The San Diego Union Tribune has reported that Jo(h)n “War Machine” Koppenhaver attended a preliminary hearing today to face felony assault and battery charges, stemming from an incident in September where he allegedly choked a man unconscious and hit him in the face outside of Undisputed, the San Diego gym where he works as a trainer. Seems pretty straightforward, right? Well, it gets weird:
Darren Zatkow testified that he was visiting San Diego with his then-girlfriend when he was assaulted outside the club after a night of drinks on the town. He said he was confronted by a group of men without shirts who surrounded him as he left the club. He said he was grabbed in a carotid choke hold and dragged a few feet from his friends by one of the men. Zatkow said he did not see who grabbed him from behind. Friends of Zatkow’s who testified said he was punched in the face while he lay unconscious on the ground…San Diego Police Detective Fernando Ramirez said a Las Vegas doctor who saw Zatkow days after the assault determined that the facial blow caused four fractures to his left eye socket. The injuries could cause temporary or permanent nerve damage, Ramirez said.
A New York man who was in San Diego at the time testified for the defense that he saw Koppenhaver hold Zatkow during the confrontation outside, but he said the person responsible for the assault was another one of the men standing outside the club…If the case goes to trial and Koppenhaver is convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of seven years in prison, said prosecutor David Williams.
So to summarize: Koppenhaver and his friends — shirtless and well past normal business hours — lay in wait outside of the gym that he works at, and gang-stomp tipsy clubgoers as they stumble outside of the nightclub that’s adjacent to the health club. Is that about right? Jesus, I knew San Diego was boring, but there’s no excuse for this. Also, though Zaktow never saw who grabbed him from behind, and a witness claims War Machine only held Zaktow while his buddies did the rest, through their own hazy methods of deduction, the Union Tribune decided, in their second paragraph, to run with the more exciting version that Koppenhaver was responsible for the punching and choking. Anyway, we hope the guy gets a fair shake, and that if he has to do some time, he’ll get a cell-mate that can appreciate a good upper-decking.