With support from Brazilian fans slipping, Wanderlei Silva calls Chael Sonnen 'racist'
APR 23, 2014 11:00a ET
Chael Sonnen came into The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3 as the villain. Midway through the season, he has somehow become the hero.
Wandereli Silva has apparently lost the support of Brazilian fans. A poll done on the website UOL shows that less than 30 percent of 60,000 fans who voted would root for Silva against Sonnen at UFC 175 on July 5 in Las Vegas. The poll was taken after Silva came off looking bad, inciting a brawl with Sonnen in last week's episode (the season is airing on UFC Fight Pass). Silva's coach Andre Dida punched Sonnen in the head while he was jostling on the ground with Silva.
In an Instagram post this week, Silva struck back against Sonnen, calling him a "racist" in Portuguese (translated by MMA Fighting) and saying Brazilians should be unified against the American. The photo Silva used was of Sonnen talking to reporter Ariel Helwani and the text, translated from English to Portuguese, from the interview.
"If they sell 100,000 tickets I hope they put them in a nice ball, turn them sideways and shove them straight up their a**, that’s what they can do with the Brazilian crowd," Sonnen is quoted as saying.
Silva used that to illustrate that Sonnen is against Brazilians.
"This guy is a racist and he doesn’t deserve our respect," Silva wrote. "I wouldn’t be mad (at him) if I had no reasons to be. This is just one of the things he said about us. Now, if you want to cheer for him be my guest, you deserve my respect," Silva wrote. "I don’t agree with him and I think we should be united this time. We’re stronger together."
Not to be deterred, Sonnen tweeted out the exact same photo of him with Helwani and the Portuguese text below it.
Meanwhile, Sonnen has taken to Twitter to call out Rich Franklin, which has led to rumors that Silva could pull out of the July fight. But UFC president Dana White said the Sonnen-Silva bout is signed and sealed over the weekend as part of a card that features Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida for the middleweight title and Ronda Rousey defending her women's bantamweight title against Alexis Davis.