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Opinion: The MMA community can prove something positive by helping Christy Mack

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If you are genuinely upset by what occurred, or if you are an MMA fan who wants to prove that the community is not just about mindless violence, or even violent retribution for violence inflicted, then you can donate to Christy Mack's medical expense fund here

Over the last few days, anyone with a passing interest in mixed martial arts has seen the unfolding of the utterly appalling story of Jon Koppenhaver's alleged assault on his long-time girlfriend, Christy Mack.

Koppenhaver, otherwise known as "War Machine," has been a well-known black sheep in the MMA community for years. He is a talented fighter, but very little about his fame is related to his ability. More, he is famous because he is an ex-convict, ex-porn star, ex-reality show member, who constantly said or did stupid or unpleasant things, and he has always made for good traffic. Unfortunately enough, he continues to do that, at the very least.

The current dialogue has shifted from War Machine as a figure to be tutted and laughed at, to how terrible he is and how much punishment he deserves.The degrees of complicity held by his ex-employers, the MMA media who constantly pushed him as a figure of fun, and even the fans who kept clicking and posting and making him famous are knotty and difficult to work out... and they should be shelved for another day.

At time of writing, he's still at large. You'll find people opining that he needs the death penalty, that jail is too good for him, or wishing that he was thrown in there with bigger and better fighters who could beat him up. Trying to argue that he doesn't deserve at least some of these punishments is beyond my rhetorical ability.

But as cathartic and satisfying as it is to think of physically punishing Koppenhaver - inflicting something even slightly close to what he allegedly did to a woman whom he professes he still loves - it's not the solution. The concept of erasing evil by physically destroying it, that you can hit your problems and they'll go away, is at the root of what he allegedly did to Mack in the first place.

Instead, if the allegations are true, he needs to go to jail. He needs to be taken away from society until whatever it was which made him allegedly beat his girlfriend so horrifically is expunged entirely from him. For the rest of his natural life if necessary. Whether that happens is up to the law enforcement and justice system of America. But this, too, is not the most important thing.

War Machine and Christy Mack on the MMA Hour in June 2013:

At the moment, it is devolving into a media circus. TMZ has posted the story, and Reality TV Star "Dog The Bounty Hunter" has gotten into the action by threatening to hunt Koppenhaver down, and probably gotten himself a good chunk of popular interest in the bargain, which was probably all he was after in the first place. It's becoming an orgy of recrimination, finger-wagging, and navel-gazing about the state of mixed martial arts, celebrity culture, or the modern world in general. This is not the important thing.

The important thing is Christy Mack. It is important because this is almost the only element which can be positively affected by you, the reader. This is a young woman who has been horribly beaten.

She did not "deserve it." Those who claim that she did because she should never have never been with him in the first place are, plainly put, stupid. Many have commented on how Koppenhaver appeared to have turned over a new leaf. In addition, relationship dynamics are complicated and powerful things: hard to understand from the outside, harder to change from the inside.

The fact that she is a pornographic actress is irrelevant. Whether you are have moral or religious objections to her career, most ethical and belief systems emphasize the immorality of harming those who do not harm others. She did not (as far as we know) harm others. She did not deserve to be beaten.

Together with the Josh Grispi story, mixed martial arts has been under scrutiny as something which fosters illegal violence, and violence against women. I do not believe that it does, and I do think that the proximity of these two events is just coincidental.

However, if you are genuinely upset by what occurred, or if you are an MMA fan who wants to prove that the community is not just about mindless violence, or even violent retribution for violence inflicted, then you can donate to Christy Mack's medical expense fund here:

https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/qcd5/christy-mack-s-medical-expense-fund

This has only recently been put up, and has not (as far as I know) been verified by Ms. Mack, so please be responsible (EDIT: it has now been confirmed by Ms. Mack). If you would rather donate to a charity, then the following have been known to combat domestic violence:

http://refuge.org.uk/

http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/

If you have other charities you think should be added, please give a shout out in the comments. Thanks.