It’s kind of a strange legacy that of all the people Chael Sonnen pissed off with his anti-Brazil, pseudo-xenophobic promos surrounding his Anderson Silva fights, the guy who it seems to have left the most lasting impression on isn’t even one he ended up fighting. Well, not officially anyway.
Back in 2011, shortly after Sonnen’s first fight with Anderson Silva, the “American Gangster” got into a van with Wanderlei Silva and Silva took the opportunity to take him to task, on camera, for the way he spoke about Brazil and Brazilian fighters. Since then there’s been a continuous animosity bubbling between the two men (transcript via MMA Fighting).
“He was doing this whole thing and I was like, ‘Wanderlei, this is really weird,’” Sonnen said on a recent episode of the MMA Hour. “‘Because first of all, you’re telling me off, which is a little bit — that’s rude. Second, we’ve spent the whole day together. We’re in a van, man. Are you trying to start a fight with me in a van?’ … And third, you brought the camera man.”
Eventually things boiled over on the Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3, where Sonnen and Silva served as opposing coaches. The two men got into an altercation on the set, one that Sonnen says broke down the script he was trying to build for their fight.
“The script is written,” Sonnen said. “I’m the bad guy. You be the the white knight. You come save your country and we’ll go fight this out on pay per view. This is really obvious. But if you bully me while I’m alone, it’s gonna have the reverse effect.”
Of course, the fight never happened. Both Sonnen and Wanderlei made an inglorious exit from the UFC on the back of PED/testing scandals shortly after the show completed. But now they’re united again under the Bellator banner and scheduled to face off on PPV. As such, Wanderlei took a moment to call in to the MMA Hour and interrupt Chael’s interview to give his thoughts on the upcoming bout.
“I have two balls, he has two balls,” Silva said. “Let’s prove that. … I want to beat you so bad.”
“We are the top fighters in the world,” Silva said. “We’re gonna make the biggest fight in the history. One of the most famous arenas in the world. On that day, Bellator is gonna be bigger than the UFC.”
The interjection left Sonnen a bit dumbstruck, as he told Helwani, “I don’t know what to say.”
Of course, the two men will have a lot more chances to jaw at one another in the coming months. Sonnen vs. Wanderlei is set for Bellator 180 on June 24th. The event will mark Bellator’s second attempt at PPV and is currently scheduled to feature Fedor Emelianenko vs. Matt Mitrione in the co-main event. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news and updates.