Jon ‘War Machine’ Koppenhaver Convicted on 29 Counts, Could Face Life in Prison

March 20, 2017

UFC veteran Jon “War Machine” Koppenhaver, 35, on Monday was convicted on 29 counts. He faces the possibility of life in prison. War Machine is now Koppenhaver’s legal name, though he used his birth name in court proceedings.

The former Bellator fighter and The Ultimate Fighter 6 contestant faced 32 charges, including kidnapping, sexual assault, and attempted murder stemming from an altercation between him, his former girlfriend Christy Mack, and a male acquaintance of Mack’s, Corey Thomas. The incident took place at Mack’s Las Vegas home.

War Machine was arrested by U.S. Marshalls and local law enforcement officers on Aug. 15, 2014, in Simi Valley, Calif., after having fled Las Vegas sometime after the Aug. 8 attack involving Mack and Thomas.

A Las Vegas jury on Monday found War Machine guilty of kidnapping and sexually assault, among other charges, according to the Associated Press. Jurors were deadlocked on two attempted murder charges, but found him guilty on 29 of the 32 charges. As such, he faces sentencing of up to life in prison.

Jon Koppenhaver - War MachineAlthough War Machine had initially pleaded not guilty to all counts, his attorney, Jay Leiderman, admitted during trial to at least 8 of the lesser counts, which included domestic battery charges.

Mack testified that War Machine had threatened to take her out to the desert and kill her in a previous altercation because people saw her trying to escape, but his attorney argued heavily against attempted murder charges in his closing argument. 

According to the Associated Press, “Leiderman suggested that the jury never learned many things about the August 2014 attack at Mack’s home, including Koppenhaver’s state of mind, and therefore could not know if he intended to commit a crime.”

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He went on to characterize War Machine as a “raging bull,” and claimed that he had suffered brain injuries from his mixed martial arts career. Leiderman added that War Machine suffered the side effects of steroids and non-prescription stimulant and anti-depressant drugs that could have caused his mood swings and violent tendencies. 

War Machine fought 19 times as a professional mixed martial artist, amassing a 14-5 record. He fought one time during The Ultimate Fighter (which is categorized as an exhibition) and then twice after the series under the UFC banner. His fighting career ended in 2013 following a three-fight stint with Bellator.

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