Commentary

Q&A with MMA's War Machine

Originally Published: November 10, 2009
By Lynn Hoppes | Page 2

Heard the one about the mixed martial arts star who turned to porn to make a living?

Yep, it's true.

Jon Koppenhaver, who legally changed his name to War Machine a few years ago, has given up his seven-year MMA career to have sex for money. The 27-year-old Californian welterweight has compiled a 10-3 fighting record while bouncing from UFC to the independent leagues. But after several run-ins with the law and now on probation for fighting in a Las Vegas parking lot, he has decided to cool it a little bit and make some quick cash.

So Page 2 wanted to find out: Why?

War Machine: "I have dated a lot of porn stars and they wanted me to try this, but I never thought I would do this. But I did. When you fight, you don't make a lot of money. I'm working for my future."

What did your family think of this?

"My family isn't that close. My dad passed away when I was a kid and my mom isn't around. My brother and sister laugh at the idea. But I am worried about my grandparents. I know my grandpa always keeps up with my career. I know he'll find out. I haven't told him yet. I hope it won't totally disappoint him."

What about your friends?

"They've been kidding me all along. They are only interested in all the girls. They want me to hook them up with the porn stars. It's really kind of funny."

What was it like on your first day on the set?

"The production company and my agent at LA Direct Models cautioned me that not everyone can do this. I was really nervous, if you know what I mean. They weren't many people in the room when they filmed the scene. I think a make-up artist, director and some cameramen. I was really nervous. They even put makeup on me!"

Who was your co-star?

"Her name was Riley Steele. I had never heard of her. I googled her name. I wanted to know what she looked like. She's really pretty and she's really nice. But I was still pretty nervous. I was a wreck before getting to the set. I'm not even sure I slept the night before. You know, having to get naked and stuff."

How long do you plan to do this?

"I don't know. I hope to do this at least a couple of years. In the first eight days, I worked five scenes. I think I'll be in high demand. I hope it stays that way. I hope to make about $100,000 the first year and then $200,000 the second. That's different than when you fight. You fight only a couple of times a year and you make money on those fights. I need to start planning for my future. I want to open a gym. I might want to travel to different countries."

Are you single?

"I have kind of given up on relationships. I haven't found the love of my life. I'm not sure I can be committed to a girl."

So I assume it wasn't your first time with a woman?

"Ha! I first had sex when I was 13 years old. She was 17."

Why did you change your name to the War Machine?

"I had that as a nickname forever, but TNA Wrestling had a characted named Rhyno, the War Machine. They sent a cease-and-desist letter. I didn't trademark my name. I should have done that. So I asked my boss, 'How about I change my name to that?' Then they couldn't do anything about it."

Could you have stayed in MMA and make a living?

"I haven't given up fighting, totally. For the right money or the right fighter, I'll do it. But it's tough. The owners of the leagues make most of the money. Your body is abused a lot and you don't fight that many times in a year. So it's hard to make a good living. I want a house. I want savings. I want to put money toward a better future."

You've had a few run-ins with the law and are still on probation. Do you cause trouble or do you attract trouble?

"I love to go out and drink and find girls. That's what I do. Sometimes I get into fights. I'm just a normal guy but sometimes people push my buttons. I should just walk away, but I can't. I'm not a bad person. People always like me. They want to be around me. I want to have a good life and I want to enjoy life. And now I'll be making money to do that."

Lynn Hoppes is a Page 2 editor. He can be reached at lynn.hoppes@espn3.com

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