While the confrontations on the show will help build up the fight, Sonnen felt things were tense from the first day on the set, and got worse, leading to the explosion that airs this weekend. The fight was broken up quickly by the fighters on both teams. But before they were pulled apart, Sonnen had taken several sucker punches to the back of the head by a third person, Andre Dida, an assistant coach on Silva's team, which left him bruised up and with a small cut.
While Sonnen wasn't happy with how things went down with Silva, the third party punches from Dida he felt were far more out of line.
"It ended up being a two-on-one, and in that aspect, that was the most unfortunate part," Sonnen said. "The whole thing is regrettable. It never should have happened. That's one of the deals with reality TV. If you have a bad moment, you're caught. Everyone may have a bad moment. They go in their car, you yell, turn on the radio in you car and yell. In reality TV, if you have a bad moment, you're busted.
"And then what happened was the other knucklehead jumped in, that was a crime," he said.
That's what it was. That was straight up illegal."
He said the incident, which wasn't the first or the last between the two on the show, started when the two were waiting for weigh-ins. Silva was constantly challenging Sonnen to fight, as well as demanding that he apologize for what he had said in the past. He said Silva spit at him first. Silva took a swing and Sonnen ducked and took him down and was throwing punches when the other fighters swarmed in.
"He's very difficult," said Sonnen. "I can tell you, working alongside him on The Ultimate Fighter was really the most I ever go to know him, and it was tough on a day-to-day basis. It was really tough. He really followed a gang mentality. The more people on his side, the tougher he got."
Sonnen said he tried to explain to Silva that this was a show for Brazil, and that he, as the foreigner, was expecting to be viewed by the Brazilian audience, which hit 12 million viewers in the early episodes of the season, as the bad guy. He'd even make comments to his team that they were the "bad guys," almost like it was the name of their team.
"I had to explain to him, `I'm the bad guy, you're supposed to be the good guy,'" he said. "But when you attempt to jump me, that's going to turn the people against you and for me, and I don't want to be the good guy. I had to drop the fourth curtain and explain this to him, and it didn't register."
Problems started early, almost from the minute he walked through the door into the gym.
"They kept us apart in the back," he said. "We never saw each other. We were at different hotels, the whole bit. He's in the actual gym. I'm in the actual gym. I walk through the doors and I walk right up to him. He puts his hand out, he says to me, `You have no problem with Brazil, you just have a problem with me, let's have a good show,' that type of deal. That kind of set the tone. I was thinking, `Well, good, that's what we're here for.' It wasn't two hours later, he was cursing, he quit the show, he shoved me, pretty much right off the bat."
Sonnen said he never bought the part where Silva walked out.
"He quit and the Brazil thing on the show was fake," he said. "It couldn't have been more fake. He said, `I'm gonna quit if you don't apologize,' never once thinking, if I didn't apologize, he would have painted himself into a corner where he had to quit, which, of course, you can't do."