One FC, the Asian fight promotion now home to American grappling superstars like Garry Tonon and Demetrious Johnson, is not super into freedom of speech. The organization came under fire this week for threatening legal action against UFC veteran and MMA fighter Will “The Kill” Chope over a Facebook post protesting One’s stated intent to begin testing fighters for PEDs.
Chope, a purple belt whose professional fight career has taken him around the world and produced a record of 36-15 before age 30, took to the social medias early this week to break down what he sees as disingenuous tomfoolery surrounding One’s recent announcement it will be using WADA-type labs (yes, WADA “standard” labs but not actual WADA labs) to begin testing its competitors for steroids. That post caught the eye of Bloody Elbow, which reposted Chope’s complaint for a larger audience:
“Supposedly they will be doing tests according to WADA standards. That doesn’t mean WADA is doing them…It means their own officials will be doing the tests. Just like ONE hires their own refs, and judges for their shows…..It’s bullshit and biased. If ONE wants to ever get to the level of the UFC then they need a 3rd party to sanction their tests and shows….. But I doubt that will ever happen. ONE has an agenda. And as long as they are sanctioning themselves they can favor gyms and fighters.”
“I’m going to drop some inside knowledge and tell you the urine tests get sent to a lab in Taiwan. The doctor who tests these is a paid doctor that’s been working with ONE for years. Everyone knows ONE athletes are juiced. But this style of testing will allow ONE to hide results of guys they don’t want to be dirty and to throw guys that they don’t care about that are dirty under the bus. You can’t self-regulate privately and be non-biased and if you do self regulate it has to be public…….which it’s not! #F—kONE!”– Will Chope, Facebook
Now, if you’re a Joe Rogan fan or watched the doc Icarus you’re already aware what Chope says is pretty much, um, standard practice for professional sports from regional biking all the way up to the Olympics, and has been for decades. Athletes juice, entire governments buy labs off to cover up said juicing, juiced athletes deliver spectacular performances which sell tickets and drum up nationalism (also cash), and every few years or so some sacrificial lambs get thrown to the wolves and stripped of their medals/belts to keep the Puritans docile. The great world spins on with generally very few consequences. The practice is such common knowledge that even Chatri Sityodtong, One’s head honcho and “Uncle Dana” figure, even admitted Chope was mostly correct in his own Facebook followup to the accusations:
Which is where the story could have ended, had One not sent this letter to Chope shortly thereafter:
The letter was allegedly preceeded by several private messages from One employees encouraging Chope to take his post down.
So much for the beef-free menu.
Chope told Bloody Elbow after consulting with lawyers that he had no choice but to take the original post down, citing the fickleness of Thai defamation laws as the deciding factor.
“I was just pointing things out that I thought was weird,” Chope also told Bloody Elbow. “Like I said, I don’t actually even care about steroids. I know it’s kind of rampant in Asian MMA, but my problem is just with the transparency of the organization.”
At age 28, Chope still has a lot of mileage left in him as a fighter and little to gain by getting into it with a multimillion dollar organization with an entire legal department to do its letter writing.
None of this is even remotely as exciting as the whole “@BJJ_STEROIDS Trolls IBJJF Worlds” thing was, but considering One is now actively courting accomplished grapplers and crossover fighters, it’s relevant. And more than a little childish for One. Threatening to sue a fighter across multiple continents for stating concerns anyone not living under a rock would have? That’s a white belt level move, y’all. Maybe the money spent drafting that letter could have been spent buying space for urine at an actual WADA lab instead.