any power, we were like, “You’re going to treat us like kids, we are going to act like kids.” There are so many things you don’t know about unless you’re there. It’s taking guys with big egos out of their comfort zone and putting them in a house and shaking them up. It’s a pressure cooker; everybody wants to explode. You know what? One interesting fact: every single person in that house cried at least once. Not everybody did it on camera, or some guys would hide and do it, but we would sit around the campfire and guys were like, “Yeah, I cried yesterday,” or, “Yeah, I cried three days ago.” Our buddy, Igor, he was crying right there [laughs], because he cried a lot. I cried, too! It kind of breaks you down, for sure. I feel like it’s harder on the guys with kids. Your mind plays tricks on you and you hope they’re okay. That protective instinct makes you go crazy, too. You feel like if something bad happens and you weren’t there to protect your family, you’d literally go crazy.

 

Stephanie: What do you think about women being thrown in the mix on TUF 18?

 

Bristol Marunde: I think it could go two ways. I feel that it’s going to get a lot of viewers and I’m going to want to watch, because I want to know how it goes. I hope that it comes off as classy and shows the true desire to be a mixed martial artist and doesn’t just focus on the human interaction part. The sport of MMA is such a great and terrible sport. I hope that they portray it as people there are working hard because they want to be martial artists and not just this disgusting house, shoving men and women together. I hope it shows the better side of women’s MMA and doesn’t make them come off crazy. I hope they introduce [WMMA] to the world as a positive and a good thing.

 

Stephanie: Tell me about your fighting promotion.

 

Bristol Marunde: [It’s called] Reign FC: Reign Fighting Championships. I like the name “Reign” because it really resonates with me, “Who’s going to reign supreme that night?” I am the owner, operator, matchmaker…I started it in 2009. My next fight [card] is June 29th at the Clearwater Casino in Poulsbo, Washington.

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Promoting, to me, is something that I enjoy doing because I get to give back to the fighters. What that means is that I get to match make fights. I get to promote fighters. One of my biggest things with promoting is that I don’t want fighters to have to go through what I went through as a young fighter; that is, fighting small shows that are unorganized and outside, or one time I won and I had beer bottles flying at me and I had to run out of the building. I never want any fighter to have to do that. I want to run a professional organizationthat builds fighters; I don’t want to build my organization on fighters’ backs. I want everybody to be evenly matched; it’s what separates me from the rest. I want everybody to have an equal chance to win. There are just so many bad promoters that just throw shows together and don’t really take care of their fighters and there are other promoters that CARE about their fighters, but can’t run a business, so they end up falling apart. So far, I’ve been able to be successful and I want to continue building my brand. I want to have a greater reach. I do professional and amateur fights and I have brought up a lot of amateurs, given them ten amateur fights and turn them professional, given them the platform to succeed. I want to provide these guys with sound advice and be somewhat of a mentor to these young fighters. I’m setting this up for my future because I can’t fight forever, but I can promote forever.

 

Stephanie: Are the fights televised at all?

 

Bristol Marunde: No, we record them, though and put them on YouTube. I would love [to have them televised]. I’ve had a couple of offers of people wanting footage, but haven’t worked on the details yet.

 

StephanieWho would you like to thank?

 

Bristol MarundeI would like to thank my dad, Chuck Marunde, for telling me I was a champion…whether it’s true or not, he believes in me.

 

***

 

Go check out ReignFighting.com – sick website and absolutely a promotion to pay attention to in the coming months.

 

You can follow Bristol on Twitter @BristolMarunde.

 

Photos courtesy of:  Bristol Marunde and family   CageWall.com   Sherdog.com

 

jon-koppenhaver

Powerful War Machine

The following interview is not for the faint of heart.

 

It’s not for those with sensitive ears and is certainly, in no way, politically correct. War Machine [born: Jonathan Koppenhaver, 12-4] takes pride in the fact that no matter what the circumstance, he keeps true to himself…and with no apology, either. If this Bellator MMA warrior has an opinion, you’re going to hear about it, rated X or not. His name remains one of the most infamous in MMA today and, love him or hate him, no one can seem to get his name out of their mouths.

 

Read our one-on-one below where Jon opens up to me about everything: his upcoming fight in Bellator, his qualms with MMA sponsorships, the meaning behind his tattoos and his hard knocks as a kid. He even reveals the name of his current girlfriend and shares a few personal photos.

 

Hang on tight… it’s going to be one crazy ride.

