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War Machine and Josh Grispi’s Incidents Are More Black Eyes for MMA

MMA general view

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Can we not simply leave the black eyes in the cage?

In a week where UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and title challenger Daniel Cormier got into a physical altercation at a media event, then managed to get caught on camera trading barbs that led to a death threat, you would think that would be the worst of the news in the MMA world.

Sadly, that’s far from the worst this week.

First, former UFC fighter Josh Grispi made headlines for allegedly assaulting his wife twice in a single week, and found himself behind bars. Grispi, who was released from the promotion after his fourth straight loss back in February 2013, was also accused of siccing the family dog (Buddy) on her as part of the second altercation, which came after an emergency restraining order filed against the fighter by his wife had expired.

The first assault took place on Aug. 1, and also saw the fighter charged with the improper storage of firearms; the second came days later on the fourth. That time around, Grispi was also found in possession of cocaine. According to a report from WHDH News in Massachusetts, Grispi’s wife provided the following text from the ex-UFC fighter to police:

“I’ll choke you unconscious and smash ur throat… I’m going to beat u n throw u to buddy, Ur dead.”

Grispi isn’t the only former UFC alum making headlines for all the wrong reasons. War Machine, who has a long history of legal troubles, has been accused of assaulting girlfriend Christy Mack and another party. He has been released from his Bellator contract, according to a statement from the promotion provided to TMZ, which first reported the incident.

“We have a zero tolerance policy here at Bellator when it relates to any form of domestic violence, and after learning of this latest incident involving (Jon Koppenhaver) War Machine, Bellator is releasing him from his promotional contract with the organization.”

War Machine is wanted by police for the incident, and has been active on social media, posting to Twitter “I can’t believe this…I must be cursed” earlier today.

While these sorts of incidents are prone to happen in all walks of life, for so many to happen in a short time (if you count the Jones/Cormier incidents) tells you that the sport of MMA has a long way to go in cleaning up its image in the eyes of the general public, many of whom still remember John McCain’s “human cockfighting” comments.

Right about now, all the major promotions need to start working on and enforcing codes of conduct beyond that which presently exist, which need to apply not only to fighters, but organizations as well. For example, this sort of misstep should not simply mean that having been released from Bellator, War Machine turns up in the WSOF next week.

That said, I’m all for due process, and none of the allegations in regards to Grispi and War Machine have been proven in court. Both men should be done in the sport of MMA. We’ve had enough black eyes in the sport already.