A UFC fighter was taken into custody after allegedly using a deadly weapon during an altercation at a Pacific Beach bar -- his fists.
Officers were called to Thrusters Lounge on Mission Boulevard shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday, police said.
The 28-year-old suspect, who legally changed his name from Jon Koppenhaver to "War Machine," ran from police and was caught a few blocks away at Bayard Street and Garnet Avenue, police said. It was not clear what sparked the fight or who was involved.
The War Machine’s lawyer said Wednesday afternoon that he hadn’t heard from his client, but confirmed that he had been in trouble with the law before in two similar incidents. According to his MySpace page, the suspect lives in San Diego.
War Machine appeared on the sixth season of The Ultimate Fighter, produced for Spike TV by the Ultimate Fighting Championship. UFC president Dana White reacted to news of the arrest via Twitter.
“He hasn't fought in the UFC for a long time,” he tweeted. “I like War Machine, I hope he gets his life together.”
Joe Mannino from Throwdown Gym at the Sports Arena describes War Machine as a tough guy.
“If you see some of his old fights, he was an incredible fighter,” he said. “Really tough guy, really willing to bang.”
But being tough in the cage shouldn’t spill onto the streets, he says.
"You really don't see this happening in the MMA community,” Mannino said. “They are well disciplined and well-respected, they don't abuse their talent and skills.”
He says fighters like the War Machine are celebrities and are often put to the test.
“There are people out there that are drunk and misbehaving on their own, and put these people to the test and challenge them all the time,” Mannino said. "I know that a lot of our people have expressed that concern, and go out of their way to avoid those types of confrontations."
Mannino added that Mixed Martial Arts is about training and empowering, not brawling.
"We're not about teaching people to go out into the community and hurt people. We're about teaching the skills that lead to self empowerment and confidence, and that avoid fights," he said. “You don't know what happens in people's careers, you don't know what happens in people's private lives, you know, and why they go up and down.”