UFC, Bellator Veteran War Machine Found Guilty on 29 Counts in Christy Mack Assault Trial

By Jordan Breen Mar 20, 2017

Ultimate Fighting Championship and Bellator MMA veteran War Machine is facing life in prison.

Monday, a Clark County District Court jury in Las Vegas found War Machine, born Jonathan Paul Koppenhaver, guilty of 29 of 34 possible charges, including sexual assault, battery, kidnapping and coercion, related to his Aug. 8, 2014 assault on former girlfriend Christy Mack and her then-boyfriend Corey Thomas.

The jury found Koppenhaver not guilty on three counts and deadlocked on two attempted murder charges. Judge Elissa Cadish declared a mistrial on the two counts, allowing Koppenhaver to be tried on the charges at a future date.

The verdict brings an end to the two-week trial. The 35-year-old MMA veteran now awaits sentencing on June 5, where he faces a potential sentence of life in prison with no possibility of parole.

Jury deliberations took just two days in assessing the charges against Koppenhaver, who broke into Mack's house after their romantic break up, attacking both her and Thomas in a sustained, two-hour assault that resulted in serious physical trauma and injuries to both. Koppenhaver has been incarcerated at High Desert State Prison in Clark County since his arrest on Aug. 15, 2014, in Simi Valley, Calif.

Koppenhaver later attempted suicide on Oct. 14, 2014 by hanging himself with a bed linen attached to the leg of his bunk bed. In January of this year, he rejected two plea deals, one that posed 16 years to life in prison, and a separate deal offering 18 to potentially 40 years behind bars.

On March 16, Koppenhaver's attorney Jay Leiderman conceded his client's guilt on eight charges of domestic battery, including the admission that Koppenhaver punched Mack, choked her, broke her teeth, punctured her lung and according to Mack's testimony over her eight hours on the stand, “sawed off” her hair with a knife.

Koppenhaver has not fought professionally since October 2013, where he was choked unconscious by Ron Keslar at Bellator 104. A cast member of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 6, he also fought twice in the UFC, prevailing in a memorable, bloody brawl with Jared Rollins in December 2007, before being choked out by Yoshiyuki Yoshida at UFC 84 in May of the following year and released from the promotion.
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