Chope terminated by UFC after news of military charges of domestic violence

March 24, 2014

The UFC has let go of featherweight Will Chope when it was discovered that he was dishonorably discharged from the Air Force for domestic violence as indicated in court documents.  His fight at UFC Fight Night 38 was scrapped due to the news.

The news, broken by Bleacher Report, occurred one day before his fight with Diego Brandao after Bleacher Report revealed the details of his legal troubles.  The news broke after weigh-ins as Chope made weight and faced off against Brandao.  So, it’s obvious that the reason for the cancellation and subsequent dismissal was the news of his domestic violence discharge.  The issue here is why didn’t the UFC know of Chope’s background and the fact he had a criminal history.

The court documents from the Air Force deny Chope’s appeal of the severity of his sentence related to assaulting his wife.  The key phrase in the court record that causes you to recoil is Chope, “physically assaulted her [Chope’s then wife] on multiple occasions.” He also “disobeyed an order given to prevent future assaults.”

Chope’s sentence of a “bad-conduct discharge and confinement for 5 months,” was upheld.

The UFC released a statement on Chope:

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 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.

Payout Perspective:

Did the UFC do the right thing?  Certainly there have been other fighters in the UFC with sordid backgrounds and charges of domestic abuse.  But, how did the UFC not know of this issue prior to Sunday’s bout?  Chope debuted with the company in January of this year.  One might imagine that legal documents, especially those in the military, may be hard to obtain.  One would have hoped that the UFC would have done its due diligence especially since Chope indicated he had a criminal charge on his record.

Should the UFC have dismissed Chope?  It’s obvious that he is a PR issue in the UFC especially with the Culinary Union looking for any misstep by the UFC to jump on.  The UFC is trying once again to legalize MMA in NY and opponents believe that the sport is barbaric and Chope’s domestic violence charge would affirm these perceptions.  Moreover, with the UFC expanding to more countries, it is trying to put its best foot forward.  We will see if the UFC will undergo much more of a vetting process after this incident.

For Chope, it’s a hard situation if we believe his regret for the incident and his wanting to move forward from it.  The UFC is the pinnacle of one’s career in MMA and it’s apparent that he will not get a chance to fight for the organization again.

8 Responses to “Chope terminated by UFC after news of military charges of domestic violence”

  1. Diego on March 24th, 2014 2:47 PM

    Too harsh. This is something in his past, that he served his time for, and that he’s move on from. The UFC is doing this for the visuals, but I don’t think it’s fair. I don’t condone what he did, but how long can the guy be made to pay for his mistakes? He got a BCD and 5 months in the brig, which is pretty serious. Now he can never fight in MMA again? Can he someday get a different job, like say become an accountant, or will the accounting firm fire him when they see that years before he was convicted of assaulting his wife?

    Again, I don’t condone what he did. But c’mon. It was years before, and he paid for it. It would be different if he had done this while under contract with the UFC.

  2. saldathief on March 24th, 2014 3:05 PM

    I think the issue is Chope didn’t disclose this information prior to signing his contract.

  3. Diego on March 25th, 2014 7:37 AM

    What was he asked to disclose? I was arrested a few times in my younger days for doing dumb shit, but I don’t bring it up at job interviews.

  4. Jason Cruz on March 25th, 2014 9:29 AM

    @Diego Not sure how its asked in paperwork but you are asked about your criminal history. Its not clear how detailed you are supposed to be.

  5. saldathief on March 25th, 2014 10:45 AM

    When anyone signs a serious business contract all prior legal issues civil and criminal must be disclosed. Its not like working at K mart.

  6. Diego on March 25th, 2014 4:18 PM

    salda, that’s not true. Only certain jobs require disclosure of full criminal records (e.g. financial). Most other jobs only care about felonies – and there is no requirement to disclose if not asked.

    I don’t work at K-Mart (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and I’ve only ever had two employers ask for detailed records – one was a a Wall Street firm, the other was the US government for a security clearance. I’ve had others ask about felonies, but even that’s not 100% of the time.

    It sounds like Chope’s crime was a misdemeanor in which case depending on the wording of the UFC contract he may not have had to disclose the details.

  7. saldathief on March 25th, 2014 10:36 PM

    I’m talking about a job, I’m talking about a serious business contract. Look up what the difference is.

  8. Diego on April 1st, 2014 12:18 PM

    You’re wrong there too then. Look it up. It varies from contract to contract.

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