ESPN: The Tragic Love Story Of Christy Mack And MMA Fighter War Machine

Apr 13, 2015
Christy Mack
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Christy Mack looks at her face sometimes — the new one — and tries to decide if she likes it better than her old one. There are differences.

Her bright eyes used to be slightly more expressive. But the way her muscles healed after the attack, she now needs glasses. “It’s OK,” she says. “They’re cute.”

ESPN: The Tragic Love Story Of Christy Mack And MMA Fighter War Machine

Her mouth has a different shape after so many teeth were broken. She has veneers, but they are uneven, a stopgap measure so she can eat normally. She won’t smile for photos until she gets them fixed again.

“I didn’t look in the mirror for weeks,” Mack says.

She examines her face like it’s not quite her own. Imagine that — the most basic recognition, and it’s gone.

“Just feeling my face, I knew it wasn’t right,” she says. “So when I’d look in the mirror, it’s not me — that person wasn’t me. It’s so hard to go every day without being you anymore.”

Yet, after all the broken bones, a ruptured liver and a thigh bruise so deep that she couldn’t walk for a week, Mack is back to being unmistakably herself in a crew neck blue sweater and jeans. Her subversive sense of humor is fully intact.

It’s a warm day on the cusp of springtime, when living in Las Vegas feels like cheating the misery of winters growing up in a small Midwestern town like Edinburgh, Indiana. Mack lets her pit bulls, Cleopitra and Pitrick Swayzee — see what she did there? — into the warm desert sunshine of the courtyard.

Despite her eventual celebrity, Mack, 23, had a deceptively conventional childhood. She was a cheerleader through her senior year in high school. She worked at the Nike store at the local mall. Of course she can’t say for sure, but Mack thinks she may have been the last person in her high school to lose her virginity.

She married her boyfriend at 18 and took care of their dogs while her husband worked at a car dealership. And if that were where the story ended, Mack’s life would have been completely, boringly normal. But she felt restless, unsettled. So when she was approached about posing nude, she traded the Midwest and marriage for What’s Behind Door No. 3, and went to Miami with her eyes open.

With her unique looks — a curvy frame featuring finely designed tattoos, a long black mohawk and an affinity for her pet snakes — she rocketed to the top of the adult film industry. And there were rewards and a kind of underground fame that she enjoyed.

jonathan Koppenhaver aka War Machine. AP Photo/John Locher

jonathan Koppenhaver aka War Machine. AP Photo/John Locher

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