A Las Vegas jury today found former UFC and Bellator MMA fighter War Machine guilty on multiple charges in connection with the beating of his ex-girlfriend, Christy Mack, in 2014.
War Machine, born Jon Koppenhaver, was found guilty on 29 of 34 charges, including sexual assault, kidnapping, and coercion. He avoided the most serious charges as jurors deadlocked on two attempted-murder chargers.
Koppenhaver could face up to life in prison.
In an unusual move, defense attorney Jay Leiderman conceded Koppenhaver’s guilt last Thursday on eight lesser domestic battery charges, including punching and injuring Mack.
Mack, 24, spent eight hours on the witness stand, crying as she said she was beaten and raped by Koppenhaver in the months before the attack on her and Thomas.
“‘Now I have to kill you because people saw you trying to escape,”’ she recalled Koppenhaver saying after an incident sparked by his dislike of a wig and decorative teeth she wore. “‘Now I have to take you out to the desert and kill you.”’
Thomas, a digital media company owner, testified that he dated Mack for two months before Koppenhaver arrived at her home unexpectedly, flipped on the bedroom lights and set upon him on the bed with rapid-fire punches and choking.
Thomas testified that he suffered a broken nose, dislocated shoulder, scrapes, bruises, and bite marks. The beating stopped, he said, when he asked Koppenhaver if his “end game” was going to be to kill him or let him go.
Mack, who consented to using her name in previous reports, testified that Koppenhaver attacked her after Thomas left. She subsequently released a statement with gruesome details of the incident and photos of her injuries, which included broken teeth, a fractured rib and a severely ruptured liver.
Prosecutors played a recording of a 911 call Mack placed with muffled sounds of a struggle and screams. They said Koppenhaver was attacking Thomas at the time.
Koppenhaver, 35, was arrested Aug. 18, 2014 after spending 10 days on the run. He was cornered in a hotel room in Simi Valley, Calif., after a guest allegedly witnessed him getting physical with another woman.
Bellator, with whom Koppenhaver had his last fight in October 2013, immediately released him after reports of the assault surfaced.
Koppenhaver declared his innocence from jail and indicated the incident was a misunderstanding. He later attempted suicide.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.