MMA veterans Chael Sonnen, Wanderlei Silva finally will settle differences

Mixed martial arts veterans Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva have been on a collision course for at least four years.

Sonnen insists the timeline goes back much further than when they were in the UFC and featured as opposing coaches on the Brazilian version of “The Ultimate Fighter” and scheduled to fight at the end of a notoriously contentious season.

They finally will settle their differences in the main event of a Bellator MMA pay-per-view card Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York.

“It’s the only fight I’ve wanted for a long time,” Sonnen said on a conference call. “It doesn’t just go back four years. That’s just when I had a signed contract. I’ve been wanting to fight him since back when I was fighting at the dog park in front of my mom and dad and aunt and uncle, and nobody else was there and I was watching him on TV when he was in Pride. I’ve been poking my finger in his chest before anyone else. Wanderlei went through a long stretch of his career where he was the scariest man on the planet and nobody wanted to fight him. I was calling him out before it was fashionable to do so.”

Silva, who will be fighting for the first time since 2013, relishes the challenge. He says Sonnen always has disrespected him, especially during the reality show, and he still carries a grudge.

“He knows what he has done,” Silva said. “He knows I’m right and he’s wrong. He has treated me very badly, and he will pay for it.”

Silva, 40, didn’t show up for a promotional appearance in New York this month. After first saying it was for health reasons, he now says he wanted to avoid a confrontation.

“When I see him, I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Silva said. “I’m a professional, but he has crossed the line with me too many times. When I see him, they better have security in the room.”

Sonnen, 40, didn’t want to get into the history of their dislike for each other, adding that they can settle their feud Saturday.

“Everybody has someone at their job who they would fight if they were allowed to,” Sonnen said. “We just so happen to be in a profession where we don’t like each other and we can go into a cage and punch each other in the face, and we’re going to do that.”

The fight had just as much heat in the UFC. After the reality show had filmed in late 2013, Silva was pulled from their fight in 2014 because of an injury that occurred during an on-set brawl.

Silva then was pulled from the rescheduled date in July 2014 when he evaded a drug test by allegedly fleeing from his Las Vegas gym. Sonnen failed an out-of-competition drug test, and both received lengthy suspensions that led to their departure from the UFC.

Sonnen resurfaced in Bellator MMA this year and was submitted by Tito Ortiz in 2:03 after more than three years out of action. Silva was originally issued a lifetime ban by the Nevada Athletic Commission, but the sanction was reduced to three years after he sought relief in a lawsuit.

The main card airs live on pay per view at 7 p.m. It includes two title bouts and a heavyweight fight between Matt Mitrione and legendary Fedor Emelianenko. A four-fight preliminary card, which features a light heavyweight title bout between Reno native Ryan Bader and champion Phil Davis, airs live on Spike TV at 5.

More MMA: See more of our MMA and UFC coverage online at and @CoveringTheCage on Twitter.

Contact Adam Hill at or 702-277-8028. Follow @adamhilllvrj on Twitter.

Covering The Cage Videos
Covering the Cage: Jones, Nunes win at UFC 232
Amanda Nunes defeats Cyborg in the women's featherweight division and Jon Jones returns to UFC as the light heavyweight champion. Covering the Cage host Heidi Fang and Adam Hill recap the UFC 232 main and co main events.
Las Vegas MMA fighter Joey Ruquet joins Copa Combate tournament
When Combate Americas' Copa Combate tournament takes place on Dec. 7, Las Vegas-based MMA fighter Joey Ruquet will step in for Gaston Reyno and compete for the $100,000 prize money in the 8-man, one night featherweight tournament.
Espino, Chiasson claim UFC contracts with wins at TUF 28 Finale
Juan Espino was crowned as the TUF heavyweight winner when he submitted Justin Frazier at the finale in Las Vegas and Macy Chiasson submitted Pannie Kianzad to become the TUF 28 women's featherweight winner.
Kamaru Usman excited for what's next after TUF 28 win
After taking a win over Rafael dos Anjos at the TUF 28 Finale, UFC welterweight Kamaru Usman says he can be ready for anything that comes next or a quick turnaround if it gets him closer to a title shot.
Dana White on what's next for Usman and the flyweight division
UFC president Dana White spoke with media after the TUF 28 Finale to discuss what's next for the flyweight division and the main event winner, UFC welterweight Kamaru Usman.
Dos Anjos and Usman TUF 28 media day
Rafael dos Anjos and Kamaru Usman talk about facing each other at the TUF 28 Finale at a media day leading up to the Nov. 30 contest. Their welterweight bout will serve as the main event.
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like