Ex-airman loses UFC contract over past assault charges


If you’re a mixed martial arts fan, you may have noticed that Will Chope, a former airman, was pulled from last night’s UFC Fight Night 38 in Natal, Brazil. His UFC contract was also terminated.

SINGAPORE - JANUARY 04: Will Chope reacts after losing to Max Holloway  during their UFC Fight Night Singapore featherweight bout at Marina Bay Sands on January 4, 2014 in Singapore.  (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE – JANUARY 04: Will Chope reacts after losing to Max Holloway during their UFC Fight Night Singapore featherweight bout at Marina Bay Sands on January 4, 2014 in Singapore. (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

Chope (19-6 MMA, 0-1 UFC) was scheduled to fight Diego Brandao (18-9 MMA, 4-2 UFC) televised on Fox Sports 1 until allegations surfaced on Saturday that Chope was kicked out of the Air Force after assaulting his wife on more than one occasion, according to Bleacher Report.

The Air Force court of appeals documents, obtained by Bleacher Report, detail the assault:

“The appellant [Airman Basic William Chope] was stationed at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and lived there with his wife AW, and their infant daughter. The appellant and AW had a tumultuous marriage which caused AW to be unfaithful to the appellant. After learning of her infidelity, the appellant physically assaulted her on multiple occasions. In response, the appellant’s commander imposed nonjudicial punishment on the appellant in July 2009 and again in November 2009 after the appellant assaulted AW on 12 October 2009.”

The next day, Chope’s first sergeant, “Master Sergeant (MSgt) BT,” gave him a no-contact order which stated that Chope was “to have no contact with [AW] directly or indirectly, orally or in writing,” unless he had permission from a supervisor.

“MSgt BT” gave Chope permission to speak to AW only by phone a month later “in order to facilitate some financial issues” involving their daughter.

During the phone call, Chope and AW got into an argument concerning a joint credit card. He then asked AW to pick him up so that he could visit their daughter. After AW had hesitantly agreed but drove “to her government quarters on Andersen Air Force Base” with Chope, the following occurred:

“During the visit, the appellant resumed the argument concerning the credit card. The argument escalated and he told AW that if she did not give him the credit card, he would hurt her. When AW refused, the appellant told her that he had nothing to lose and that he was going back to Florida. He then went to the kitchen, retrieved a paring knife, and threatened AW with it. He grabbed her, slammed her head onto the floor, and hit her on top of her head with both the knife handle and his hand. When AW screamed for help, the appellant took her onto the ground, and used a “pillow or blanket” to silence her screams.”

A military judged sentenced Chope to a bad-conduct discharge and 5 months confinement during a special court-martial on Dec. 22, 2009.

Following the reports, UFC officials released a statement saying, “The UFC does not condone behavior of this nature whatsoever and Chope has been released from his contract.”

Chope later cleared the air on his Facebook page regarding Bleacher Report’s story, but didn’t seem to be aware of his fight cancellation:

“I fight today. But I just want to make a small post about what has been brought up last night. I made some mistakes in my past. The incidents happened 5 years ago and I will live with them for the rest of my life. But I just want everyone to know the articles are being sensationalized right now and me and my ex wife have spoken about this and we would like everyone to know that we are friends now and have moved on and are different people and are just trying to be good parents to our daughter. She also made a post on her personal page she is allowing me to share. I will make a formal address to this issue after the fight, but I hope this is suffice until then.”


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  1. Kudos to the UFC! This should be an example to the NFL, MLB, NHL, etc. If the moniker of ‘Professional’ is associated with sports, there should be standards commensurate with the public image. I feel for Will Chope, but even if he’s friends with his ex-wife *now*, the actions documented could have easily turned really-bad, really-quick; threatening with a knife isn’t trivial. The only consideration that should be made is if he has taken an active public stance against domestic abuse (think Michael Vick style repentance). Simply making a statement that ‘it was in the past’ and shouldn’t be an issue isn’t enough if he’s receiving his support from the public. [Hollywood take notice!].

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