PRO MMA (promma.info) had the unique pleasure of speaking with War Machine this past weekend. He has a fight coming up on April 25th in the UWC so we wanted to catch up with the TUF veteran, see how his training was coming along, what he has been up to, as well as future plans.
War Machine talked to us about a number of topics including his upcoming opponent, training partners, recent legal issues, Dana White, the UFC, women, life in Vegas, his first exposure to MMA, military school, and much more.
One of the best things about MMA are the fighters themselves and the personalities behind the persona. We have a sport full of characters, from the outlandish to the reserved, from the conservative to the anarchist. War Machine is definitely one of our more interesting athletes. This is his story…
PRO MMA: How have thing’s been going with you?
WAR MACHINE: They’ve been going well. I’m over here uh…I moved to Vegas a few months ago and am training at Xtreme Couture’s.
PRO MMA: Oh you are?
WAR MACHINE: Yeah, I’m happy over here, good training camp and good training partners, so it’s fun.
PRO MMA: How long have you been at Xtreme Couture’s now?
WAR MACHINE: Maybe, about four months, four-and-a-half months.
PRO MMA: Who are some of the guys you get to work with there?
WAR MACHINE: I’ve been training with Forrest Griffin, Martin Kampmann, Jay Hieron, Mike Pyle, Junie Browning, Mac Danzing; just non-stop good guys every day.
PRO MMA: Yeah, I just saw Martin a few weeks ago in Nashville, he looked really good.
WAR MACHINE: Yeah, I was glad he won.
PRO MMA: Tell me about this fight you have coming up.
WAR MACHINE: I’m fighting next Saturday [4-25-09] in Virginia in the UWC against a guy named Reshad Woods. He’s from Lloyd Irvin’s school. He’s a real tall kick-boxer guy.
PRO MMA: Have you watched any tape on him?
WAR MACHINE: Yeah, he looks like a good kick-boxer, he’s a legit opponent. I just don’t see him being able to beat me. I think I’ve got better wrestling, better jiu-jitsu. I’ve got more MMA experience, I’m confident about the fight, but he’s a tough dude.
PRO MMA: What kind of record does he have?
WAR MACHINE: I think he’s 4-1 or 5-1.
PRO MMA: How have things been for you since “The Ultimate Fighter” and the UFC?
WAR MACHINE: It’s been fine. I’ve been getting good training in. I fought two months ago in Montreal. It was a good fight, got a good win, and am making good money.
PRO MMA: Would you ever like to go back to the UFC if given the opportunity?
WAR MACHINE: Yeah, eventually I would like to go back to the UFC, just because UFC, it’s like Hollywood you know, it’s cool, a fight’s a fight, but I miss the uh, the couple days leading up to the fight, all the fans around. It was fun just to have all the fans around all the time and have the big weigh-ins and it was more fun cause you get to have more interaction with the people and stuff so that’s naturally what I miss about it.
PRO MMA: I know a while back you had been working at the nightclub when you had a few things go down. Has all that stuff been resolved?
WAR MACHINE: We’re still going through the court process, we’ll see what happens. I had court last week. It’s just a process, I’m not really worried about it.
PRO MMA: You don’t really see anything coming out of that?
WAR MACHINE: My lawyer and I we think I might get maybe a little bit of probation, a little fine, maybe a year probation, nothing serious.
PRO MMA: I had heard the story when you were on TAGG Radio and heard you talk about what really went down so I won’t go into all that. It seems like things got blown out of proportion like they often do. Have you had the chance to talk to Dana White since leaving the UFC?
WAR MACHINE: I spoke to him on the phone once for about half an hour, forty-five minutes, since I left the UFC. He told me he likes me and that I fucked up and basically I had to be punished you know. He’s running a business and he can’t have me going out talking poorly about the organization if I’m representing it so he had to punish me. So he said basically, go out there and do your thing, make some money, win some fights and said he wouldn’t have a problem bringing me back in the future if I got a string of wins.
