War Machine, the fighter formally known as Jon Koppenhaver, is quite the character. While some fans find him mildly amusing, the majority of MMA fans have grown tired of the act or simply ignore the man all together.
That wasn't the case when he made remarks about "raping" his girlfriend on Twitter. Many in the MMA community expected there to be some form of punishment or perhaps Machine to be released. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, speaking to Sherdog Radio (quotes from Fight Opinion) expressed a "wait and see" type of sentient with the brash fighter.
The reality with Jon, and that’s the reason that we’ve kept him and I’ve kept working with him is I don’t think his intent is to offend people. I honestly don’t think that he’s intending to offend people and there’s no doubt that he does. But I think that he has a very different perception of things than, you know, almost 100% of the rest of us.
... He just, he just digests information and spits it out differently than anyone I’ve ever met and sometimes it offends the heck out of people and, you know, we’re trying to keep him in the organization and trying to put a cap on some of that but, you know, we’ll see where it goes. I wouldn’t want to make like a future prohibitive statement about Jon Koppenhaver but, um, you know, he understood what he did wrong and that when those comments about rape he was apologetic about it. Um… and hopefully a guy like that can learn from something like that.
Fool me once...
How many times has he done something like this? I believe he's past the "learn from this stage." If a stay in prison along with losing out on the chance to compete in UFC didn't help him learn, what will?
The only party that will learn something from this is Bellator, and it won't be positive.
If the promotion wants to be taken seriously as the number two game in town, tolerating acts like this won't do them any favors. They no doubt brought in Machine to become a draw because of his controversial style, but there are certain boundaries and rules one must follow in the media.
Saying he's going to rape his girlfriend or that "real men rape" is simply unacceptable for anyone, much less a fighter in the second biggest MMA promotion in the world. Bellator's already caught enough flack with the Eddie Alvarez contract debacle and their pay-per-view that will seemingly become the biggest bust in MMA history outside of the Affliction promotion.
Bellator wants him to learn a lesson from this incident, but it will be Bellator who in fact learns a harsh lesson from employing guys who stretch the limits of offensive language and controversy for promotion.