If there's one thing that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) needs to improve upon, it's checking the history of its fighters. The Las Vegas-based promotion does so many things correctly, but unfortunately, a simple background check more often than not just isn't done.
It's how the promotion signed a fighter such as Benjamin Brinsa, who was later released after it came out that he had ties to a Neo-Nazi soccer firm. It's how Strikeforce signed and promoted a fighter such as Brandon Sailing, who had Neo-Nazi tattoos on his chest.
The latest is Will Chope, who fights Diego Brandao at UFC Fight Night: "Shogun vs. Henderson 2" tomorrow night (March 23, 2014) on FOX Sports 1.
Chope is a former Airman in the United States Air Force. "Former" is the qualifier as he was relieved of duty in 2011 on a bad-conduct discharge while serving on the Anderson Air Force Base in Guam with his ex-wife and infant daughter.
According to a report obtained by Bleacher Report, Chope and his wife had a "tumultuous" marriage that caused her to be unfaithful. When he found out, he physically assaulted her on numerous 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 following day, the appellant's first sergeant, Master Sergeant (MSgt) BT gave the appellant a no-contact order which stated that the appellant was "to have no contact with [AW] directly or indirectly, orally or in writing," unless he had permission from a supervisor. On 12 November 2009, MSgt BT gave the appellant permission to speak to AW only by phone "in order to facilitate some financial issues" involving their daughter.
During that phone call, Chope and his wife got into an argument about a shared credit card. He asked his wife to pick him up so that he could see his daughter, which she agreed to do. At that time, Chope continued the argument regarding the credit card.
The report states that Chope threatened to hurt her if she did not give him the credit card. When she refused, he stated he had nothing to lose and was returning to Florida. It's then that the story takes an extremely cruel and violent turn.
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.
Chope attempted to appeal the court's decision, stating that he and his wife were divorced and he wouldn't be acting out in the future; however, the court didn't find his sentence to be inappropriately severe.
MMAmania.com has reached out to UFC for an official comment regarding Will Chope and will update the story as more informant becomes available.