UFC Fight Night 38 Bout Cancelled After Will Chope’s Past Costs Him His Job

March 23, 2014
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Will Chope

Following the revelation of being discharged from the military for assaulting his wife and threatening her with a weapon, Will Chope has been removed from Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 38 card and his contract with the organization has been terminated, UFC officials confirmed to MMAWeekly.com.

A Saturday report from Bleacher Report cited Air Force Court of Appeals documents that revealed Chope in 2009 assaulted his wife a number of times, as well as threatened her with a knife at one point. As a result of his actions, Chope received five months of confinement and was discharged from the Air Force for bad conduct.

“Tonight’s featherweight bout between Will Chope and Diego Brandao has been canceled after UFC officials were made aware of Chope’s previous military conviction,” the organization said in a statement to MMAWeekly.com. “The UFC does not condone behavior of this nature whatsoever and Chope has been released from his contract.”

According to the documents, Chope assaulted his now-ex-wife upon learning of her infidelities. Chope was then given a nonjudicial punishment by his unit commander at that time, and was instructed not to contact his wife unless given military permission.

After receiving permission from his Master Sergeant to speak with his wife about finances, Chope assaulted her and struck her over the head with the knife handle and his hand, according to the documents.

Chope has since made a statement on his Facebook page wherein he apologized after learning of his removal from Sunday’s UFC card.

“My fight has been canceled for a 5 year old mistake I made,” Chope wrote. “I am truly sorry to all the fans and will do everything I can to make this right. I have spoken with my ex-wife on the phone and she supports what I am doing and together we will make a formal press release as soon as I get back to the USA on Wednesday.”

With Chope’s removal from the card, his opponent, Brandao, will receive both his show and win money.

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  • Corey Hutton

    And the UFC continues to show how pathetic they are, gotta love a fascist regime.

  • TheCerealKiller

    I don’t agree with this at all. How do you keep punishing someone for something he did five years ago? If he’s been clear for the past five years, then he learned his lesson.

  • jeremymma

    Haha his opponent theartend to stab someone the last time he fought and weighed in over weight what a joke. Diego brando should have been canned

  • tipsyhippy

    easy pay day for brandao!

  • Grisscoat

    The only thing I can think of is that Chope didn’t disclose this information when asked during UFC contract signing process, which might invalidate his contract. Sometimes it’s not the lie that gets you, it’s the cover-up.

    • David Harris

      I think you’ve nailed it! The UFC’s statement states “…..after UFC officials were made aware”. A conviction of this nature (even regardless of the added aggravating factor of the weapon) is a PR nightmare they neither want nor need (doubt he’d have been signed if they’d known beforehand)

  • Lama

    He already set in jail.he paid the prize.why are they punishing him again?there are plenty of people in the ufc who did drugs and some sold them like Matt brown Melvin guilard and more.
    Alex Gustafson spend time in prison as well will they release him ?

  • Seth

    I’m long time UFC supporter, but that case…come on, its like that TUF Nation kid – wasn’t he already punished for it? :/ Now he and his family’s living is in danger? That’s just wrong and cruel…

  • f*ing dumb

    This kind of crap pisses me off. Dana wants to play government and enforce morality…. lame lame lame

  • Shakir Hanifa

    Dana!! you make me support Bellator now. This is some f–ked up bulls–t. Cmon bro!! Deigo Brando is a worse guy than Chope.

    • King_DG

      he’s a worse guy than Chope? what a dumb statement to make. When was the last time you heard Diego Brandao assault a woman with a knife?

      • Seth

        When was the last time you heard Chope on TV threatning someone to stab him? Because that’s what Brandao did to his last opp.

        • King_DG

          so threatening to stab someone is worse than actually assaulting someone with a knife? a woman for that matter. give your head a shake buddy.

          • Seth

            So, mentally unstable fighter who is threatening life of other fighters on live TV can stay in company, but someone who made mistake and already PAID for it, can’t? Your head needs shake too.

          • King_DG

            on live TV? it was backstage before weigh ins. Fighters talk tough all the time, fighters say they’re gonna do this or that. Anderson SIlva told Chael Sonnen he was going to break all his teeth, so by your standards, he should be kicked out for saying that too right? WIll Chop actually assaulted his ex-wife, with a knife. I never said Diego is a better person or he should stay with the company, but at least he didn’t assault his wife with a knife. There is a huge difference between threatening to stab someone and actually assaulting someone with a knife, get it?