 

***

 

Stephanie: Obviously you pay attention to the news and social media and you know that a lot of critics are saying that Bellator made a mistake signing you recently. How do you plan on proving them wrong, both inside and outside the cage?

 

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Navy SEALs BUDS Training Center on the O-Course

War Machine: Well, it doesn’t even make sense what they said. How can they not sign me? There are only so many good MMA fighters that are out there and there’s only so many of those are marketable, you know? I don’t care how much people hate me or whatever, but I’m one of those marketable guys. What did I do so wrong? I f*cking robbed an old lady? I f*cking raped a kid? I’m an arch criminal? I got in a fight. I’m a fighter; that’s what fighters do. Everyone wants to talk shit, but they’re just a bunch of haters. I’m going to go in there and I’m going to fight. That’s what I do and how I make my money and it’s going to be me, you know? It’s their problem if they get sick and tired of seeing me on TV. It’s not my fault.

 

Stephanie: Do you think that you have a temper? Do people set you off easily?

 

War Machine: No. I actually have a great temper. It takes a lot to piss me off…I’ll get mad easy but I won’t get violent unless there’s a really good reason. Those guys that I hit, in real life, they deserved it; they deserved it a lot. They deserved it 100 percent; that’s why I don’t feel bad about it. The Somalian dude that was breaking into my car? I didn’t even touch him, so that shows my temper isn’t even that bad. I think most fighters would have beat him up.

 

Stephanie: Where are you training now?

 

War Machine: I train at a gym called ‘Und1sputed.” My jiu-jitsu coach is Baret Yoshida. He’s been my coach since 2006, so a long time. Then, I have a really good boxing coach named Joe Vargas. My teammates, I have a good bunch of up and coming guys like Herman Terrado and Nick Barnes; a bunch of tough, new guys. We go in there and we train hard. You have everything you need right there.

 

Stephanie: How many hours a day are you at the gym right now?

 

War Machine: You know, guys lie to you and they tell you they train eight hours a day; it’s not even possible, you know? People like to lie a lot. I train about four and a half hours a day: an hour and a half in the morning and an hour and a half at night…maybe 45 minutes in the afternoon. It just depends. I’m training full time; it’s a full time job.

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Baret Yoshida and WM’s trip to Japan, training with Shinya Aoki and Imanari.

Stephanie: Do you have anything you are trying to work on more specifically for your upcoming fight against Blas Avena?

 

War Machine: My boxing. I’m always going to be a ground person at heart. My weakness will always be as a striker, so I focus more on that. I’m trying to get that up to the highest level I can.

 

Stephanie: I was checking out your opponent’s record and I noticed a lot of his fights ended by TKO or knockouts. Is that why are you focusing more on your standup?

 

War Machine: Yeah, him losing that way.

 

Stephanie: I saw he won his last fight by knockout in the first round…

 

War Machine: Yeah, he won his last fight by knockout. He’s a black belt in jiu-jitsu and he’s basically good, but his record kind of sucks. He’s a straight jiu-jitsu guy and he doesn’t stay up on his feet a lot. Now, he’s been training more standup.

 

Stephanie: Will you try and keep it standing and avoid taking it to the ground?

 

War Machine: Besides the black belt, [the fact that he is good at jiu-jitsu] doesn’t mean nothing to me because I train with guys [that are] better than him every single day. I’m not worried about it; I’m a better wrestler, so I’ll be on top. I’m not worried anywhere, on the feet or on the ground, but I know he’s not as good on his feet so I am going to try and exploit that a little bit. That doesn’t mean I won’t take him down, though. I’ll probably take him down, too. Wherever I feel he’s the least comfortable, that’s where I want to have him.

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WM training one of his students, Julian.

 

Stephanie: You don’t see it going a certain way at all?

 

War Machine: Just that I win. I don’t like to have a game plan or try and visualize certain sh*t happening because the first thing that happens when you do that is you go in there and whatever you expect him to do, it’ll go the opposite and it f*cks up your whole game plan and ruins everything you had planned. I go in there and just fight to win. He has to fight me; I don’t care what he’s going to do. That’s his problem. When you’re new, like when I was younger, I was like, “Alright…” I’d sit there all night long and was like, “He comes out and throws a jab, and I’ll do this. He comes out and throws a kick, I’m going to do this…” That’s f*cking bullsh*t. You never really know what’s going to happen. You go in there and you fight and your training takes over and the fight happens, man. That’s it.

