MMA fighter War Machine hit with 32 felony charges, including attempted murder

War Machine in court on Wednesday. (Michael Quine/AP)

Things could be better for the ex-UFC and Bellator fighter named War Machine. For one, he could not be named War Machine. More importantly, the man once known as Jonathan Koppenhaver before he legally changed his name in 2008, could be making headlines for his MMA fighting career instead of for allegedly attempting to murder his ex-girlfriend.

Alas, after running from Las Vegas police and getting arrested in a California motel last month, War Machine is now facing 32 felony charges, including attempted murder, sexual assault, battery, coercion and lewdness, connected to his alleged vicious beating of Christy Mack and a male friend, Corey Thomas, the Associated Press reports. The new charges, which came down on Wednesday, accompany other charges already levied, including burglary, battery constituting domestic violence, sexually motivated coercion and witness tampering.

War Machine, who has decided to use the name Koppenhaver in court, appeared before a Las Vegas judge on Wednesday to state that he understood the charges against him, AP reports. The judge then ordered the 32-year-old fighter to be held without bail pending a preliminary hearing Oct. 17. Mack has indicated that she is willing to testify, AP reports, while War Machine has indicated he will plead not guilty to all charges. And Hulk Hogan has had no further comment since he controversially stated War Machine was “lucky it wasn’t Ronda Rousey.”

“I think the public will understand that War Machine’s a character,” War Machine’s lawyer Brandon Sua said outside court to the AP. “He is controversial and people need to understand where to draw that line from his character as War Machine and a person as Jon Koppenhaver, because that’s who he is.”

On Twitter, War Machine, who used the short biography space to write, “I do Alpha Male [expletive],” seemed to admit that something occurred on Aug. 8, the date of the alleged assault and attempted murder, before then attempting to defend himself while on the lam on Aug. 10.

War Machine was arrested on Aug. 15.


Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.



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Matt Bonesteel · September 4, 2014