If anyone thought that Chael Sonnen’s coaching stint opposite rival Wanderlei Silva on Season 3 of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil would roll on peacefully, it appears they were wrong.
From what I have heard, the first day of filming was absolute insanity. Basically, it’s so crazy down there that the guys that are coaching on Chael’s team are scared to be there. That’s how insane it is inside that gym.
MMA fans are familiar by now with Sonnen’s history of insulting the nation of Brazil. It began when he and Anderson Silva were preparing for their first fight at UFC 117, and it continued again prior to their rematch at UFC 148.
When Wanderlei Silva took exception to Sonnen’s words, he responded by including “The Axe Murderer” among his list of Brazilian targets, which is esteemed company. The likes of Anderson Silva and the Nogueira brothers have been recipients of Sonnen’s jibes and jovial ridicule.
But unlike previous fighters, Wanderlei has not taken the barbs quietly. He confronted Sonnen at the Mr. Olympia Expo in 2013, and they almost came to blows.
When it was announced that Sonnen would be coaching opposite Wanderlei in Brazil, the anticipation was that the bad blood between the two men might be much ado about very little until they met in the cage. During filming of Season 17 of TUF, Sonnen showed professionalism that was in direct contrast to the man we had seen go so low in order to hype a fight.
He was cordial and shockingly unbiased and proved to be an excellent coach who was more than happy to put his fighters first. He had spent a good deal of time blasting Jon Jones over the UFC 151 fiasco, but during filming, that version of Sonnen was nowhere to be found.
Clearly, traveling to Brazil and training with fighters who are natives to the land that he slandered is a much different and harder-to-tame beast.
“I think this season is going to be explosive and crazy,” said White. “From what I’m hearing, the things that went down, Wanderlei is 100-percent being Wanderlei and Chael is being Chael.”
Batten down the hatches, ladies and gentlemen, because West Linn, Oregon is a long way from Brazil.