Prior to Team Silva’s Richardson Moreira and Team Sonnen’s Job Kleber stepping on the scales to officially weigh in for their heavyweight elimination round match-up, Silva seemed determined to force an altercation with Sonnen.
Silva is a proud man, and a proud Brazilian. In the lead-up to Sonnen’s two fights with former middleweight champion and Brazilian fighting legend Anderson Silva (no relation to Wanderlei), Sonnen made several comments in various interviews portraying Brazil as a less than civilized society. He insulted the culture and some of its most revered fighters, including Wanderlei.
He offended Silva, and Silva confronted Sonnen about what he saw as crossing-the-line type of promotion. To Silva, the comments were personal. During the third episode’s team selections, Silva demanded that Sonnen apologize to all of Brazil for his statements. Sonnen, of course, refused to do so. Silva then gave Sonnen an ultimatum: Sonnen apologize or Silva would quit the show.
Sonnen never apologized, but cooler heads prevailed and Silva returned to the set. Following the team selections, Silva shoved Sonnnen after Sonnen called him “stupid.”
“He broke any unwritten contract that he has with me when he turned a verbal affair into a physical one,” said Sonnen. “Wanderlei Silva will not get within arm’s reach of me again. And if he does, I’ll assume a fight has started.”
“I know I shouldn’t have done that. But I’m a hothead. I can’t suck it up, sorry,” said Silva about shoving Sonnen during team selections.
Sunday’s episode began with the teams and coaching staffs waiting on Silva to arrive to make the fight selection.
“Wanderlei’s side has control, so he will establish who is going to fight who. We’ve got the whole team here, all of his assistants here and we don’t have Wanderlei,” said Coach Sonnen.
Silva eventually showed up after keeping the teams anxiously waiting. “Ultimately he came in. He looked like he had just woken up. When I stood next to him, he smelled like he was drunk. It seems like he had a long night,” said Sonnen.
Silva said the reason he arrived late was that he had a doctor’s appointment and that traffic was bad. Sonnen wasn’t buying it.
“Wanderlei told the hospital lie and switched to there was traffic. So now we’ve got these two stories. And that’s when we realize, okay, you just weren’t here. And when he got in, he smells like alcohol. I can smell that he’s drunk,” alleged Sonnen. “I can tell you that he looked like he just rolled out of bed and he smelled like alcohol. Aside from that, I don’t know where he was.”
“I don’t even drink. I had a doctor’s appointment. He lies and spreads rumors,” said Silva. “People at home may believe these rumors without knowing the true facts.”
The animosity between the two coaches came to a boil during the weigh-ins. Silva was staring at Sonnen with an ominous expression on his face. “Soon,” he said as he pounded his fist into his other hand. “I can’t wait,” responded the American.
“How do you feel when you say things like that to me when I’ve been challenging you for years,” asked Sonnen. Silva then spat in Sonnen’s direction.
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.” Silva condoned the behavior by giving Dida a high-five.
“We end up on the ground, and I thought I had his arms. I remember thinking, I think I have his arms, but I couldn’t see. And he keeps hitting me. Somehow he keeps hitting me in the head. Vinny (Magalhaes), one of my coaches, tells me that guy was punching you. And he tells me the guy’s name. It never would have crossed my mind that it was a coach,” said Sonnen.
Dida continued to brag about the fact that he assaulted Sonnen. “His face is all deformed. I landed two good ones,” he said.
“We’re at home and we’ll show him how we do things in Brazil. Here, you either respect me or you lose your teeth,” said Silva, confirming some of Sonnen’s stereotypes about Brazilians. Sonnen’s disrespectful words about Brazil were overshadowed by Silva’s actions.
Silva’s animosity toward Sonnen stems from Sonnen’s comments about Brazil, and Sonnen’s open disrespect for the country. But Silva is the coach representing Brazil, and he’s not doing it very well.