Silva sidekick Andre Dida insists he's not a 'coward' for punching Chael Sonnen during TUF melee

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

According to Dida, all he was trying to do was stop the fight (in his own way).

Opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Brazil 3," Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen, came to blows during the taping of the reality television show (see it here).

A fight that left Vitor Belfort embarrassed.

After Sonnen had enough of Silva's antagonizing, "The American Gangster" pushed the Brazilian bomber after he got too close for comfort. That prompted "The Axe Murderer" to swing at Sonnen and soon thereafter, all hell broke loose.

Fortunately, the unsanctioned brawl didn't last too long as members of each team quickly broke up the melee. Among them was Andre Dida, one of Silva's assistant coaches and former mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter.

Not one to let an opportunity slip by, Dida proceeded to pound on the back of Sonnen's head with a few cheap shots.

But, according to Dida, all he was trying to do was break up the fight and protect one of his heroes in the process. At least that's the explanation he gave to MMA Fighting:

"My intention was to separate them, but I saw that Sonnen was trying to punch him, so in my mind I realized I needed to get Sonnen out of there as fast as possible to make him stop punching Wanderlei. I would never let Wanderlei Silva in a bad situation in front of me. I punched Sonnen to make him stop, but he didn't. (The other coaches) tried to get me out of there, but I came back and punched him again. I just wanted to get Sonnen out of there."

He continues:

"Many people called me a coward, but that's not true. I would be a coward if I did nothing. I was watching someone that I admire since I was 13 in a bad situation, so I had to do something. My body told me to punch him to make them stop fighting. I was hoping that Sonnen would stand up and fight me. I wanted to get him off Wanderlei, and now people call me a coward. Imagine that you're in a situation like that. You're in a supermarket and when you get back, someone in on top of your mother, your brother, your sister. Your instinct tells you to stop him as fast as possible. I did the same thing with Wanderlei Silva as soon as I saw that (Sonnen) was trying to hurt him."

Indeed, Dida's actions -- which got him tossed from the show -- have been perceived as cowardly by many, as the majority consensus is that the cheap shots were flat-out unnecessary.

According to Dida, he had to sign a deal that if he was to ever be involved in anything like that again, he would be banned from cornering fighters in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) organization.

Nevertheless, he is standing by his actions with seemingly no regret and is adamant that all he was trying to do was protect his fellow countrymen.

What's your take on Dida's actions? Were they justified, or downright cowardly?

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