War Machine, formerly known as Jon Koppenhaver, is no stranger to controversy. His life has long been engrossed in danger, as he’s pursued a multitude of careers at the extremes of what society allows, and committed acts along the way that society does not. His penchant for trouble continued, this time manifesting itself in a series of Twitter posts.
The mixed martial artist and former adult film actor has been linked to porn star Christie Mack for several months, and certainly hasn’t been afraid to speak candidly when it comes to the couple’s sex life. On Saturday afternoon, in the footsteps of Forest Griffin and Miguel Torres, War Machine used social media to make an irresponsible comment that trivialized rape. He initially tweeted the following:
“Just raped @ChristyMack She tried to make me wait until “after errands” As if! =p”
“Real men rape. ( Their GF’s and wives, not strangers, don’t get your panties in a bunch.)”
Understandably, Twitter fought back. The response was negative and swift, but it War Machine’s follow-ups aimed at his detractors that revealed the most about his mindset. He had the following to say about the criticism being leveled against him:
“Apparently you idiots didn’t read my tweet prior to the one y’all are crying about, it puts it in the right context. Sensitive ass bitches.”
“Context is the word…y’all motherfuckers just love to take what I say out of CONTEXT and then attempt to demonize me with it. #DIESLOW”
The problem with War Machine’s response is that he cannot seem to grasp that rape is not simply defined by a shadowy attacker assaulting a random victim. His insinuation, which is only further ingrained into his follow-up responses, is that a “true man” will take sex when he wants it. Once in a relationship, “no” always means “yes.” In fact, taking this sort of initiative with regards to sex exhibits true, unbridled masculinity.
These kinds of statements are representative of a dangerous way of thinking, in which there is an okay “context” where one can promote rape. Let’s be clear. Rape is by definition non-consensual, and it has no place in a healthy relationship. Even if he did not mean rape in the “traditional” sense (the rape of strangers, per his tweet), the idea of being entitled to sex is corrosive.
Bellator has had a tough run of behavior problems as of late, releasing Paul Daley (one of War Machine’s intended opponents) and Miguel Falcao due to issues of conduct. War Machine is a fighter they have invested in as an exciting addition to their welterweight division, and the response from CEO Bjorn Rebney came off sounding like “please, just don’t do it again.” Here’s an excerpt from the boss’s press release:
“I’m surely prepared to take action in warranted situations as evidenced by recent promotional contracts we have terminated with well-known, popular fighters who have committed assault and/or who have broken the law. But, in this situation, I remain hopeful that Jon will learn from his mistake, redeem himself and become a better man for it and I would like to give him that chance.”
Bellator has a lot riding on the success of their first pay-per-view, and there’s only so many transgressions they will allow from a PR standpoint, so it’s likely they’ll look to move past this issue as quickly as possible. I find this disappointing, as the nature of his remarks won’t warrant any further explanation or discussion. I have less of a problem with War Machine’s initial words, and more with the mindset that lies semi-dormant beneath them.