Twitter followers of former middleweight contender Chael Sonnen have noticed a running theme of late; that his next opponent and The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3 rival coach, Wanderlei Silva, is refusing to sign on to fight him. Well...apparently that isn't just Chael Sonnen being Chael Sonnen.
Speaking with the media, UFC President Dana White said that, indeed, contracts are yet to be signed. "Not done yet," he said."I've got to get that done." While White didn't give exact reasons as to why things have yet to be finalized, the entire Sonnen-Wanderlei saga has been convoluted from the very beginning.
Before the two light heavyweights were paired for The Ultimate Fighter, a potential 2013 fight between the two wound up falling through when Silva, at least according to White (who is known to demean fighters who pursue market value), put forward unreasonably high demands at the bargaining table. Sonnen would go on to instead fight Rashad Evans, who defeated him via first-round knockout.
Though, logically, a fight between Sonnen and Silva should be a certainty given their coaching stint on TUF: Brazil 3, the details of the bout have been a point of contention:
@wandfc Hey Stupid, I decide where we fight and your hometown, Las Vegas, is OUT. Stay tuned for details.— chael sonnen (@sonnench) February 6, 2014
If you wanna dance you gotta pay the band. If you wanna sing you gotta be the man.Cant retire this hack Until he signs the contract. #sign— chael sonnen (@sonnench) February 25, 2014
The bout was slated to go down at UFC 173 on May 24 (headlined by Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida), but has since been rescheduled to headline a UFC Fight Night card on Fox Sports 1 on May 31.
That said, the UFC apparently may need to look for a plan B. Sonnen has been actively seeking other fights, most notably calling out Daniel "DC" Cormier, who was left without an opponent after Rashad Evans suffered a knee injury that forced him out of UFC 170. The UFC passed on Sonnen's offer, though, and instead matched Cormier with Patrick Cummins.
Still, while the reasons are unknown outside the UFC's corporate offices, it's very possible the bout may be in jeopardy, at least for the May 31 date. Stick with Bleacher Report for more details as they become available.