Sonnen blasts Silva’s challenge

Last Saturday while attending the Mr. Olympia competition in Las
Vegas, Chael Sonnen was enjoying his time meeting fans and
attendees, signing autographs and taking pictures like so many
fighters were there to do that day.

Out of nowhere, Sonnen came face to face with his old buddy
Wanderlei Silva
who had come charging across the arena floor like
somebody just stole his wallet
. Silva immediately began yelling
and cursing at Sonnen, who was taken back at first and then reacted
with his own words for the former Pride champion.

All of the action was caught on tape as a matter of fact, and it
wasn’t by accident. As it turns out, Silva’s bull like trot across
the showroom floor was captured by a camera crew that was
specifically following the veteran fighter as he went after
Sonnen.

Hours later Silva released the entire video while also including
his own verbal onslaught aimed at Sonnen in his native Portuguese.
Since the altercation happened on Saturday, Sonnen hasn’t
responded, but he took a few minutes at the start of
UFC
Tonight
on Wednesday to offer his answer to Silva’s
challenge.

“I’m all for Wanderlei having a little fun, good for him let him
have his fun, but Wanderlei three things—first off if you’re
going to do a publicity stunt, do not bring your own camera,”
Sonnen said. “It looks staged, which it was. It insults your
audience. Assume they’re going to connect the dots. Show up
somewhere a camera is and then go into your little routine.”

Sonnen’s advice didn’t stop there because his beef with Silva
goes back much further than this one interaction. The
self-proclaimed ‘American Gangster’ from West Linn, Oregon has
asked to face Silva on numerous occasions, and stated that time and
again the Brazilian has turned down the challenge.

Because Silva could never be bothered to actually accept a
previously offered bout against him, Sonnen isn’t sure he should be
stomping across the floor, staged or not, looking to pick a fight
with him.

“In this country and within this industry if you refuse to fight
a guy like you did me, you forfeit your right to then talk about
that person in this type of fashion,” Sonnen said. “Accosting
somebody in public can be regrettable. Accosting a gangster can be
hazardous.

“Third and finally, Wanderlei if you would like to come right
here on this very set and conduct a conventional and traditional
style interview, we here at UFC Tonight will pay your way.”

Silva’s tactics to get under Sonnen’s skin aren’t working to
land the two of them in a fight together any time soon because
other circumstances are already at play. Silva is currently nursing
injuries that will keep him out of action until the early part of
2014, and Sonnen is matched up against Rashad Evans in the co-main
event of UFC 167.

If the random appearance at his booth to challenge him last
Saturday accomplished anything, Sonnen admits that Silva’s rants
have now taken his mind off of his fight with Evans and that is
definitely a dangerous game to play.

“It is a distraction,” Sonnen said. “I’ve been wanting the fight
with Wanderlei for a couple of years now. The fight has been
offered, the fight has been close. I’ve done everything I can do, I
can’t get Wanderlei to agree. I’ve now got Rashad (Evans), Rashad’s
a very hard fight. I need to keep my eye on the ball but it’s
hard.”

Maybe taking Sonnen’s eye off the prize was the real motivation
for Silva during this entire tirade, but it’s hard to imagine the
UFC won’t eventually put these two in the Octagon together and let
them settle their differences once and for all.