A former Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter who changed his name to War Machine has now also changed his plea to criminal charges.
The fighter was accused of assault with a deadly weapon -- to wit, the mixed martial artist's hands -- in connection with two separate bar brawls earlier this year, including a fistfight recorded by surveillance cameras at Thrusters in Pacific Beach.
On Thursday, War Machine pled guilty to two felony charges of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury. He admitted he punched a doorman at the bar on Mission Boulevard on March 30 and assaulted two bartenders at the Last Day Bar in Point Loma.
"He got more and more irritated and then swiped his arm toward me -- swiped the whole bar clean, and there was quite a few bottles on the bar and the glass hit me," bartender Helen Geesman testified during the trial.
Jon Koppenhaver legally changed his name to War Machine, which led to some surreal moments in court when prosectors and Judge Charles Rogers referred to the defendant as "Mr. Machine."
The fighter has been arrested several times in the past for fighting outside of the ring, and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault in 2007. He was already on probation for that incident.
War Machine will report to court on July 16 to begin serving a one-year sentence stemming from the previous conviction, according to prosecutor Michael Runyon. The fighter will waive any credits for time served and will instead serve the full year in jail rather than the six months that he could have if had he been granted credits for good behavior while in custody.
His maximum sentence for the current case will be five years in prison, but through a plea deal, it is likely he will not be sentenced to any additional incarceration when he is back in court on Aug. 12 for formal sentencing on the recent assaults.