On the third day of the so-called War Machine trial, Christy Mack took the stand in a Clark County courtroom.
Mack, the complainant and alleged victim in the trial, proceeded to recall the years of abuse she had suffered during her relationship with War Machine, formerly known as Jon Koppenhaver before a legal name change. For over an hour, the prosecution examined Mack and asked her detailed questions about her relationship with the former MMA fighter.
“I would hide in my bedroom for days on end,” Mack recalled during the trial when asked how she would deal with visible bruises from beatings she endured at the hands of Koppenhaver. “I was extremely embarrassed. I always thought of myself as a strong individual. I realize now that I shouldn’t have been embarrassed.”
According to Mack, who struggled to fight back tears during difficult moments in her testimony, Koppenhaver had regularly threatened her to ensure her silence over the abuse, which included handing her mother’s phone number to dangerous friends.
“He said he would send his Navy SEAL friends or Hells Angels after me and my family if he ever went to jail.”
During the examination process, Mack revealed that she met Koppenhaver on an adult film set and began to show abusive signs “three or four months” into the relationship. When asked if she could recall the first time he abused her, she was unable to conjure up the memory. When prompted to give later examples, Mack recalled several harrowing incidents during the tumultuous relationship, including sexual assault and vicious attacks.
“He broke my phone in half, picked me up by my throat, brought me downstairs to my bedroom and threw me down.”
On one occasion when Mack attempted to escape Koppenhaver’s car after he had abused her, her ex-boyfriend promised to end her life.
“He said now I have to take you into the desert and kill you,” a distraught Mack told the jury during her testimony.
Despite the alarming situations, Mack explained to the court that she continued to love Koppenhaver and wanted to believe he was capable of change. She defended him against her mother, who witnessed him abuse her on numerous occasions, and made up excuses in front of her own friends.
“I once told my mom I fell down the stair in the bedroom. I told my friends that it was a dog scratch or that my dog bit me. I would come up with any excuse,” Mack explained. “I loved him. I would have done anything for him. I just wanted to be with him.”
Nearly three years removed from the disturbing incident that led to Koppenhaver’s eventual arrest, Mack admits she now understands how abusive relationships work and why it is difficult to escape the perpetual cycle.
“Now that I’ve looked into abusive relationships and I understand manipulation and abusive relationships between a boyfriend and girlfriend and how feelings play into it. I look back and realize that is not how it should have been.”
Koppenhaver is on trial for 34 felony charges, including attempted murder, kidnapping and various counts of sexual assault. The fighter pleaded not guilty to all 34 counts.