Four years after his last bout, Andre Dida returns to action in Thailand.
The MMA and K-1 veteran, who has worked as muay thai coach of the likes of Wanderlei Silva, Godofredo Pepey and Francisco Trinaldo over the past few years, is scheduled to compete at the K-1 World MAX Finals card in Pattaya, Thailand, on Oct. 11.
Dida, who competed for the last time in both MMA and K-1 in 2010 in decision losses to KJ Noons and Hinata Watanabe, respectively, meets Chinese fighter Li Yankun under K-1 rules.
Earlier this year, Dida was involved in an incident at The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3 reality show. After TUF coaches Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen started a brawl at the gym, Dida punched the back of Sonnen’s head while other coaches and fighters tried to separate them.
UFC president Dana White kicked Dida off the show, and the fighter/coach had to sign an agreement stating he would never do something like that again in order to corner his fighters in the UFC.
Dida gave his side of the story in an interview to MMAFighting.com in April, saying all he wanted was to protect his teammate.
"My intention was to separate them, but I saw that Sonnen was trying to punch him, so in my mind I realized I needed to get Sonnen out of there as fast as possible to make him stop punching Wanderlei," he said. "I would never let Wanderlei Silva in a bad situation in front of me. I punched Sonnen to make him stop, but he didn’t. (The other coaches) tried to get me out of there, but I came back and punched him again. I just wanted to get Sonnen out of there."
Sonnen called it "a crime," "straight up illegal." While Silva recognized that Dida’s behavior was "wrong," he defended his friend.
"Who has a friend stays with him until the end," Silva wrote on his Facebook page days after the episode aired. "The action was wrong but with the right motivation to defend a brother. I thank you, Andre Dida, for your loyalty, because it would have been much easier to do nothing. We know that you did what you did in the heat of the moment, without thinking about it, in defensive instinct."
Dida went undefeated as a MMA fighter from 2004 to 2007, but lost four straight since. His last victory came in a MMA bout against Caol Uno at K-1 Hero's 2007 lightweight grand prix semi-final. He lost to Gesias Cavalcante in the tournament finale, then suffered consecutive losses to Eddie Alvarez, Katsunori Kikuno and Noons. The Brazilian holds a 1-4 record under K-1 rules.
Scheduled for Oct. 11, K-1 World MAX Finals is headlined by Buakaw Banchamek vs. Enriko Kehl tournament final. In the co-main event, Bellator welterweight Paul Daley takes on Mohammad Ghaedibardeh.
- Buakaw Banchamek vs. Enriko Kehl
- Paul Daley vs. Mohammad Ghaedibardeh
- Rungravee Sasiprapa vs. Dennis Puric
- Andrei Kubelin vs. Lee Sung Hyun
- Maximo Suarez vs. Tural Bayramov
- Andre Dida vs. Li Yankun
- Artem Pashporin vs. Petmongkol Thor. Thesputin
- Xei Lei vs. Yoshimoto