Koppenhaver, who recently legally changed his name to “War Machine” over trademark issues, revealed the news in an exclusive interview with MMAjunkie.com.
The UFC has yet to formally announce the release but Koppenhaver indicated that he believes the move to cut his contract is based on his recent decision to decline a match and also a recent blog posting in which he commented on the death of former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner.
“What else is an underpaid fighter supposed to do at the end of his career?” Koppenhaver speculated in a bulletin distributed via his account on MySpace. “Cash in his 401K? Collect social security? Start to work some s— job for 10 bucks an hour? (This) s— ain’t boxing, and if you’re not Chuck [Liddell] or Tito Ortiz, you don’t get paid dick.”
Regarding his decision to turn down a recent offer for a fight, Koppenhaver revealed that UFC Vice President of Talent Relations Joe Silva offered him a match on an upcoming card vs. newcomer Brandon Wolff. Koppenhaver expressed that he was disappointed that a proposed match with Matt Arroyo was never finalized and that he was looking to fight a bigger name than Wolff.
“‘Who in the hell is [Brandon] Wolff?” was the response Koppenhaver gave his management, according to a quote on MMA Junkie. “So, I looked him up and made some phone calls. I’ve got a lot of friends in Hawaii — ‘Rude Boy’ (Troy Mandaloniz), Kendall Grove, my trainer. I got the same thing from everybody. They all said the guy is savage, sick, tough as hell, a really tough fighter and a really tough fight. Basically we all came to the conclusion that I have nothing to gain from the fight… I want to fight someone with a name. I said, ‘Give me Josh Burkman. Give me Dustin Hazelett. Give me someone with a name.’ ”
After declining to take the fight with Wolff, Koppenhaver campaigned for a fight vs. Matthew Riddle after learning that his originally proposed opponent, Mandaloniz, would not be able to take the fight. According to Koppenhaver’s comments, it appeared that he had worn out his welcome with Silva at that point.
“Joe Silva — he was pretty much on a power trip,” Junkie quotes Koppenhaver as saying. “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.”
Koppenhaver was officially 1-1 in the UFC. He won a “Match of the Year” candidate bout against Jared Rollins during the live season finale for TUF 6 last December when he TKO’d Rollins at 2:01 of round 3. He returned to the Octagon at UFC 84 this past May where he lost via technical submission while on the receiving end of an Anaconda choke administered by Yoshiyuki Yoshida.