By Felix Rodriguez, Staff Writer
Could Tweet be the Reason he was taken off the card?
Paragon’s Bill Cooper is a fun loving, colorful character who also happens to be a high-level competitor. He was most recently pegged to fight Ryan Hall in Ralek Gracie’s second installment of Metamoris Pro. The Cooper vs. Hall match-up was an exciting one that members of the BJJ community were sad to see scratched when Hall was forced to bow out of Metamoris II. Victor Estima of Gracie Barra was then to step in for Ryan against Cooper until it was announced today that Keenan Cornelius would step in as Cooper’s replacement.
Metamoris made this post on their Facebook account on June 3rd:
“Bill Cooper has been cut from the Metamoris Pro Jiu Jitsu Invitational II card for failing to complete pre-competition requirements and for conduct unbefitting a Metamoris competitor. We expect our athletes to comport themselves in a professional manner both on and off the mat. Despite Cooper’s unquestionable ability as a competitor, we had to part ways.
Stepping in for Cooper on June 9th, and taking on Victor Estima, is Keenan Cornelius. We are honored to have Cornelius take part in the card. He is the only man in history to score a Jiu Jitsu Grand Slam by taking double gold, winning his weight division and the absolute, at the Brazilian Nationals, the European Open, the Pan-Ams, and the Worlds, in a single year. We look forward to providing Cornelius with a new platform on which he can showcase his consummate skill.”
Although the Estima vs. Cornelius seems a lock to be another crowd pleaser, the reasons as to why Cooper was removed from the card remain a mystery. We are only speculating, but the conduct Metamoris made reference to could be related to his re-tweeting a derogatory joke through BillCooperBjj that first appeared the twitter account of “Manly Asshole.” The tweet in question said “My favorite Winnie the Pooh character” and linked to an Africanized version of Pigglet called “Nigglet.”
Again, we are only speculating at this time, but it is to be expected that Ralek Gracie and the people behind Metamoris would seek to distance themselves from any fighter who endorses behaviors that condone or seem to support racism in any way. Bill Cooper is an excellent athlete and has never exhibited any sort of derogatory behavior towards other groups in the past. This, in the most likely of cases, seems to be a bad decision, made by an athlete who had not realized the consequences of his use of social media. If the reason for his removal is indeed the re-tweet of the Pigglet joke then this is the second time in as many months that a high-profile fighter is disciplined for making controversial statements on Twitter. Nate Diaz was suspended indefinitely for using a gay slur when referring to Brian Caraway in a past tweet as well.