Believe it or not, Chael Sonnen’s epic rivalry with Anderson Silva wasn’t his most volatile.
However, due to the Silva saga, Sonnen made no alleys when it came to fighters from Brazil — Wanderlei Silva included. “The American Gangster” began singling out “The Ax-Murderer” on multiple occasions after heading from middleweight to light heavyweight in 2013. The most notable being his callout after defeating Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
Sonnen and Silva went on to be cast as coaches on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil’s third season. As a result, the blood boiled over as expected and UFC.com recently reflected with Sonnen on one specific moment.
“I kept looking at the cameramen and the director, and I was like open the door and let the guys come in,” Sonnen laughed. “This is getting heated. I wasn’t smart enough to understand that yeah that’s what they wanted. They kind of wanted some of those moments. You got to understand from my perspective this is not the first time he put hands on me, so I was very cautious.
“A lot of people will say let the other guy throw the first punch; my dad did not believe in that at all. He said the fight begins as soon as they’re within arms’ reach. There’s a confrontation and they get within arms’ reach, they just started the fight. You don’t have to wait for anything.”
The fight between Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva stunningly never took place inside the Octagon. Injuries and USADA violations on the part of both men postponed the fight on multiple occasions that led to releases and temporary retirements.
It wouldn’t be until 2017 when both fighters had crossed over to Bellator that they would finally settle things. Sonnen would defeat Silva via unanimous decision in Madison Square Garden as Bellator 180’s main event.