Chael P. Sonnen is going to fight for the UFC Middleweight Championship this Saturday. For anyone who even casually follows MMA, there is something different about this fight. Even though the event has been thoroughly promoted, the term hype doesn’t seem to factor in this time.
Here are the facts: Anderson “The Spider” Silva is going to defend his belt against the only man to almost beat him since he took the UFC Middle Weight division by storm six years ago. Sonnen has continually berated and taunted Silva. Recently, Silva weighed in on his thoughts about his competitor. He spoke with a level of emotion and anger never before heard from the champ in recent memory.
He promised that he would destroy Sonnen physically and mentally. “I’ve promoted every Anderson Silva fight since he’s been in the UFC and I’ve never heard him talk even remotely closely like this,” said Dana White during the media call where Silva made the infamous comments.
Many people believe Silva’s anger is derived from racially loaded comments Chael Sonnen made about the country of Brazil. Yet an interesting point of view has surfaced recently. About a year ago, Fan Club Chael Sonnen Brazil was created. “All he says is jokes,” said Luciana. “He knows we have computers and internet in Brazil. He’s simply selling fights.” Luciana (Lu) founded Fan Club Chael Sonnen Brazil about a year ago and graciously agreed to share her thoughts on the upcoming fight and Chael’s comments. “We don’t care about the things he says about our country because we know the truth about ourselves,” she said.
I love this perspective. Who better to discuss the merit of Sonnen’s comments about Brazil than a Brazilian? “We want to show Chael and people around the world that Brazilians don’t hate him and we give him our love as well. Brazilian fans are very passionate and now he knows it,” Said Lu.
Silva has been criticized heavily in the past for not promoting his fights. Sonnen has taken the talk a step further by accusing Silva of being disingenuous and fake. “He is a fake who pretends to be a nice guy,” said Lu. “He talks about ‘respect,’ but he doesn’t know the real meaning of the word.”
Sonnen laughed at the idea of Anderson Silva considering himself a representative of his people in Brazil. He has pointed out countless times in interviews and press conferences that many of the famous Brazilian fighters have lived in America for a long time and rarely see their country, much less support it. The merits of these statements are left up to conjecture of course. “Brazilian fighters sometimes think they are the best of the best and they shift towards this mindset,” said Lu. “We don’t like this, and when Sonnen says funny things about them we have to agree.”
Not all Brazilian fighters are lumped in to the same category by the Chael Sonnen Fan Club. “We respect Cigano and Aldo,” said Lu. “They are cheerful, friendly, simple, and warriors like our people. We look at their style and we can see ourselves in them.”
Apparently their actions speak louder than words. Interestingly enough, Sonnen has never criticized UFC Champions Junior Dos Santos or Jose Aldo directly; both of whom passionately fight for their home country in Brazil. “They help poor children in Brazil,” said Lu. “To be the best fighter or champion inside the octagon it´s not easy, but to be the champion outside is harder still and they get it,” she said.
Lu started the Fan Club with Evandro and what began on a whim has grown. He is an engineer and she is a librarian. Evandro plays in Lu’s husband’s band and they both live in Santo Andre, São Paulo, Brasil. “The fan club started without any kind of resources and Chael saw the first version,” said Lu. “After sometime friends started to help and our fan page became famous here in Brazil. Now we are thousands of people. Behind the scenes we are two crazy fans running everything.”
After the fight, win or lose, Fan Club Chael Sonnen Brazil will continue on in his name. “Like I said before, Brazilian fans are passionate,” said Lu. “We love Chael and we will support him until he tells us to leave him alone.”
After reading the interview I appreciated Lu’s candid response and impressive ability to show the vulnerable side of her culture in discussing the merit of some of Brazil’s biggest stars. With a very fun sense of humor she left me with this last quip. “There are two kinds of Brazilian people: the smart ones rooting for Chael Sonnen and the others.”
Go to http://fcchaelsonnenbrasil.blogspot.com.br/ to support Lu and Evandro’s Fan Club Chael Sonnen Brazil.