We all should have seen the video by now. If you haven’t, you can still see it here at MMASucka.com and wonder, “Just what in the Blue Hell happened to The Axe Murderer?” Wanderlei Silva, after having been challenged to a bout by Chael Sonnen in his victory speech at UFC Fight Night 26, took the better part of a week to record and edit a “gritty” video of himself trying to be angry and threatening towards Sonnen whilst a generic metal track played in the background. This video ended up being about 5 minutes long, and was not released until after UFC figurehead Dana White claimed that Silva was declining the proposed bout unless he got a percentage of the pay-per-view boys for the event. When you look at the timing of everything, it certainly looks like a very suspect face-saving maneuver on the part of the former Pride champion. It also leaves me wondering whether or not it is going to be necessary for the UFC to force Wandy into retirement after the bout, win or lose.
When responding to a challenge, it is generally best to simply state that you either accept it or decline it. Claiming that you want the fight to be a main event and five rounds long before you’ll consider taking it when you’re already claiming you will inflict severe, finish-worthy punishment on someone seems – to me, at least – to be a sign of either disingenuousness or punch-drunkenness. Taking more than 30 seconds to do so also reeks of tough-guy posturing, while any attempt at to verbally intimidate your target that runs over 3 minutes lapses into self-parody. Really, the whole video comes off like that time Granddad Freeman tried to do a diss track against a rapper named Thugnificent in an episode of the Boondocks.
Unfortunately, I feel that the effect of the video response was the complete opposite of what it appears Wanderlei had intended to create. Instead of making him appear as a bad-ass out for blood, it made me wonder if he’s losing his grip on reality and is surrounded by people who may not have his best interests at heart. Its release was a poor decision on the part of Silva and/or his handlers, and only serves to make him look worse in the feud to all but the most ardent of fanpeople. It’s sad, especially to people who are fans of both men, to see “The Axe Murderer” respond to Sonnen’s well-timed call-out in a manner that’s normally reserved for Walmart-stocked rap-rockers. I sincerely hope that we see something more measured, reasonable, and not so downright laughable the next time that Mr. Silva has something to add to this discussion, because as it stands, I believe he has made himself into a Brazilian buffoon.