The UFC terminated the contract of featherweight Will Chope this weekend, after learning that he was discharged from the Air Force in 2009 for assaulting his wife.
The 23-year-old was scheduled to fight Diego Brandao on Sunday (March 23) during a televised portion of UFC Fight Night from Brazil, but cancelled his bout.
“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 said in a statement. “The UFC does not condone behavior of this nature whatsoever and Chope has been released from his contract.”
The decision comes one day after BleacherReport reported on Chope’s background, which revealed that the military had convicted Chope of assault. Court documents said he threatened his wife with a knife and silenced her cries with a pillow or blanket during an argument about a joint credit card in November 2009.
Chope has a 19-6 MMA record. He made his UFC debut in January, losing to Max Holloway via TKO in the second round.
In a statement, released via Facebook, he apologized. “My fight has been canceled for a 5-year-old mistake I made,” Chope wrote. “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.”