PRO MMA: Where are you originally from War Machine?
WAR MACHINE: Originally I’m from Simi Valley, California. That’s where I grew up. I went to college in South Carolina at The Citadel.
PRO MMA: Military school?
WAR MACHINE: Yeah.
PRO MMA: That’s cool. I went to military school for one year, then it closed down. It’s definitely a different world.
WAR MACHINE: I thought it was fun. Then after that I moved to San Diego and started training.
PRO MMA: How many years were you at The Citadel?
WAR MACHINE: Just two years. I didn’t graduate, had some financial problems and stuff.
PRO MMA: Did you go there by choice?
WAR MACHINE: Yeah, I went by choice. When I was little I wanted to be a Navy Seal and I wanted to be an officer and I knew if I went to a normal college I would spend too much time chasing women and I wouldn’t be doing my work so I said hey I’ll go to military school, so I thought it was the best thing for me.
PRO MMA: Where did the plans change from going into the military?
WAR MACHINE: Basically, when I left school I was just kind of pissed off because I did a lot of hard work to get in there and I had good grades and stuff and my mom and my step dad, it’s a long story, but they ripped me off basically with money-wise. So I kind of felt like all that shit was in vain, so I was pissed and I couldn’t transfer my units anywhere and my credits were frozen and I couldn’t go to school. I actually beat up my step dad real bad, almost got, had to fight that court case, and after that I was just kind of fed up. My other dream was to always to be a UFC fighter or whatever so I moved to San Diego to try out for the Lion’s Den. That’s what I did.
PRO MMA: What got you interested in MMA to begin with? You said you always wanted to be a fighter; did you wrestle in school?
WAR MACHINE: Basically when I was a kid my dad and I would always watch UFC since UFC 2. It was just something cool I liked. I ordered the little Gracie Jiu Jitsu instructional tapes and my dad and I would practice in the house. I kept following it as I grew up and in eighth grade I signed up at a little gym in Simi Valley and I trained for like seven months basically just doing kick-boxing. Then they closed down. Then high school started and in high school I started wrestling. It was always something I kind of dreamed about doing but I kind of thought it was not realistic because I thought everyone started off when they were little kids, so I thought I would be too far behind, but as I got older I realized it was still a possibility and I wanted to try it out.
PRO MMA: How old are you now?
WAR MACHINE: Twenty-seven.
PRO MMA: So Twenty-seven, living in Vegas, how are you dealing with all the other stuff that goes on in Vegas, all the partying…?
WAR MACHINE: It’s not a problem for me. I don’t go out that much, I don’t know, I like to train, I don’t like training with hang-overs. Plus, I’m trying to stay out of trouble, I don’t want to get in fights and stuff. I spend a lot of time not going out. It isn’t too hard for me to resist the little party lifestyle.
PRO MMA: It probably helps with all the good guys at Xtreme Couture also I would imagine, having good influence around you.
WAR MACHINE: Yeah it does.
PRO MMA: Have you kind of bonded with some of the guys there, made some good friends?
WAR MACHINE: Well, I used to live in Vegas before so… Phil Baroni and I are really good friends. I’ve known him for years, and I’ve known Jay Hieron for a long time. Actually I’ve been getting closer with Martin Kampmann and Forrest Griffin, they are really cool guys. Good time.
PRO MMA: Are you able to fight full time now or are you doing any other work outside of fighting?
WAR MACHINE: Just fighting. I don’t know, work’s just not my thing and it sets me up for failure. Cause I know the more time I spend in public, the more chance for something bad to happen, more chance for me to get arrested. So I kind of live in my own bubble and not work and not be around different people I don’t know. That’s why I’m gonna stay active, man. I’m gonna try to fight almost every month. I just fought two months ago, gonna fight this month. I’m fighting June 20th. I’m actually fighting in Indiana on June 20th.
PRO MMA: What card is that on?
WAR MACHINE: MMA Big Show.
