There has been no love lost between Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen over the years, so most people weren’t surprised to learn that the two hit the boiling point while filming The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3.
The animosity between the two coaches turned to an actual on-set altercation while filming, but the UFC decided to keep footage of the scuffle in the final edit. It aired during the Sunday, April 13, episode on UFC Fight Pass.
Silva approached Sonnen and put his finger in Sonnen’s face telling him how bad he’s going to beat him up when they fight. Sonnen asked if Silva knew the date that they’d get to settle their differences inside the cage. Silva answered, “now,” and got within arm’s reach of Sonnen.
Sonnen shoved Silva, saying, “I can’t let you get close.”
Both coaches put their hands up and Silva threw a right hand. Sonnen quickly ducked under and took the Brazilian to the ground. A melee ensued as the contestants tried to break up the altercation.
Escalating the situation, Silva’s assistant coach Andre Dida jumped into the mix punching Sonnen repeatedly. Sonnen emerged from the pile shirtless with a small laceration on his forehead.
Dida celebrated the fact that he assaulted Sonnen. “I’m taking this home. This is worth gold,” he said with Sonnen’s jersey in hand. “To punch that guy is priceless.”
Dida continued to brag about the fact that he assaulted Sonnen. “His face is all deformed. I landed two good ones,” he said.
Now a couple of months removed from the actual incident, Dida on Monday tried to explain his actions to MMAFighting.com.
“My intention was to separate them, but I saw that Sonnen was trying to punch him, so in my mind I realized I needed to get Sonnen out of there as fast as possible to make him stop punching Wanderlei,” he said. “I would never let Wanderlei Silva in a bad situation in front of me. I punched Sonnen to make him stop, but he didn’t. (The other coaches) tried to get me out of there, but I came back and punched him again.”
Dida has been heavily criticized for sucker punching Sonnen, hitting him in the back and the back of the head while he was scuffling with Silva. Dida, however, said on Monday that he had to do something.
“Many people called me a coward, but that’s not true. I would be a coward if I did nothing. I was watching someone that I admire since I was 13 in a bad situation, so I had to do something. My body told me to punch him to make them stop fighting,” he continued.
“Imagine that you’re in a situation like that. You’re in a supermarket and when you get back, someone in on top of your mother, your brother, your sister. Your instinct tells you to stop him as fast as possible. I did the same thing with Wanderlei Silva as soon as I saw that (Sonnen) was trying to hurt him.”
Dida went on to say that he is still allowed to corner fighters at UFC events as he has in the past, but UFC officials required him to sign an agreement stating that he would never again get involved in the type of situation that took place during the TUF Brazil 3 filming.