The animosity between The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 coaches Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen came to a head on the most recent episode of the show with the two coaches coming to blows and one of Silva’s assistant coaches attacking Sonnen from behind during the melee.
The friction largely stems from Sonnen’s past comments disparaging former champion Anderson Silva and Brazil. Wanderlei Silva, as a proud Brazilian, let it boil to the point that he confronted Sonnen during filming of the reality series.
Also a proud Brazilian, UFC middleweight contender Vitor Belfort, however, did not condone the actions of Silva and Sonnen on the show. In fact, Belfort said he was “embarrassed” by their actions.
Citing the examples of his childhood sports heroes, Belfort believes that he and other athletes carry a responsibility to be disciplined and respectful in their actions, two things that weren’t implemented to much effect when Silva and Sonnen cames to blows, and Andre Dida pummeled Sonnen from behind.
“The fight between Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen on TUF Brasil embarrassed me,” wrote Belfort in a post to Twitter and Facebook. “First of all because MMA is not a brawl, it’s a fight between two prepared people inside of an octagon. And that is what I do; I don’t brawl, I fight.
“Second of all, there’s no room in a sport like MMA to accept this kind of behavior when the sport itself has clear rules for unsportsmanlike conduct both inside and outside of the octagon.”
Belfort’s objections to the Silva/Sonnen brawl went well beyond the sport though. Beyond how it effects the sport, Belfort also pointed back to setting an example for those that will never set foot in a cage in a sporting atmosphere.
The actions of Silva and Sonnen are a prime example of the bullying that goes on in everyday life, and that is not something that Belfort wants to condone, nor does he expect his peers to condone it, which is what happened when the fight went down with cameras rolling and on display for the world to see.
“Third and most important, MMA should never influence behaviors where a discussion ends up in aggression as if that is an adequate standard,” he said. “Millions of young men and women suffer violence on a regular basis, and television should not promote this kind of behavior as something acceptable, and athletes should resent any violent attitude regardless of any provocation.
“MMA fighters should urgently be aware that their behavior both inside and outside of the octagon may influence millions of people for the good or for the bad. I chose to influence people for the good and that is also the path that MMA chose to trail. Anything aside from that is no longer MMA, it is a brawl and that definitely does not represent me.”