Anderson Silva’s manager, Ed Soares, doesn’t dislike Chael Sonnen. In fact, he thinks Sonnen is a good guy.
That doesn’t mean Soares approved of Sonnen’s comments leading up to UFC 148, however.
“I’ve always thought Chael was a good guy,” Soares told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “I just thought that he crossed the line. Chael is a good person. Chael, when the cameras are off, he’s a good guy. He’s a solid guy. I like Chael. I always have, but I’ll tell you, whether he was just hyping [the fight] or not, there were times when he would start pissing me off and I had nothing to do with it.”
Sonnen leveled remarks at Silva’s wife, his country and more. For sure he helped build a huge amount of anticipation for the bout, but Soares believes Sonnen took the personal attacks too far.
“To hear Chael talk about Anderson’s wife that way and talk about Brazil … to talk about any nation and any other culture that way, I don’t see the benefit for it,” Soares said. “I really don’t see the benefit for it. I do think he crossed the line. I don’t think Chael’s a bad person. I think Chael was just trying to do what he could to try to promote the fight and make this fight as big as possible, but I think that he did cross the line. I’ll say it now and I’ve said it before: No one ever paid attention to Chael Sonnen. No one ever paid attention to him. Unfortunately his style of fighting’s not exciting to watch. The only time people started paying attention to him was when he started talking about Anderson. Once he struck that nerve and saw that it worked, I think he just took it to another level.”
Sonnen’s comments seemed to strike a nerve with Silva. At the weigh-ins, the champ hit the challenger with his shoulder during their faceoff. Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer spoke with Silva’s camp about the incident, but according to Soares, Silva will not be fined.
“Keith Kizer had a talk with us after the fight,” Soares said. “He pulled us to the side and kind of talked to Anderson about what happened. Everybody that knows Anderson knows that that was a little bit out of character. Sometimes emotions get to people. I’m not saying I 100-percent agree with what he did, but I mean, come on, man. People can’t forget that the guy was talking about his wife, talking about his country, talking about all that. At that point in time it’s like two wrongs don’t make a right, but it happens. It’s a fight.”
Of course Silva won the rematch, stopping Sonnen via strikes 1:55 into the second round. Afterward both fighters seemed more cordial with each other. Silva even invited Sonnen to his home for a barbecue, which didn’t surprise Soares as much as it reinforced his view that Silva had moved past Sonnen’s challenge with class.
“I think [Silva] just wears his heart on his sleeve,” Soares said. “It’s done with. He beat him up twice. He submitted him once. He TKO’d him the second time. Now what else does Chael have to say?”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 2:26:26).