The rivalry between Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva came close to boiling over at the Bellator NYC press conference as “The Axe Murderer” shoved Sonnen before security and Bellator President Scott Coker made sure things didn’t go any further ahead of Saturday’s headliner.
After weeks of saying how much he wanted to “kill” Sonnen and how Bellator would need extra security if they were to be in the same room, Silva didn’t disappoint as he looked fired up throughout.
The Bellator NYC press conference, which took place at Viacom Headquarters in New York, also featured PRIDE legend Fedor Emelianenko ahead of his Bellator debut against former pro football player Matt Mitrione.
Bellator NYC, also known as Bellator 180, will take place this Saturday night at the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York and marks only the second PPV show in the company’s history.
Both Silva and Sonnen remained calm throughout the sitdown part of the press conference, however when it came time to face off, Sonnen warned the Brazilian to keep his distance. Silva responded by reaching over and pushing the big-mouthed star causing security to quickly intervene.
A highlight of the press conference was Sonnen poking fun at Silva with various comments and barbs as is expected of “The American Gangster”.
“Wanderlei said that he wants to taste my blood”, said a grinning Sonnen.
“Dan Henderson knocked the taste out of his mouth ten years ago. He can’t taste anything.”
The rivalry between the two stretches back to their time on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3 as opposing coaches. Silva originally stormed off of the show after Sonnen refused to apologise for derogatory remarks he made about Brazil prior to his UFC 148 title fight with Anderson Silva.
After returning, tensions were high for the rest of the season and things came to a head midway through the season when both fighters started scuffling and fighting before having to be separated by their respective coaching teams.
The two were originally supposed to meet at UFC 175 in 2014 however they both failed drug tests in the lead up to the fight and their proposed bout was immediately cancelled.