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Chael Sonnen doubts Wanderlei Silva's motives: 'He's going to claim he's hurt'

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Esther Lin

LAKE FOREST, Calif. -- The way Chael Sonnen sees it, something doesn't quite add up.

Sonnen followed along as the drama unfolded over whether or not Wanderlei Silva would sign the bout agreement for their TUF: Brazil 3 coaches' fight in Sao Paulo on May 31, and he's listened to Silva's words since.

And the veteran isn't convinced everything is on the level over at Silva's camp.

"It's one of those things where, something stinks here," Sonnen said Tuesday after a sparring session at the Reign MMA gym. "He's talking more than ever. He's saying things like ‘Chael better not get hurt' and ‘Chael better not fall out.' I've never pulled out, ever. If I'm hurt or I'm sick, I just show up. Never do I complain or I pull out. What that's telling me, he's going to claim he's hurt. He's just doing all these things to tip his hand here, and something stinks and I don't know what it is, but something's going on."

The pride of West Linn, Ore.'s suspicions were first raised back when the duo shot TUF in Brazil over the winter. According to Sonnen, while he went to work on the mat every day in training, Silva didn't seem to go out of his way to work up much of a sweat.

"I was with him on the set of The Ultimate Fighter, and I watched him every day not practice," Sonnen said. "It seemed like he watched me every day twice a day practice. I'd see him in the hallway and he'd see me covered in five or six pounds of sweat and he'd be walking in with fruit, he was always eating pears. He'd be walking around with a pear in his hand as dry as can be and I thought 'you don't look like a guy who's getting ready to fight,' not a five round fight, particularly not when you've been out of the ring for a year. This just doesn't make sense."

According to Sonnen, he eventually asked Silva what his deal was.

"He said, I need eight weeks, that's all I need to get my body ready, and in eight weeks I'm going to get ready," Sonnen said.

Noting that the eight-week clock toward the fight starts this week, Sonnen added, "You know, that clock started yesterday, and only he knows if he was in the practice room or not. I don't know. But I wish I did. I wish I had a spy that would tell me, and if he said he's going to do it, then I'll take his word that he's going to do it."

Of course, this is only Sonnen's side of the story. But while Sonnen is scratching his head wondering what's going on in the Silva camp, he's ultimately going to let Silva's track record up to this point carry the day.

"I don't like him, but I'm not delusional that he's not a tough guy," Sonnen said. "I'm not delusional that for the most part he's been a man of his word. I can't remember a time he pulled out of a fight or said he was going to do something and didn't do it. I can't remember there was ever a time where he did that."