The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights participant Darrill Schoonover’s fate has been spelled out for him before the show’s season finale airs. The TUF quarter finalist recently received notice from the United States military that he is to return to active duty soon after the show ends on December 5th.
The 24-year old heavyweight is set to make his official UFC debut at The Palms with a yet to be announced opponent. He explained his situation to Shambala Sports Radio:
“I fight December 5th — I’m not allowed to say who I’m fighting — but I have my fight on the finale, and then after that, I just got orders, got called back in active duty into the Army. I was in the Army for four years, I got out with an honorable discharge, I’ve been out for almost two years now and they just called me back. On the orders it says ‘Operation Enduring Freedom,’ so I’m pretty sure I’m going to Afghanistan. Not 100% yet, but that’s what my orders are telling me… I have four years active, and then I have four years inactive, which means I don’t have to report to anybody, I don’t have to do anything. But if for any reason anything happens in the future, then they can call me back at any time… At first I was kind of pissed. I was just like, ‘Yeah well, I’ve already served my country for four years and I’ve already been out for almost two years. I’m getting my fighting started and getting the ball rolling with all that, and now you’re calling me back.’ At first I was kind of mad, but then the very next day, I just accepted it. I was just like ‘yeah, I gotta go over there and do what I gotta do,’ and then come back in a year and continue working on my fighting.”
If you’ve seen the movie Stop Loss, then you are probably aware of what the situation is. Essentially, Schoonover served his four enlisted years. According to the military contract he signed, he can get called back to active duty at any time for the following four years after his discharge. It’s called “4 years active, 4 years inactive”.
Looks like Darrill Schoonover’s fighting career is on hold for the moment. Though it is an unlikely outcome, this gives an interesting twist to The Ultimate Fighter if he wins the competition. Imagine the winner of the show getting the six figure deal and not being able to follow through with his contractual obligations.
It wouldn’t be the first time a professional athlete has had to put his career on hold for the armed forces. Former professional basketball player David Robinson was the first overall pick in the 1987 NBA draft out of the Naval Academy. His rookie year did not happen until two years later when Robinson’s active duty with the Navy ended. He went on to become one of the 50 greatest NBA players of all time, so, there is still hope for Darrill Schoonover.
Thanks to Erik Fontanez