Sonnen turned himself from a middle-of-the-road player to a superstar in the sport by calling out Silva at a time “The Spider” was seen as invincible. Sonnen’s verbal barrage was relentless, calling into question Silva’s courage, ability, and character as a Brazilian. When the two met in 2010, Sonnen backed up his words with some surprisingly crisp stand-up and a ton of takedowns/top control. He even came within a few minutes of emerging with a decision victory but ultimately got caught in a submission and tapped out. Rather than admit defeat, Sonnen spun the performance in his favor and eventually landed a second shot at Silva. This time around it was evident Silva’s feelings towards Sonnen had soured and the typically soft-spoken former champion went so far as to deliver a shoulder blow during their final staredown. However, a second win for Silva in the actual scrap seemed to settle the issue, and he even went so far as to invite Sonnen to dinner after its conclusion.
Most Mixed Martial Artists enter match-ups with the mindset of the fight being a professional matter rather than a means of settling a personal vendetta. However, bouts occasionally come with bad blood between the involved participants and in the blink of an eye things can turn nasty. While boxing has its fair share of ugly incidents, the UFC is not without its own blemishes when it comes to competitors taking things a step or two over the line based on genuine dislike of a peer. Even as recently as this weekend, Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen nearly threw down outside of the Octagon. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images)
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