 

Stephanie: Iron Man 3 just recently came out and they have a character in the movie named James Rhodes. He calls himself the “Iron Patriot,” but in the comics he was actually “War Machine.” Is that where you got your name from?

 

War Machine: No. My buddy, my old mentor, Phil Baroni, he just named me that one day. I got these two tattoos and they’re, like, biomechanical; it’s like my skin’s tearing off like I’m a robot underneath, like I’m a machine. I don’t know, I was new; I was like 20-years-old, 21 and he was like, “We got to find you a nick name, man.” I said, “F*ck, I don’t know,” and then he came up with “War Machine,” so it stuck. I think that was just a coincidence because that was, like, an obscure comic. I actually didn’t find that out until recently that there was a “War Machine” comic. Plus, that guy is black anyway. I would never name myself after a black guy. If I wanted to be a comic guy, I would pick someone that looked like me.

 

Stephanie: You recently garnered a lot of press talking about MMA sponsorships on social media. What set that off? What was the original situation that made you upset?

 

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WM and his Cousin, UFC vet Jared Papazian

War Machine: What set it off is that these guys that own the clothing companies are millionaires. My agent has a f*cking million dollar house on the beach, do you know what I mean? Everyone’s rich and all the fighters don’t have health insurance. We’re broke, we’re miserable. Right now, I have a torn ACL, I have a hernia, I’m busting my ass every f*cking day training…I’m going to fight on TV in front of a million people, these a**holes have the nerve to try and pay me $500 bucks to wear their shorts? Or $2 or $300 bucks for a t-shirt? It’s chump change. All these stupid fighters that have no balls to negotiate and accept all these bullsh*t, lowball offers. So, because five guys accepted $3 or $400 bucks to wear those shorts, now they have the balls to ask me to wear them for $500. No, it ain’t going to happen. It’s the fighters’ fault, because the fighters are so stupid. They’re so stupid and they’re so eager to get in there and fight and make a penny. They would take anything, you know? Not me, I won’t take anything; I won’t do it. I’ll have ten sponsors for $500 bucks each? I’ll just go out there with nothing on and make no money instead of wearing that sh*t. Everyone says, “Oh, you’re an idiot,” but guess what? Today I get an email and now I have a big ass sponsor at a high-paying amount. I’m going to be the highest paid guy at Bellator with my shirt. All the other guys that are fighting…these guys are fighting, like, title fights for Bellator…and they give them $1500 bucks to wear a t-shirt, you know? I’m getting three, four times that. I want to f*cking slap them in the face. What pisses me off too is that my sports agent is trying to pressure me into accepting that sh*t. You know what I mean? You know why? Because I went on Twitter and I started bashing Sprawl and Sprawl started crying a river…called my agent, “Why was he saying that about us?”, blah blah blah. So now, Sprawl is staring to not sponsor, like, ten of those other guys [fighting in Bellator]. The agent is going to make $400-$500 bucks off the same guys…so he’s trying to pressure me into signing this deal for $500 bucks because for him, it’s not [just] $500 bucks. It’s ten guys at $500 bucks. I got this hernia, I push that shit back in my stomach every day. It’s popping out. I got a torn ACL, I’m fighting my ass off and this guy’s got a million dollar house and he’s trying to tell me to sell me for $500 bucks.

 

Stephanie: At least you got a good sponsor in the end.

 

War Machine: Yeah, because I’ve got balls. They’re a company called Saint Apparel. “Saint” like “a saint,” like me. They’re from Canada.

 

Stephanie: Tell me about your venture into porn and how that happened.

 

War Machine: After I was on The Ultimate Fighter, I started getting kind of popular and all of a sudden porn girls would write me on MySpace. So I started going to L.A. and started boning them [laughs]. So, I knew all these porn girls and then one day I was talking to them and I was in a weird mood…I said, “I’m going to try porn…f*ck fighting. I’m going to take some time off.” So I just went there and did it; it was fun.

 

Stephanie: How much porn did you do?

 

War Machine: I did, like, 20 scenes or so.

 

Stephanie: So, why did you stop?

 

War Machine: I got jumped at a party and I beat up a bunch of guys who were kind of powerful and they blackballed me from the industry. I also got engaged.

 

Stephanie: Did you ever get married?

 

War Machine: Yeah. She got deported when I went to jail. She’s back in Hungary; I’m not married [now], but I have a girlfriend.