PRO MMA: Do you know who you’re opponent is yet?
WAR MACHINE: Yeah, some kid, he’s undefeated named Roger Bowling.
PRO MMA: You’ve already put together two wins [since leaving the UFC], then this next show on April 25th, and then on June 20th. If you win both of these next fights, the UFC and others would have to take notice of that.
WAR MACHINE: Yeah just keep on winning. These guys are all like, I mean none of them are superstars, but I don’t think the UFC is gonna care that much. I want to keep making money, put together a string of wins, then I want to take a smart opponent, a smart, big name, high caliber opponent that I think I match up well with, then take him out. Then at that moment, combined with a string of wins, then the UFC would be craving to take me back.
PRO MMA: Have you spoke to any of the other large organizations such as STRIKEFORCE or AFFLICTION or any of those guys?
WAR MACHINE: My manager said he could get me into Strikeforce or Affliction. I actually told him I wanted to wait. I want to wait a year, get a bunch of fights under my belt, I’m still young in the sport, so I wanna get a bunch of fights under my belt, get some more ring experience, get some more time to hone my skills, and next year sign with one of the big shows and start fighting the world class opponents again and make another run for it.
PRO MMA: How long do you see yourself fighting for?
WAR MACHINE: Originally I thought I would be fighting until I’m freakin’ old, until my forties and stuff. My other dream like I said, when I was younger I wanted to be a Navy Seal. I have a bunch of friends that are Seals and they are always trying to talk me into going out for it and stuff. One of my friends, he’s actually in Afghanistan right now but when he gets back he’s getting out of the Navy. He’s really tough, a jiu-jitsu guy and wrestler; we’re gonna give him a run cause he wants to try out fighting. So pretty much for the next three years I’m gonna keep fighting and let him try out fighting and then I’m pretty sure, I’m not sure yet, but I’m pretty sure when he goes back into the Teams, I’m gonna go ahead and join too and try out. It’s just one of those things where it was my childhood dream to do it and I like to challenge myself, I think it would be cool. It’s something I’ve always wanted and I know if I don’t do it,then one day I will regret it, not trying it. So that’s a good possibility.
PRO MMA: That’s awesomel man, definitely, nothing wrong with that at all. You can always come back to fighting or whatever…
WAR MACHINE: Even then, once I was in and all settled down, I’ll still take fights here and there, I’ll stay in shape and take short order fights, you know, and just do it, I like to fight.
PRO MMA: I’m sure they would probably even have you helping train some of the guys in combat you know?
WAR MACHINE: Yeah, yeah, for sure.
PRO MMA: How do you think your skills have progressed since you left the UFC?
WAR MACHINE: Not so much my skills have gotten better, cause I’ve always been good, but my brain has gotten better. Like, I’m more relaxed. I got better composure and I’m more mentally mature in the ring and at practice. You know sometimes when you fight you don’t show how good you are you know cause your brain is not there. I feel like in the last year I have developed my mental game a lot more and I fell more comfortable, more relaxed, and it enables me to show my skills better now.
PRO MMA: Has there been somebody or something that’s influenced you along those lines that has maybe helped you?
WAR MACHINE: I don’t think so man, I really think it’s just something that had to click one day.
PRO MMA: Just experience?
WAR MACHINE: Yeah, like all a sudden one day it clicks. Some guys it never clicks and some guys finally it clicks. It just clicked for me, nothing happened, I just feel a lot better.
PRO MMA: Has there ever been someone in the sport that you looked up to, like a mentor, or kind of like a hero to you?
