MANILA, Philippines – Mixed martial arts (MMA) superstar Anderson Silva and middleweight contender Chael Sonnen nearly traded blows at the eve of their Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) title fight in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Following their weigh-in for UFC 148, Silva, the reigning UFC middleweight champion, immediately approached Sonnen for the traditional stare down.
But instead of raising his fist for the pose down, the 6’2” Brazilian leaned close to his opponent and acted as if he's whispering something to Sonnen’s ear.
To the surprise of the people watching, Silva suddenly whipped his right shoulder, hitting Sonnen’s chin.
UFC president Dana White and stage manager Burt Watson quickly stepped in to diffuse the tension.
Silva was seen continuously taunting Sonnen, while the two of them were being separated.
The two are scheduled to fight in one of the most awaited rematches in MMA.
Silva has decided to forget playing the nice guy, after years of being at the receiving end of Sonnen’s insults.
“What I’m going to do inside the Octagon is something that’s going to change the image of the sport,” Silva said during the UFC 148 conference call. “I’m going to make sure every one of his teeth is broken, his arms are broken, his legs are broken.”
Refusing to be outtalked, Sonnen called Silva a fake.
The outspoken Sonnen also vowed to beat Silva up again.
“I don't like this guy, that's not a secret. I wanna beat him up and I'm gonna beat him up again,” he said.
The Ohio native nearly pulled off an upset against Silva in 2010’s UFC 117 by dominating the champion for nearly 5 full rounds.
But Silva, considered as MMA’s pound-for-pound best, trapped Sonnen with a triangle armbar, forcing the challenger to submit.
BALLS will be airing UFC 148: SILVA vs SONNEN II via satellite on Sunday, July 8 starting at 10:30 a.m.