Chope and ex-wife ask UFC to reconsider release

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Last month Bleacher Report reported that Will Chope, who was to have fought Diego Brandao at UFC Fight Night 38, had received a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force, for verbally and physically assaulting his wife on more than one occasion, and threatening her with a knife in November of 2009. Chope was also given five months confinement.

Subsequently, the UFC released Chope from his contract, and canceled the fight with Brandao.

“The UFC does not condone behavior of this nature whatsoever and Chope has been released from his contract,” read the official statement. The UFC paid Brandao both his show money, and his win money. In addition, although he was cut before the fight, Chope also received his show money.

In a joint video with his former wife and current friend Ashley, Chope provides clarification on what happened, and the pair asked the UFC to reconsider. 

“It’s my dream to fight in the UFC,” said Chope. “I want to be the best fighter in the world. I know that’s a long shot, but the only way I’m going to do that is if I’m in the UFC, so I hope they’ll reconsider.”

Chope took issue with B/R article, saying the author did not reach out to either himself or his ex wife, and said the legal documents on which the piece was based were “exaggerated” or not “fully true.”

Ashley concurred.

“We didn't get to see them until after we were in court,” she said. “They were mailed to me. When me and Will were going over our statements and the Air Force document, they were completely different.  It wasn't similar to my testimony, or Will's. It was almost as if the prosecutors and his defendant had kind of meshed both sides of our stories together, but they also seemed to figure out just ‘What will he plead guilty to?’ without even telling him what I testified to. So there was a lot I didn’t know until after I saw the documents. Once I received them, it was already just a done deal, and he had already received his sentence.”

“I was honestly really shocked and surprised that all of this has come up once again. Once I saw the Bleacher Report article and saw all of the comments that people were writing, it was like 'gosh, all of this is coming up again after we have moved past it so long ago.' We're really good friends now, and it just really upsets me that all of this is causing so many issues for Will, at the moment, and I just want us to be able to just let it go and move on.”

Chope said he took the deal offered and did not contest the details, so that he would get five months of jail time, rather than two years.

“Of course I took the deal,” said Chope. “That’s how the court system works. I had to play their game.”

“The journalist, he didn't even bother to contact me, or Ashley, for our opinions or anything. So he was very tabloid and TMZ style, trying to get as many hits as he can. And he got 'em.”

Chope, who has returned to fighting in the Asian MMA circuit still hopes the UFC will change its mind.

“Everybody's thinking that this happened last week, or this happened with my current wife” said Chope. “But no, it was five years ago. I'm 23 this happened when I was 18 years old, you know? It was back in 2009. A lot of things have changed since then. I've moved on. I've changed a lot.” 

“I just want to keep fighting. I just want to provide for my family and be the best man, be the best fighter, I can be.”

“Of course it sucks, but I do accept it. I just wish that the UFC would reconsider.”