Sonnen and Silva headed to TUF Brazil

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Damon Martin

Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the sport since 2004. His work has been published in CNN, Bleacher Report, MMAWeekly.com, Yahoo! Sports, UFC.com and SportsIllustrated.com. He also co-hosts The Great Debate Radio MMA podcast, and has appeared on ESPN Radio and SportsNet Radio. Follow him on Twitter.


One of the most heated rivalries in UFC history will come to a head during the next season of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil when Chael Sonnen squares off against Wanderlei Silva, first as coaches on the reality show and then as opponents in the Octagon.

UFC President Dana White announced the news during an interview with FOX Sports Live on Monday while being interviewed by Sonnen, who found out the news while speaking to his boss.

"I told everybody we wouldn't release it until sometime late November," White said. "I guess we'll do it here. The coaches of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil are Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen."

"That one's going to piss off a lot of people. It's happening. Then those two will fight. You two will coach The Ultimate Fighter, you will have a ton of security down there with you, and it should be a fun season."

The security part comes in reaction to Sonnen's barbs thrown at the country of Brazil, and he undoubtedly will be an antagonist during the season opposite Silva.

Over the last few months, the simmering disdain between Sonnen and Silva has boiled over into full-blown hatred. The two fighters have launched comments toward each other via social media and interviews.

For the past year, Sonnen has made Silva public enemy No. 1 with a constant barrage of insults and insinuations aimed at the former Pride champion. In response, Silva opted to make a series of bizarre, heavy-metal-themed YouTube videos in his native Portuguese in which he launches into expletive-filled tirades directed toward the self-proclaimed "American Gangster."

Most recently, Silva came after Sonnen in a more public venue when the two fighters appeared at a Mr. Olympia convention in Las Vegas. Silva charged across the arena floor and confronted Sonnen, threatening to rain down violence on the former middleweight title contender while having a camera crew capture the entire ordeal on tape.

While the two fighters both appeared on board to face off, Silva was recovering from a back injury that will keep him out of action until early 2014, so the UFC opted to match Sonnen against Rashad Evans in a fight that will take place at UFC 167 in November.

Once Sonnen is finished with Evans — win, lose or draw — he will face Silva next after a stint as coach on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil.

This will be a second run as coach on The Ultimate Fighter for both competitors. Sonnen coached season 17 against Jon Jones, while Silva participated in the first ever season of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil when he faced off with Vitor Belfort.

The two fighters are expected to begin filming the new Ultimate Fighter in the next few months, presumably after Sonnen finishes his fight with Evans, and then they will head to Brazil to coach the newest crop of fighters looking to make their way to the UFC.

When the season is over, Sonnen will then face Silva inside the Octagon as the two light heavyweights look to settle their differences once and for all.

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