It was bound to catch up with him. Chael Sonnen has been spouting off about Brazil for the past year and it seems that finally MMA fans have had enough. Over 2500 Brazilian fans have “RSVP’d” to a Facebook event called “Linchamento do Chael Sonnen” (English: Lynching of Chael Sonnen). The page has the following description:
“Guys, everyone is aware of what this insect has been spewing about Brazil, the fighters, of the people of this country, of our culture. I think we should give him a ‘warm welcome’ when he comes to attend UFC Rio on the 27th, since Brazilians carries the fame of being sympathetic, hospitable, warm people, how about a big party for our friend Chael Sonnen?”
Now, obviously most people are taking this in jest. They aren’t likely to actually lynch Chael Sonne when he arrives in Rio. However, there are those that likely do feel that Chael’s words have crossed a line to being offensive in nature. He’s made statements that some see as xenophobic regarding not just Anderson Silva and the Nogueira’s, but also about the nation as a whole. To his credit though, his comments have helped some Brazilian fighters such as Demian Maia receive more exposure in their home country.
While Brazil is ramping up their infrastructure and security for the 2016 Olympic games, in the current state, they still have many social issues for the UFC to deal with. There are rumors of extensive identity theft and counterfeiting of tickets for this event. While I don’t believe fighter safety is an issue, there could potentially be issues with the populace that will be turned away at the door. Hopefully this event is just a joke and that no one crosses the line into actually forming a lynch mob.
UPDATE: It seems this story is picking up steam not just in the US but also Brazil. There are many who are concerned that this page may influence some individuals into actually attacking Chael Sonnen should he be in Brazil. News outlet SRZD reached out to the creators of the page who had the following to say:
“My master always teaches us that, the use of fighting is only for good things, I am of peace, I hate violence, I always try to resolve my issues in conversations” says Raphael, who created the page.
When asked if they didn’t fear it being misinterpreted, he replied: “That was my biggest fear, I even mentioned to Rafael (the other guy who had the idea for the page) jokingly that we could be sued, people could take it seriously and all. That’s why we put a lot of small jokes in the text, we didn’t put anything serious so that we wouldn’t be promoting violence”
It should also be noted that it is very likely that Sonnen won’t be able to attend the fights because of his probation following his Federal money laundering case. In the unlikely event that he actually is able to leave the country, I would say it is in his best interest for him to travel with security during his time in Brazil.
UPDATE: Chael Sonnen Responds
Please, FB nerds, no group has the strength to lynch me. I’m a Republican; we run on neither blood nor oxygen.
Translation from Facebook Page: Tom Mendes aka Orcus
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