It appears that “The Peoples’ Champion” Chael Sonnen is still not afraid of fighting in Brazil. Despite numerous death threats over the years, Sonnen claims he would be open to competing in the country he loves to hate.
A previous trip to Brazil to corner Yushin Okami at UFC 134 in his fight against Anderson Silva was cancelled, leading some to believe that the move was made to protect his safety. Not so, says Sonnen, who claims it was actually one of Okami’s sponsors that requested he not attend. They were actually afraid Sonnen’s presence would be distracting (go figure). Instead of going to Brazil, Sonnen stayed home. At the time he told Fightline “It wasn’t my show, I wasn’t part of it. It wasn’t my night. I didn’t want to take attention off Yushin. I truly believed he would win the championship and the last thing I wanted to do was take away from that… those guys and their blow darts don’t scare me.”
Though there are many obvious reasons Chael Sonnen would not like to go to Brazil, he did state that he admires Brazilian fans and wishes American fans were more like them, telling MMA Fighting “I like it. I think Brazil does it right. They support their fellow countrymen. In North American, we don’t support our countrymen. I have people that are American that want to see me lose, and that’s OK, but it’s a little bit odd. In no other country would you turn on your own countryman. I’ll give you a good example. Matt Hughes fought Royce Gracie. That fight took place in Los Angeles and they booed Matt Hughes so loud, and they cheered Royce with all of their might. In no other country would you cheer against your fellow man except North America. I love the American crowd, but it does confuse me. And so I really admire the Brazilians for backing their own.”
This is a very insightful perspective, coming from a former politician and seemingly eternal contender at middleweight. After defeating Shogun Rua in impressive fashion, Chael is now fishing for a heavily hyped fight with Wanderlei Silva. Though there are some complications in this fight, due to Wanderlei demanding pay-per-view money, but it looks like it will soon be set and ready to go. As Chael would say, “keep lining em up, and I’ll keep knocking em down.” Pretty soon we may see one more win for the bad guy.