Will Chope has today been released from the UFC just hours before he was due to fight Diego Brandao at UFC Fight Night 38 in Brazil after details of a military conviction he received five years ago emerged via the Bleacher Report website.
Military documents revealed that Chope was given five months confinement and a bad conduct discharge from the military in 2009 for assaulting his wife and threatening her with a knife.
Afterwards, Chope became a mixed martial arts fighter and compiled an 18-6 record before joining the UFC last year.
Apparently the UFC were unaware of the skeletons in his closet until the story emerged in the media just a few days ago, and have decided to act upon it.
“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,” a statement from the UFC released today reads. “The UFC does not condone behavior of this nature whatsoever and Chope has been released from his contract.
“Brandao will receive both his show and win money for the bout.”
Chope, who’s only fight in the UFC back in January ended in a TKO loss to Max Holloway, has since released an official statement on his Facebook page.
“My fight has been canceled for a 5 year old mistake I made,” Chope said. “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.”
Meanwhile, the UFC is hoping to give his opponent Brandao another fight as soon as next month and he himself has released a statement in which he expresses sympathy for Chope.
“I feel for Chope,” Brandao told MMAJunkie.com. “I know he worked hard for this moment. I worked hard for this fight, too. But he had a bad moment in his life, and this is the UFC. You can’t make mistakes and expect to stay in the UFC. That’s why I thank God every day that I have this opportunity because I’ve made mistakes, too. But from now on, I’m never going to make those mistakes. I’m only going to learn from the mistakes of others.”