Chael Sonnen has wanted to fight Wanderlei Silva for 20 years.
“I started in 1997 and Wanderlei was on the big stage already back then,” said Sonnen to Duane Finley for FloCombat. “I was in college and dreaming of being a main event or champion fighter and this guy was already there.”
The UFC matched the pair as opposing coaches on TUF Brazil 3 in 2013, but the bout fell apart when Silva refused to be PED tested and was replaced with Vitor Belfort. Then Sonnen failed a PED test.
Eventually, Silva was released by the UFC and signed with Bellator MMA. Sonnen too last year signed with Bellator MMA, likewise not having fought since 2013. He lost his league debut to Tito Ortiz in January. Somehow, Sonnen and Silva have ended up as the main event of Bellator 180 on June 24 at Madison Square Garden. This is only the second PPV that Bellator has attempted and the first under president Scott Coker.
Sonnen is one of the great trash talkers in combat sports history, and because reality is too frequently boring, some things Sonnen says aren’t true. Was Sonnen mean mugging Silva in the late 90s as claimed? Maybe maybe not but definitely it’s a decent storyline.
Sonnen had something else to say and this one may actually be real – will Wand show?
“I’m not positive [Silva] is coming,” said Sonnen. “I will be there. I gave my word and will be there no matter what happens, but I don’t know about him. In baseball you have the three strike rule, and he already has two strikes against him. We had a press conference and he skipped it. We did another press conference and he skipped that as well. The only thing left is the fight.
“I don’t even know where this guy is or what is going on with him. He could be down in Brazil. I know he’s not in Las Vegas where I could keep tabs on him because it’s a pretty small community. I honestly don’t know where he is and I don’t care. I’ll be there on June 24 ready to fight.”
The Bellator New York PPV card is excellent.
It has the MMA debut of Aaron Pico. While a debuting fighter on a PPV is very nearly unheard of, remember the UFC did CM Punk, who came from fake wrestling and can’t fight. This is one of the brightest wrestling prospects of his generation, with a tremendous combat sports background.
Bellator NY has Fedor Emelianenko vs. Matt Mitrione. That is a huge challenge for Fedor, and real fight, and then some. And it has two title fights – lightweight champion Michael Chandler vs. Brent Primus and welterweight Douglas Lima vs. Lorenz Larkin.
And it has Wanderlei Silva vs. Chael Sonnen in the main event. If Wand really does no show, the PPV will get a third title fight – light heavyweight champion Phil Davis vs. Ryan Bader in a rematch. Three title fights, Aaron Pico’s debut, and Fedor is an awesome card. But it would really be good if Wand shows.
Give us a sign sir.