          • Seth

            You don’t get my point. You are quick to judge someone who did something bad a few years ago, was punished for it and now all of the sudden, he losses his job, but someone unstable who did something bad too and got away with it “because fighters always talk tough” isn’t a problem. Why are you bashing Chope, since he paid for what he did already? I guess you bashed that TUF Nation kid too. UFC acts pathetic, punishing their fighters for their past, for which they already paid.

          • MuayThaiFood

            Welcome to the real world. You think the UFC is the only employer who does this? What do you think a background check is for? There are often consequences beyond criminal penalties that can follow you around for life if you make bad choices. If I am caught at work with alcohol or marijuana in my system I’ll lose my job and may not be able to be licensed in the industry again… EVER, depending on the circumstances. I may or may not receive any criminal penalties but I know that the loss of my career could be my penalty. Something to think about BEFORE you do something stupid.

          • Seth

            But 5 years its too big delay. Lets see what Jones did in primary school. Maybe he hit a female teacher there so we should fire him and bash him. It’s not like Cope did that week or two ago. They should do Background Check during signing a fighter, like they did with that German guy. Not 5-6 years after

          • MuayThaiFood

            Well if you want to hire a child molester to tutor you kids because he was convicted 20 years prior and hasn’t been caught since then you are more than welcome. If the UFC or any other employer doesn’t want to take a risk hiring a person who assaulted their spouse with a knife 5 years prior then they are within their right too, simple as that.

  • Darin

    This dude had a fight with his wife FIVE years ago, so he gets banned from the UFC for life? If he is being canned for not revealing his past conviction to the UFC, I can understand that but the UFC needs to be very clear about why he is being terminated and not just say “The UFC does not condone behavior of this nature”.

  • diazfan209

    It’s just my opinion, but anyone who’s ever assaulted a female is a piece of s#^t for life.

    • TheCerealKiller

      I totally agree, but he has the right to earn a living. Ray Lewis, Michael Vick…

      • Rence

        Sure he does, but the UFC has the right to choose to not have him representing their company as well.

        How many job applications have you ever filled out that ask if you have ever been convicted of a felony? I’d guess many. It’s not impossible for a felon to find a job but it is a challenge. I have a good friend who did a nickle almost 20 years ago and is still paying for it in that regard. I hired him and trained him as a salesman and after i had to close my business, since he finally had sales experience, he was finally able to find a job that wasnt working construction for crap pay. But it took someone willing to give him a chance before he could get that experience he needed to find a better job.

        So yeah, i agree he has a right to make a living, but he wouldnt be the only guy out there, with or without convictions, thats had to take a crap job that was not in their field just to pay the rent. Even guys with masters degrees end up doing jobs not in their field just to get by in this job market.

      • Rence

        Also, Michael Vick is going to be a piece of crap the rest of his life.

        Just my opinion of course

    • MikeMcK

      I may be wrong, but since most seem to not be aware ill mention this….

      I think you would be stunned at how many men “hit” women in this country. (Others are even far worse)
      It’s very taboo in this society to “hit women” however it’s staggering how many that do. The vast amount happen behind close doors, and occur for various reasons. It’s fine to call those men scum, but just realize that when you walk down a street you’ll come across more “pieces of $hit” than you will not.

      One point to take note of is that the law doesn’t get involved statistically until things have usually gotten really bad. So the guys who get popped for it generally have a serious problem.

      • Rence

        You may be right, it may be far more common than we know of. But all that means is that there are a lot more guys that fall into the “POS” category than we know of. A bad thing happening a lot does nothing to make it any less bad. If anything, it makes it worse.

        I blame parents. If Chris Brown’s momma had smacked him around the first time he said anything disrespectful towards a woman, Rhianna’s face might not have looked like she just got out of a cage fight.

  • Bugster

    His opponent threaten to stab a employee in his company and on Cable TV show, nothing happens.

