Fighting hard to redeem himself

Fighting hard to redeem himself
Will Chope, an American mixed martial arts fighter who joined local organisation Rebel FC.

SINGAPORE - American mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Will Chope is a man fighting the ghosts of his past.

Two months ago, in a shock move that sent ripples through the MMA world, he was dropped from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) after it was revealed that he was charged for assaulting his ex-wife five years ago.

Since his expulsion from the world's biggest MMA promotion, the 23-year-old has moved to Asia in a bid to revive his career.

However, he recalled yesterday: "I was like a black sheep and that was the worst feeling. You work so hard to get to the UFC and (then it was) all taken away so fast."

Chope was serving in the United States Army when he was charged in 2009, and was sentenced to a five-year term in a military prison. He was also discharged from service.

After he was dropped in March - on the morning of what was to be his second UFC fight - ex-wife Ashley Woods, 24, came out in support of him and they jointly released a video statement which claimed that a lot of the charges against the fighter were exaggerated.

Today, both Chope and Woods are in different relationships but remain good friends. They also took their five-year-old daughter to Disneyland, after Chope's dismissal.

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