Wanderlei Silva rose to fame during his six-year run with the now defunct Pride Fighting Championships (Pride FC) organization.
As the Japanese-based mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion's Middleweight (205 pounds) champion, Silva ruled the division with iron fists -- soccer kicks and knees, too -- as he dominated the competition with one violent performance after another.
Names like Quinton Jackson, Hidehiko Yoshida, Kazushi Sakuraba, Ricardo Arona and Kazayuki Fujita, just to name a few, were among those who fell victim to Silva's aggressive striking attack, which earned the Brazilian a reputation as the most feared fighter in the sport.
"The Axe Murderer!"
But, it was all "fake," according to Chael Sonnen, who declared on "The MMA Hour" this afternoon that Silva's run as the poster boy for Pride FC was the result of carefully predetermined outcomes. And a few of Silva's old colleagues have confirmed it.
This revelation all stems from the rumor that Silva was never actually offered to fight him at UFC 167 on Nov. 16, 2013. Something Sonnen says is downright "ridiculous."
"Wanderlei's version is, ‘I'd really love to do it, but the UFC just hasn't offered it to me.' But, anyone who believes the UFC hasn't offered tried to put on this colossal mega-fight between two guys that genuinely disdain each other is more than silly. It's a level of ridiculousness. Am I picking on him? Yeah, I'm picking on him. This dates way back to when he was fighting in Japan. I'm the first guy to ever point out the fact that those were fake, that he wasn't winning fights in Japan. That he didn't go 22-0. These were set-up matches, and it pissed him and ‘Cro Cop' off. But as soon as I said it, other guys started coming out and going, ‘Oh, Chael's right.' From Gary Goodridge to Mark Coleman, to Don Frye coming out, ‘Yeah, we were in the back and yeah, these were set up.' He's upset about that, but it doesn't change the reality of what happened."
Pride FC didn't exactly have the best reputation thanks to its nearly non-existent athletic commissions, which lead many fans to believe steroid use, among other things, was rampant.
But, is Sonnen going too far when he insists the matches were fixed?
For what it's worth, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White confirmed that Silva was indeed offered up the chance to take on Sonnen in the co-main event of the promotion's twentieth anniversary show. However, Silva apparently wanted a piece of the pay-per-view (PPV) pie -- extra kickback that only champions (typically) receive.
Silva, meanwhile, countered that he simply wanted a full 25 minutes as opposed to 15 to "hurt" the trash talker.
It's safe to say that the feud between Sonnen and Silva has gone on for far too long. The back-and-forth barbs, at this advanced stage of their rivalry (and careers), requires resolution. After Sonnen finishes up his business against Rashad Evans at UFC 167 and Silva recoups from his nagging back injury, it's high time Joe Silva book this bout.
Or, maybe, we just stop writing about it.