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October 31, 2014

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Twitter users defend ‘War Machine’ against assault charges

Using the hashtag #FreeWarMachine, supporters of Jon Koppenhaver have taken to Twitter to support the former UFC fighter accused of brutally beating his ex-girlfriend.

Koppenhaver, 32, who has a history of domestic violence in Clark County stretching back to 2009, was arrested earlier this month in a Simi Valley, Calif., hotel room on charges he assaulted adult film actress Christy Mack and her friend Corey Thomas at Mack’s Las Vegas home. Koppenhaver faces multiple felony counts of battery, assault and coercion and could face more than 25 years in prison.

But it appears not everyone thinks War Machine is guilty. A number of Twitter users are tweeting their support for his release from jail under the #FreeWarMachine hashtag.

The criminal complaint filed against Koppenhaver alleges he punched both Mack and Thomas in the face, strangled Thomas, kicked Mack in the ribs, held a knife to her head and forced her to take a shower. It also alleges he sexually assaulted Mack.

In a post on Twitter, Mack, 23, described the incident and released photos of its aftermath, which show her with numerous cuts, swollen eyes and bruising on her body.

“I believed I was going to die. He has beaten me many times before, but never this badly,” Mack wrote.

After the incident, Koppenhaver fled the state, posting updates to Twitter as police searched for him.

Twitter user “AlphaMaleSeeJay,” who says he knows Koppenhaver personally, claims that Mack pulled a knife on Koppenhaver first. In a long blog post, he points to what War Machine fans call flaws in Mack’s story.

Peppered with insults calling Mack a “hoe bag” and “2 timing whore,” the blog post said Koppenhaver acted in self-defense after he walked in on Mack and Thomas having sex and she attacked him with a knife. The author provides no evidence, from the police report or otherwise, that Mack did so. The post is labeled “My OWN PERSONAL theory.”

The hashtag has prompted an avalanche of response from Twitter users condemning War Machine advocates, many of whom call the campaign out as an example of victim blaming.

By Wednesday afternoon, a fundraising campaign for Koppenhaver had sold 13 shirts.

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