 

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WM and his wife, before she was deported back to Hungary

Stephanie: I know that you’re a fan of WMMA; what do you think about Cat Zingano having to pull out of The Ultimate Fighter against Ronda Rousey?

 

War Machine: I don’t know. Did she really get hurt, or is it a lie? I bet you the UFC probably paid her to say she was hurt because they didn’t want her on the show; they wanted to have Miesha Tate instead. I wonder if it’s real or not. I wonder if they were like, “We want the prettier girl on the show, here’s f*cking $20 grand to say you’re hurt.” I’m curious. It’s bullsh*t because the UFC had their hearts set on Ronda Rousey and stupid “Cupcake.” They got screwed over because Cat won and Cat’s not as much of a pretty girl or whatever…I don’t know, man. Rousey is so one-dimensional. The best MMA girls aren’t even in the UFC. I’d rather watch the girls over in Invicta or Bellator.

 

Stephanie: I read on Twitter that you want to tell millions the truth about MMA; is that related to the sponsorships or is this something different?

 

War Machine: The sponsorship thing…just everything, man. It’s how the whole sport is and it’s the UFC’s fault. Bellator is doing the best they can, but they’re limited in the amount of budget and sponsors they get. The UFC is screwing it up so much. If a big company, like Reebok, would step up and sponsor Bellator and give them the money they need to really compete with the UFC, it would be different. It’s all about the sponsors; that’s where all the money is.

 

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WM’s wife, who was deported while he was incarcerated.

Stephanie: So, basically, your whole point is that it’s the fighters who are doing all of the work, but not the ones making the money.

 

War Machine: Yeah, exactly. I saw a statistic of some sh*t…I forget…but it was like the NFL or the NBA, pro-sports. The profits of every pro-sport, like 70 percent or 80 percent, goes to the players. That’s where the profits go, you know? And in f*cking MMA? 17 percent of the profits of the UFC, goes to the f*cking fighters. 17 percent! Compared to, like, 70 everywhere else in the world. They can afford to give all of us good paydays, but instead they want to have eight Lamborghinis instead of three. Why do they want to be so greedy and rich? It’s f*cked up.

 

Stephanie: What’s the story with you and the UFC?

 

War Machine: They kicked me out because when Evan Tanner died…and I still think he killed himself, or I think he went out there because he wanted to die. That’s what I still believe. I said the reason why he did this is because he was a f*cking champ and he never made any money. Now, he’s at the end of his career, he can’t win any more fights, he has no retirement, no savings, he has to start fresh, he can’t fight anymore and so I think he went out there to die. I said, “Mark my words, you’re going to see a lot of fighters in the future, when they can’t fight anymore and they have no money to show for their whole career, killing themselves.” And it’s going to f*cking happen, I promise you. The UFC was like, “Dude, you’re saying that we don’t pay you guys enough so you’re all going to kill yourselves when you get old?” I wasn’t being supportive of the UFC so they fired me; that’s why. [For full story, click here.]

 

Stephanie: Do you believe that after your performance in Bellator that the UFC will reconsider and ask for you to come back?

 

War Machine: If I win a tournament and I win the f*cking belt, of course they are going to want me back. 100 percent guaranteed; they’ll have to come. But Bellator’s not going to let me go; my UFC days are done. Bellator has the last right of refusal; they have the right to match the UFC’s offer. They will never let me go! I’ll be one of their biggest stars after that. You know what? I don’t want to go back to the UFC because I’m not going to sit there and watch every word I say and I’m not going to tolerate that bullsh*t. They’re like a bunch of Nazis, man. I can’t tolerate that, I can’t be there. I’m happy at Bellator; I don’t give a sh*t.

 

Stephanie: Tell me about your tattoos.

 

War Machine: I got a bunch, man. I got some Kanji on my back that says, “Survival of the Fittest,” in Japanese. I have some Kanji on my right foot that says “Yamato Damashii,” which basically means “Samurai spirit.” I got anarchy signs on my hands because I hate the government and I hate rules. I have a circle on my neck; a circle means to me, like, everything that matters to me, like my circle, the few people that I care about, that I trust…I got a bunch of stuff.

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At Und1sputed training with the team and Kid Yamamoto.

Stephanie: I know you have a grenade on your neck, right?

