Wandy, Sonnen ignite wild altercation
The simmering tension between Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen boiled over Saturday, as “The Axe Murderer” Silva confronted the former middleweight and light heavyweight title challenger Sonnen at the Olympia Fitness and Performance Expo in Las Vegas.
Warning: Some strong language
Silva has been the target of numerous taunts from the verbose “American Gangster,” beginning after Sonnen’s loss to Jon Jones in March. Since then, the UFC Tonight host has continued to take verbal jabs at the Brazilian legend. Despite the obvious heat between the two, a bout between Silva and Sonnen never has materialized.
Sonnen has said the UFC offered the fight to Silva, but the 37-year-old former Pride standout repeatedly turned down the opportunity. In the interim, Sonnen returned to action in August, earning a first-round submission win over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, and is currently signed on to fight fellow UFC analyst Rashad Evans in the co-main event of UFC 167 in November.
Saturday, video surfaced of Silva charging through the crowd and getting into Sonnen’s face while the 36-year-old was doing a signing. Tons of shouting and finger wagging took place, though the two were kept separated.
Later in the day, Silva posted a much clearer version of the altercation on YouTube as part of a message to Sonnen. In the video, Silva calls Sonnen “fearful,” saying he didn’t turn Saturday’s altercation into a physical affair because “[he’s] a professional, and [he doesn’t] fight in the street.”
The clearly fired up, wildly popular fighter goes on to say that the beating he gives Sonnen will be “my gift to the people,” repeatedly calling Sonnen a “coward” and a “loser,” saying that he saw fear in the 29-13-1 fighter’s eyes.
The timing of Silva’s video message is curious, as Sonnen already has a fight lined up, one that the UFC is unlikely to change in order to put these two together on relatively short notice. That means the earliest we could see a potential showdown between these two is once Sonnen is ready to return following his bout with Evans.
It will be interesting to see what Sonnen has to say about the incident. Be sure to tune in to "UFC Tonight" on Wednesday to hear “The American Gangster’s” response.