  • Sam

    I’m surprised at the amount of people who ‘support’ Chope/dislike the decision of the UFC. He assaulted his wife repeatedly and at least once with a deadly weapon. They have a child together and what he did was completely unacceptable. I agree with some of the comments here, he should not be punished forever but that is really different from being a role model. The UFC wants to legitimize itself as an organization and prove itself as a place not full of uncivilized thugs. A representative of the organization shouldn’t have a violent past and this is pretty standard in other sporting organizations as well. Props to the UFC for sticking to their guns.

    • DamianCross

      I don’t disagree with the release, but Anthony Rumble Johnson had domestic abuse conviction too and he’s still there.

      • Rence

        Well said Sam, i agree. Damian, was Rumbles conviction tied to assault with a weapon? (i honestly don’t know, not being facetious here) The other thing is that the UFC is big on supporting the troops and organizations that work with vets, having a guy on the roster with a bad conduct discharge tied to his assault with a weapon domestic violence charges is just not the message i would guess the UFC wants to send. Im speculating of course but that makes sense to me, and as a fan, and former soldier i support their choice in this matter. (not that my support or lack thereof matters two drops of rat urine to the UFC but still…)

    • MikeMcK

      I’m not sure what other sporting agencies you’re citing but all of the big 3 all have had guys with records with crimes legally considered to be worse. Nfl, nba, mlb.

  • jpgagne

    I do not want to defend someone who punched his wife with the back of a knife, but that story been known for 5 years now, I wonder how professional is the UFC when signing these guys. If They have a Zero tolerance policy towards such felony (it actually ain’t, I think you call it misdemeanor or something), then don’t sign the guy, hoping this thing won’t surface before the fight.

    • MikeMcK

      What exactly consist of a felony or misdemeanor changes state to state. It’s also what ever the DA wants to charge. Most cases are pleaded out so they rarely fit the crime anyhow.
      However, this guy went through a military court. I believe they use different phrases. I don’t believe they call anything a felony. This guy may have been trying to play that game if he was asked like most applications “have you been convicted of a felony.”

      However, I believe they say that a court martial is suppose to be considered a felony in civilian life if the crimes max sentence is longer than 1 year. (Not what you served, but what you could have.)
      I don’t know his max possiable sentence. That’s things for journalist. ;)

      I could be wrong on some of that. I know more than most about civilian law, but I also know enough about military law to know its a different animal.

      • Rence

        You are correct, the UCMJ is a different animal (Uniform code of military justice)

        The article says he was given “non-judicial punishment” (article 15 for miltary folk) Which means it was never a court martial. It was handled entirely by his commander. The key to this, other than it being a domestic violence charge, is that he got a bad conduct discharge. (very similar to a dishonorable discharge, though while viewed the same outside, is not ‘quite’ as severe)

        The key to it being enough to cost him his job i think is that it was due to domestic violence. Chances are he’d have kept his job even with the bad conduct discharge if he’d done something else, but domestic violence charges, even when not classed as felonies, tend to carry a lot of side effects. (You cannot possess a firearm for example, which means that if he had tried to get a job as a cop he’d have not been able to unless it was a desk job that didnt require carrying a gun. Even the military will not allow you to carry a weapon if you have a DV charge on your record. Since there are no military jobs other than chaplain (maybe some medical jobs, not sure, i know our medics carried sidearms) that are not required to carry, or even allow for you to not carry, a DV charge is essentially the end of your military career.

        Some have said that you should be allowed to redeem yourself, and in many cases i agree…but at the same time, he’s an adult and actions have consequences.

  • fsunoles10

    you have to give people a chance to right their wrongs, you would figure if this is such a big deal to the ufc they would do background searches before they associate their name with a fighter but apparently they dont think that far ahead.

  • Vincent Shapiro

    Dana, go fk yourself. You are a hypocritical scumbag. You are dog sht, Dana.

  • MuayThaiFood

    Amazed at how many boneheads are supporting this guy in the comments. He’s got the equivalent of a felony conviction. He’d be lucky to get an interview, let alone a job, at Chucky Cheese. How fitting would it be to put on a “Fight For The Troops” event and have this turd there making more money than the guys away from their loved ones serving their country?

  • Love_is_Power

    Bellator rules.. UFC is so political.. it’s fighting.. men, in a cage fighting almost bareknuckle. you think they’re all well adjusted?