UFC Fight Night 38's Diego Brando vs. Will Chope featherweight fight has been canceled just hours before the event.
The decision to cancel the fight, which was first reported by Ivan Raupp of Globo.com, came after a Bleacher Report story on Saturday night revealed disturbing details about Chope's past. According to an Air Force Court of Appeals document, brought to light by Bleacher Report writer Jeremy Botter, Chope was discharged from the Air Force after repeatedly verbally and physically assaulting his now ex-wife in 2009. As a result, Chope was given a sentence of five months confinement and a bad conduct discharge.
Not only was the fight canceled following the report, but according to Globo.com, Chope has also been released from the promotion, which the UFC confirmed Sunday morning. The organization also announced that Brandao will receive his show and win money.
"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 promotion stated in a press release. "The UFC does not condone behavior of this nature whatsoever and Chope has been released from his contract."
Prior to the UFC's decision, Chope posted this message on his Facebook page:
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.
He then posted this message after learning his fight had been canceled:
My fight has been canceled for a 5 year old mistake I made. 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.
The 23-year-old lost his UFC debut in January, which snapped a 14-fight winning streak outside the organization.
As a result, UFN 38 will proceed with 11 fights. No word just yet which fight will replace Brandao vs. Chope on the FOX Sports 1 prelims.