Is the Rivalry Between Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen Real? Yes… and No

March 10, 2014
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Chael Sonnen vs Wanderlei SilvaThe UFC is relying on a few changes to The Ultimate Fighter Brazil to spice up its third season – adding two female coaches from outside the MMA world that are prominent professional athletes in their chosen sports and the addition of an Octagon Girl contest within the confines of the show – but as everyone knew coming into the show much of the promotional focus is on the coaches: Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen.

Silva and Sonnen have been taking shots at each other outside of the Octagon for years, each trying to goad the other into a fight. The UFC finally put the fight together, taking full advantage of their rivalry to fuel TUF Brazil 3. Silva and Sonnen are heading the teams on the show and then are expected to step into the Octagon opposite one another on May 31 in Brazil.

The question for most fans has been whether or not their rivalry is simply promotional hype or a true bad blood.

Much like the feud between Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock in the past, it appears that it’s a little bit of both. There seem to have been cameras in tow at the most opportune times, such as when Silva chased Sonnen down at the Mr. Olympia festival, and then again when the two exploded into fisticuffs on the set of the show.

There is an element of personal disdain for both men, but each is also taking advantage of opportune moments to build the hype that is so common in sports rivalries these days.

For Silva, however, it may be a little more personal than those who call it a hypefest might believe.

Again, timing it for the full promotional effect following the debut of TUF Brazil 3 on UFC’s Fight Pass on Sunday, Silva released a video that acknowledged some of the hype aspect of their rivalry, pointing primarily at Sonnen’s side of the equation, but personalized his own approach to the rivalry.

Silva says that Sonnen puts on a happy face when the cameras are on him, but then talks smack about Silva behind his back to producers and others. When Silva approached Sonnen about his alleged behind-his-back comments, he said Sonnen told him it was only so-much promotional propaganda.

That doesn’t fly for Silva, who doesn’t take it well when the smack talk starts to get too personal. He is a proud Brazilian, and takes Sonnen’s derogatory comments about Brazil and its people personally, extremely so.

“For me, it doesn’t work this way. But when the cameras would come [on]: ‘Hey, Wanderlei, good morning!’ Then the director would come to shoot the interview and and would say that Sonnen said terrible things about me,” Silva recounted. “Then later, in front of the camera, he would try to be nice. So when the cameras are on, it seems like he is the nice guy and like I am arrogant. That’s not the truth.

“When I came up to him, he said it’s only promotion. To say things and then say it’s only promotion just doesn’t work. The guy makes jokes about homeless children. You use poor children in your jokes to make a few extra bucks? Be a man! I told him never to do that again. It’s not something you can do.”

To be sure, Silva has his head wrapped around the promotional game as well as Sonnen does. The question appears to be more about where each of them draws the line.

And as much as Silva may take Sonnen’s approach personally, it seems to have lit a fire under him, and played well into his own attempts at promotion.

“It made me feel younger to brawl with [Sonnen]. I got a feel for it and I can tell I will destroy him,” said Silva. “The UFC got it right, picking us as coaches. It couldn’t be a bigger rivalry.”

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  • fsunoles10

    wandy isnt gonna do anything, uncle chael is gonna put em on his back and rain down moderately hard punches all night and there isnt a thing wandy can do about it.

    • Liam O’Keefe

      “rain down moderately hard punches” damn thats funny

    • Jason Tracey


    • Eric Pope

      Lmao so true. Brilliant analysis of chael.atleast he punches moderately hard unlike Hendricks when he gets someone downe

    • Wolf Ticket

      Wait, no TRT for Chael this time…

      • fsunoles10

        and? has silva ever showed tdd? looks like you’re over here selling them wolf tickets.

  • james j

    I will watch it for free at a bar. Sorry Dana

  • FhuckCuck

    Silva’s menstrual cycle really will add a new dimension to this rivalry. His oversensitivity about his ex-country; allowing the director to be the whisper in his ear every morning (because real professionals allow their emotions to be dictated by no bodies); we haven’t seen these kind of raw emotions since Ronda mistook “Armenian” for “rascist”, or cheered on Honey Boo-Boo at the local Sketti-Bowl. (Ronda looks like Mama June with liposuction). I mean, Silva says “whore” jokes aren’t funny, yet he openly proclaimed he’d sodomize Chuck Liddell… Ah, Wandy, a walking contradiction of a man.

    • Live and Uncut


    • Ronin

      I’d toss Chael sonnen in there as a contradiction. Guy couldn’t even tell his ass from his elbow.

  • snapdad

    is silva and sonnen’s rivalry real? find out for only $9.99 a month. and for $19.99 a month you get the deluxe package which includes subtitles.

    • Robby Clark

      lol, I’m a member but that hilarious

  • RubeKegal

    And Rousey looks like Honey Boo Boo’s mom with Liposuction.

  • Rence

    So, its good that Chael never said he’d sodomize anyone then huh? I mean if he can’t tell the difference between his elbow and his…you get the idea lol

  • Rence

    Yeah, i think Wandy is way off base here.

    I happen to think whore jokes are funny as hell 🙂

  • Johnny Bigrig

    It’d be so much better for me, as a Sonnen fan, if I could trust Sonnen was going to show up for the fight. In the Rashad fight, and Jon Jones fight, and Silva II, he took a strong shot and just gave up, no heart. He was loudly grimacing like you never hear and calling out in pain like a small child. He did extremely well in the Shogun fight, but you have to wonder if he takes one shot from Wanderlei if he isn’t going to flop down and collect his show purse again.