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War Machine appears in court, now facing life in prison

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Photo: Video by ktnv.com

War Machine appears in court, now facing life in prison

By Spencer Lubitz. CREATED Sep 3, 2014 - UPDATED: Sep 3, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- The MMA fighter accused of brutally beating his ex-girlfriend faced a Clark County judge for the first time on Wednesday.

Defense attorneys for Jonathan "War Machine" Koppenhaver were blindsided when prosecutors announced more than a dozen new charges against the athlete.

Initially facing up to 32 years in prison, War Machine is now facing a life sentence.

The fighter appeared in court with more facial hair than we had previously seen. He even cracked a bit of a smile when the judge asked him whether his current legal name is War Machine or Jonathan Koppenhaver, the name he was given at birth.

It took more than a week to find Koppenhaver after he reportedly fled to San Diego. At one point, even Dog the Bounty Hunter was after him.

U.S. Marshals picked him up and extradited him to Las Vegas, where the alleged attack happened.

Authorities said the fighter beat his adult film star ex-girlfriend Christy Mack after he found her at her home with another man.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said the new charges, including first degree kidnapping, stem from incidents occurring during his nearly year-long relationship with her.

"When this case was investigated further, we learned that there were additional incidence of criminal conduct and the law allows us to file an amended complaint at an charges and that's what we did," said Wolfson.

Mack reportedly suffered 18 broken bones, a fractured rib, a ruptured liver, and several broken teeth.

War Machine is also accused of beating the man who he found at Mack's home near Desert Inn and Eastern.

Koppenhaver was found at the extended stay America Hotel in Simi Valley, California with a small amount of cash and some pizza.

The fighter is also charged with battery, strangulation, and attempted murder for the alleged attack on Aug. 8.

The judge granted the prosecutions request that the fighter be temporarily denied the opportunity to post bail.

"War Machine is a character, he's an MMA fighter, he's controversial and people need to understand where to draw that line from his character as War Machine from a person as Jon Koppenhaver," said Attorney Brandon Sua.

War Machine will be behind bars for the foreseeable future.

His next court hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 17.

Spencer Lubitz

Spencer Lubitz

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Spencer Lubitz is a general assignment reporter for Action News.