Sonnen gains popularity in Brazil after brawl with Silva

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 02 2014 07:33 PM | Updated as of May 03 2014 03:33 AM

MANILA, Philippines – UFC fighter Chael Sonnen, who typically appears as a “heel” due to his penchant for trash talk, suddenly became popular in Brazil after figuring in a brawl against his opponent-coach Wanderlei Silva in The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil III.

According to MMA Fighting, a poll of Brazilian viewers indicated that 70% of them began rooting for Sonnen after seeing the April 12 episode where he got into a heated confrontation with Silva.

In that episode, “The Axe Murderer” swung a punch at the American and ended up being taken down. One of Silva's assistant coaches, came to the rescue, and hit Sonnen at the back of the head.

Silva ended up being the “villain.”

The Brazilian, however, claimed that it was Sonnen who started the fight. He also blamed his “bad image” to the show’s editing.

"They edited a lot of things, and unfortunately, the production decided to paint me as the villain," said Silva.

"What was shown on the show is not everything that happened," said Silva. "Behind what happened there are the motives and the reason why I was mad that day. Beside the absurd (things) that he has said about all of us (Brazilians), he had been provoking me and disrespecting me. Right on the first episode, he called me stupid. Not at any moment did I go down to his level."

Sonnen and Silva will fight in UFC 175 this July.