UFC president Dana White finally found a way to settle the feud between Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen: have them coach opposite each other on season three of The Ultimate Fighter Brasil and then have them fight in the Octagon at season’s end.
That much is a done deal. But it’s not enough for Silva.
“Now it's official, I will be responsible for representing our country, and I will make him pay for what he said about us,” Silva wrote on his Facebook page, but added that he wants to take things a step further.
Despite currently residing in Las Vegas, the former Pride FC champion wants to make TUF Brasil 3 a Brazil vs. USA themed show.
In its first two seasons, TUF Brasil has been comprised of Brazilian fighters and Brazilian coaches, becoming a useful tool for the UFC to scout out fighters from the South American country.
Silva said that he asked White for the country vs. country theme – him heading a team of Brazilians and Sonnen leading a team of Americans – because he didn’t feel that it made sense for Sonnen to coach Brazilian fighters.
Sonnen surely isn’t the most popular figure among Brazilian fans, as he has often made remarks about the country and its people in the lead-up to his fights with Anderson Silva.
“I don't have anything against the Brazilian people. I got something against a Brazilian (Anderson Silva) that's sitting a few feet from me and maybe with a couple of other gentlemen. But your women are all okay with me, so feel free to give me a call or pay me a visit,” he said during a press conference in Brazil promoting his second fight with Anderson Silva.
“But as far as my impression? It's a lot like America. When I was a little kid, I remember going outside and sitting around with my friends. We'd talk about the latest technology and medicine and gaming and American ingenuity. And I would look outside and Anderson and the Brazilian kids are sitting outside playing in the mud.”
So perhaps Wanderlei is on to something.
But Sonnen has coached on The Ultimate Fighter before, opposite Jon Jones during Season 17. Despite his polarizing public persona, Sonnen came off as a dedicated and respected coach, committed to helping his team improve and succeed.
That hasn’t stopped Silva, however, who is recruiting his social media army on Twitter to bombard White with pressure to see it the “Axe Murderer” way and pit Brazilians against Americans on TUF Brasil 3.