WAR MACHINE: Well, in the beginning when I went to Vegas and started training, Phil Baroni was kind of like my big brother in the game, kicking my butt and someone I looked up to a lot and he was helping me out. But besides him, my jiu-jitsu coach, Baret Yoshida, he’s like one of the best in the world in jiu-jitsu but he also fights MMA. He’s kind of become like a hero to me because I admire him a lot, his hard work and dedication, and the way he thinks and stuff. He’s like the coolest dude you ever met. He’s under the radar in the MMA world, but he fights Abu Dhabi and is sick in jiu-jitsu. He’s a little guy like 140 lbs. but he slips under the radar in MMA because he’s so good in jiu-jitsu they only put him against the best guys. He only fights top ten guys. Anyone else he would beat, but like the top ten guys, all they do is MMA and all he does is jiu-jitsu so, but he’s bad ass, I mean he goes in there and spars pro boxers. He’s not a typical jiu-jitsu guy, you know, he’s tough. He’s kind of like my “now-a-day hero” I guess.
PRO MMA: Another guy who was on the TUF show at Xtreme Couture is Junie Browning, have you had the chance to…
WAR MACHINE: Yeah, I”ve been training with him a lot. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
PRO MMA: He was kind of the “bad boy” and stuff on there and there’s kind of some parallels with the way you and he were viewed, have you seen a change in him since being at Xtreme Couture?
WAR MACHINE: Well, actually to be honest, when I was watching the UFC show and stuff, I thought he was an idiot but, I was like, “those guys are freaking idiots. He’s a retard.” Then when I went to Xtreme Couture’s I was like “Aw this dude is here?” I like, kind of hated him before I even met him, you know?
PRO MMA: Right.
WAR MACHINE: But, he’s nothing at all like the show. I don’t know if he was pretending on the show or what. But he’s nothing like that at all. He’s super humble, super nice. He’s cool as hell, he’s a good training partner. It’s weird man cause he’s nothing like the show, nothing like that, nothing at all. It’s funny.
PRO MMA: And now Junie’s brother was on the show. Has there been any word if he may come out to the gym as well?
WAR MACHINE: Nah. I doubt he will, like Junie Browning has real legitimate skill. I think his brother is still kind of new or whatever. He’s not Junie. Junie is really good you know, his brother still has a ways to go I think before he would come and train at Couture’s.
PRO MMA: It sounds like you are doing really good and have things on track. What do you like to do when you aren’t training. What are you into?
WAR MACHINE: Really man, all my free time I spend trying to terrorize chicks. (laughs) I have like a super one track mind; all I wanna do is like train and fight and terrorize chicks. Really I’m the “whore machine”. My name is the “whore machine” but people thought I was saying “war machine”. In my free time, if I had more money I would travel more. I enjoy traveling and seeing different stuff and exploring new chicks. I want to go around the world and conquer every chick. That’s all I like to do, it’s my favorite.
PRO MMA: We might have to put you on that new show with Rob McCullough for sex addicts.
WAR MACHINE: Yeah exactly. McCullough gets all kinds of ass too.
PRO MMA: Did being on TUF assist you with the ladies?
WAR MACHINE: Yeah, but not like people would think, like very seldom do chicks come up to you who recognize you from the show or from the UFC, only if you’re at a UFC event. But, more often than not what happens is you’re at a bar or somewhere and a guy recognizes you and the guy hypes you up, the guy will talk you up to all his friends like, “Aw, this is the guy from the UFC!” But the girls don’t give a shit, but girls are so shallow, and so stupid, and so evil, that just because now that they think you’re important, now they want you to terrorize them. You know what I mean? So basically the guy kind of ends up screwing himself you know what I mean, but it works out well for us. That’s how it works if you’re gonna get extra ass off it.
PRO MMA: Is there anything you would like to discuss that we didn’t talk about or anything you would like to say?
WAR MACHINE: I just want to thank my fans for being loyal and sticking by me and understanding what kind of dude I am. I’ll even thank the people that hate me, cause all those idiots that run around talking shit about me all the time, all they’re doing is keeping my name alive and keeping money in my pocket, so I want to thank both of them. (laughs) That’s about it man.
PRO MMA: Thanks for speaking to us here at PRO MMA (promma.info). We wish you the best in your upcoming fights.
WAR MACHINE: Thanks man.
By: Jack Bratcher