 

War Machine: Yeah, that was just a marketing gimmick. You know, you see a fight on TV and the next day, you don’t know who the f*ck [the fighter] is. There are tons of fighters out there [like that.] You have to have something to stick out; some dudes have a mohawk, Tito Ortiz had his little bleached blond hair; you got to have that something. I’ll walk by people and they won’t recognize me and then they’ll see my neck and they’re like, “Oh! You’re that guy,” you know? It’s probably one of my best ideas.

 

Stephanie: One of the fan questions was, “What’s his knuckle tatt say?”

 

War Machine: It says, “DGAF,” “don’t give a f*ck.”

 

Stephanie: Tell me about your childhood and growing up. Are you still close with your family?

 

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War Machine & girlfriend, porn star Christy Mack.

War Machine: No, my family sucks. My mom’s a f*cking drug-addict loser, my dad died when I was 13, my brother is a piece of sh*t; I hate my brother. I have my sister, that’s all I talk to.

 

Stephanie: Where did y’all grow up?

 

War Machine: We grew up in the L.A. area.

 

Stephanie: Did you do any sports in grade school or high school?

 

War Machine: Yeah, I always played football growing up. I did water polo, swimming and wrestling.

 

Stephanie: So the wrestling led into MMA?

 

War Machine: Me and my dad used to watch these “Gracie In Action” instructional videos when I was in seventh grade, but wrestling was my real first training.

 

Stephanie: How did you decide to make the move to training MMA, then?

 

War Machine: I was in college and I was a biology major. My mom stole all my tuition money and spent it on drugs, so all my credits were frozen and I couldn’t transfer them. My other thing besides going to college and being an officer in the military was being a fighter, so I just moved to San Diego and started training with Ken Shamrock…and then [I’ve been with Und1sputed] since 2005 when it first opened up.

 

 

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At Und1sputed training with his current team, taken last week.

Fan questions:

 

Stephanie: I know in a previous interview you mentioned that you were in the hole the entire time you were in prison, but did anyone ever try and start a fight with you while you were in there?

 

War Machine: No, they’re all a bunch of pussies and a bunch of bullies and they’re all talk. None of them had the balls to ever try anything. That’s a joke.

 

Stephanie: You were incarcerated at the same time and in the same prison as Floyd Mayweather. Do you have a friendship with him?

 

War Machine: No, he was in a different unit; we were just there at the same time.

 

Stephanie: Who is your favorite current UFC champion?

 

War Machine: [Georges] St. Pierre. I look up to him, but then my favorite is Dominick Cruz. He’s a friend of mine; he’s my buddy.

 

Stephanie: These two questions are from Stephie [Daniels]: She wanted me to ask you about “Pow-Pow?”

 

War Machine: [Laughs] “Pow-Pow” is just a funny word I use for sex. If I say, “I need some f*cking Pow-Pow,” it means I need to get laid.

 

Stephanie: …and then she said something about a pizza box?

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War Machine vs. Roger Huerta

War Machine: [Laughs] I did a porno one time in a boxing ring and I had my dick through a pizza. It was stupid, she’d gotten done working out and I was the delivery boy and she knocked me out and I was in a dream and the pizza was on my lap and my dick was sticking through and I f*cked her with it.

 

Stephanie: Oh my! [Laughing] Last fan question: “I want to know how often during the day he wants to punch someone in the face.”

 

War Machine: Uh…I don’t know. I think about punching people in the face less than I think about having sex. I think about having sex every three and a half seconds.

 

Stephanie: Well, hopefully your girlfriend lives near you!

 

War Machine: She doesn’t, she lives in Vegas. Hey, put my girlfriend’s name on there.

 

Stephanie: Oh, okay. What is it?

 

War Machine: It’s Christy Mack.

 

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War Machine with Phoenix Marie and girlfriend, Christy Mack.

Stephanie: [Writing] Christy Mack…

 

War Machine: She’s a porn star. She’s a real popular porn star. Those f*ckers are really going to hate on me when they see that sh*t. Everyone hates on me, you know? When everyone finds out she’s my girlfriend, they are REALLY going to hate on me.

 

Stephanie: Who would you like to thank going into this next fight?

 

War Machine: I would like to thank my sponsor, Garden of Life and I want to thank my new sponsor, Saint Apparel. I’d like to thank my coach Baret Yoshida and my coach Joe Vargas and all my training partners at Und1sputed gym.

 

***

Watch War Machine take on Blas Avena when a new season of Bellator MMA premieres on June 19th on Spike TV and follow him on twitter @WarMachine170.

 

Photo credits: War Machine   MMAsplatter.com   MMA-Fighter.com

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