I’m a crime writer and also a fan of the sport of mixed martial arts. But typically, when the two meet, it’s not a good thing.
MMA fighters are no different than other athletes — many are college-educated, have competed in the Olympics, and run their own businesses — while others have had a disadvantaged start to their lives.
Just because they are fighters doesn’t mean they get into fights outside of the cage any more than their professional counterparts. As a matter of fact, many of them have been bouncers in bars, getting rid of rabble-rousers, and often use their skills to prevent crime when they come upon it.
I say all this because of the broad brush with which fighters are sometimes painted in the media. Since MMA debuted in the U.S, in 1993, the image of the MMA has improved in the public eye, I would say. However, one guy in particular, though, has sent a lot of the hard work down the drain.
He calls himself “War Machine,” although he has never served in the military. And knowing several true soldiers, I doubt anyone who served would legally change their name to that — most soldiers are humble, don’t glorify warfare and don’t like to draw attention to themselves.
Not Jon Koppenhaver, aka War Machine. This guy has a penchant for beating people up at the drop of a hat. I was horrified at the alleged events that unfolded over the past week or so. Police say Koppenhaver broke into ex-girlfriend Christy Mack’s home, beat up a guy who was there, ordered him to leave. Then, he brutally assaulted Mack, breaking bones in her face, cutting off her hair, and then sexually assaulted her, police said.
He then left, and hid out for several days, instead of facing justice like a man. The U.S. Marshals found him in California and brought him back to Las Vegas, where the alleged crimes took place.
I’m aware that Koppenhaver has said he was “fighting for his life” inside Mack’s home, that he had gone there to propose to her, and that he doesn’t think the justice system will give him a fair shake.
But what he needed to do as soon as the incident was over was hire a decent lawyer and turn himself in. It would have looked better for him — avoiding being named a fugitive from justice — and it would have started the justice process moving a lot sooner.
Even if he is totally innocent of the charges, he owed at least that to Mack, as she lay in a hospital bed, her eyes shut from repeated punches, a broken rib and ruptured liver.