Last Friday, War Machine (a.k.a. Jonathan Koppenhaver), the MMA fighter who allegedly brutally attacked his former girlfriend, adult performer Christy Mack, was arrested at a hotel in Simi Valley, California. The arrest marked the end of a week-long manhunt for Koppenhaver, who disappeared shortly after the attack, during which Mack claims she sustained 18 broken bones in her face, a ruptured liver, and a severely injured leg.
Although most people following Mack’s assault rejoiced at the news of Koppenhaver’s arrest, some MMA fans, who have been defending Koppenhaver on Twitter since the assault, weren’t as pleased. That’s why a few of them have set up a GiveForward fundraising campaign for Koppenhaver’s legal defense, to “expose the flaws and lies and cast doubt” on Mack’s abuse allegations.
According to the adult industry blog The Real Porn WIki Leaks (link NSFW), the GiveForward campaign was launched by Koppenhaver’s brother Michael, who has been vocal in defending his brother on social media, shortly after Koppenhaver’s arrest. We won’t link to it, but the text on the page (which is bizarrely accompanied by a photo of Koppenhaver holding a ferret) is below:
I'm asking friends and fans of War Machine aka Jonathan Koppenhaver to come together as one and support a man that had no choice.
War Machine, also known as Jonathan Koppenhaver, was invited to his then girlfriend, Christy Mack, also known as [redacted]’s house. He showed up early to her house he was invited to, used a key SHE gave him to enter and found another man with her in bed. He ended up fighting the man as she grabbed a knife. He fought for his life and defended himself accordingly. She has smeared his name for publicity and some attention, turning the world against him all over [sic] fairytale story. A public defender will not try his hardest to defend War Machine. We need donations for a good lawyer that will dig deep into Christy Mack's story and expose the flaws and lies and cast doubt onto the story to prove the innocence of Jonathan Koppenhaver. Any amount of money would help. Keep him in your thoughts. Thank you.
For the record, Mack tweeted photos of the extremely graphic and disturbing injuries sustained during the attack with a public statement last Monday, which claims, among other things, that Koppenhaver kicked and stabbed her repeatedly, cut off her hair with a knife, and attempted to rape her before she managed to flee to a neighbor’s house.
The GiveForward legal defense page now appears to have been deleted, replaced with a plea to help with his "mental health fund," also by his brother Michael. We've reached out to GiveForward to see whether they deleted the page, but this is what Michael Koppenhaver posted on Twitter:
Someone is messing with my brothers donation page. So we will do our best to get it up and running ASAP. #peoplehavenolives— MICHAEL KOPPENHAVER (@mkope) August 17, 2014
Before disappearing, the GiveForward campaign for Koppenhaver’s legal defense had raised about $340—a far cry from the $73,270 raised by a GiveForward campaign for Mack’s medical bills. But in lieu of the financial support for Koppenhaver’s “plight,” the comments on the page are just as disturbing:
"Trained with you back in the day, get on the good foot son. PEACE.""its sad how one person can ruin another person's life by telling lies. Can't wait for the truth to come out and set you free. Good luck war machine""Good luck War Machine. Macks story makes no sense what so ever. Hope this helps and me and many others stand by you."
There’s also a thread for the fundraiser on the MMA forum Sherdog, with users claiming to have donated money to the campaign. But lest you think all MMA fans are throwing their support behind an alleged domestic abuser, many of the comments on the thread are far more critical of the campaign: “Lololol never, I hope he rots,” one user wrote.
Here’s hoping most of Koppenhaver’s fans overcome their blind allegiance to the fighter and start feeling the same way.
Update: The Daily Dot received the following statement from Desiree Vargas-Wrigley, the CEO and co-founder of GiveForward, regarding War Machine's "legal fund" crowdfunding campaign:
H/T TRPWL | Photo via warmachinemma/Instagram
We specifically do not allow legal defense fundraisers on GiveForward. It's in our create process in the "other" category. The reason GiveForward does not support legal funds is that it puts our coaches in a difficult position when both sides are fundraising. We prefer not to choose sides and instead focus our energy on what we do best, which is helping people help a loved one in need. Our site is about compassion, hope, and creating moments of joy. Legal funds rarely fit into that mission. Additionally, War Machine's fundraiser received nearly 30 flags in the few hours before we suspended it.