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ONE Championship threatens UFC vet with legal action for drug testing comments

ONE Championship threatened legal action against UFC veteran Will Chope.

Will Chope Anton Tabuena

Will Chope, a UFC veteran who has been living and fighting in Asia for almost a decade, recently took to social media to react to an article about ONE Championship’s PED policies. The said column had the Asian promotion claiming they’ll commence drug testing in 2019 “through WADA,” and Chope decided to share his opinion about possible conflicts of interest and lack of transparency.

His original facebook post is as follows:

If you read the article, you’ll realize the title is bullshit.

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!

Chatri Sityodtong, who is the head of both ONE Championship and one of the promotion’s prominent teams in Evolve MMA, publicly responded shortly after. He complimented Chope, stated that he agrees with “most” of what was said, and noted that he doesn’t want “beef” with him.

While Sityodtong sent a seemingly good natured public response, his company had a completely different stance in private. On the early hours of Wednesday, ONE Championship sent Chope a memo threatening legal action for his statements.

They asked the American fighter to delete his facebook post, calling it “defamation” and “serious libel,” before threatening him with “legal proceedings” in “various jurisdictions including but not limited to Singapore, Thailand, and the United States of America.”

Prior to receiving the letter, Chope shared that he received private messages from multiple people employed by ONE “recommending” that he delete his post.

“I don’t think I did anything wrong. I was just pointing things out that I thought was weird,” Chope 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.”

Related: An in-depth look at ONE Championship’s finances, losses

After taking some time to consult with his lawyer, Chope eventually decided to take down his post to avoid legal issues for him and his family in Thailand.

“We don’t believe I can be sued under the US law, but in Thailand, the defamation laws are fickle,” he said. “Not worth the risk to leave the post up.”

Chope has compiled a 38-15 record in MMA, and has a reputation for being incredibly active in Asia. At just 28-years-old, he already has well over a hundred professional fights throughout various combat sports. His lone UFC fight was a 2014 loss to current featherweight champion Max Holloway.