When you hear that an MMA fighter has gone to jail twice after tweeting his way out of the UFC, changing his name to War Machine and spending some time in the porn industry, you might not have much sympathy for him.
But the fighter formerly known as Jon Koppenhaver (he still answers to Jon and says “War Machine” is just for legal reasons) is more complex than that. And you have to wonder what his case says about the legal system.
Granted, we’re only getting Jon’s side of the story. In this interview, he claims his plea deal was tossed aside because the judge had a lot of preconceptions about him. We’ll never get the other side of the story. If I could ask questions of judges, my coverage of the WPS-Borislow lawsuit would have been a little different.
What we do know is his past. He had a troubled past. And yet on The Ultimate Fighter, he showed a lot of heart — in the cage and in the house. Underneath the nickname and some of the bluster, there’s a good guy with a promising future as a fighter.
So the questions are:
– Did Koppenhaver, already having served time for incidents in 2010, really need to go back to jail for an older case he thought he had finally settled?
– Was jail the best place for someone who had already served time and seemed to be getting his life and fighting career back on track?
– Was the judge biased against Koppenhaver because he’s an MMA fighter?
– Has his second jail stint reduced the odds of Koppenhaver turning the corner and living a productive life from now on?
Worth an investigation. Again, I wish judges could be questioned.