Sonnen confirmed the news to MMA Junkie, claiming that one of Okami’s major sponsors asked him not to go and there’s a chance he could be arrested if he sets foot in the country he’s been blasting for over a year.
Sonnen said a major sponsor of Okami’s requested he not attend the pay-per-view event, which takes place Saturday at Rio’s HSBC Arena.
A source with knowledge of the situation told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Praetorian, a Brazil-based MMA brand, threatened to pull the Japanese fighter’s sponsorship if Sonnen attended.
“There’s a line of people that want to kick his ass,” the source said.
And that could be the least of problems for the expert trash-talker. Sonnen said friends in the country forwarded him a local-media report in which a police chief threatened to arrest him on sight if he showed. The official cited a law that makes disparaging the national identity a crime.
“You don’t have freedom of speech in Brazil; put it like that,” Sonnen told MMAjunkie.com after a workout at Team Quest Tualatin.
The source said Sonnen’s claim is untrue. But the fighter’s bombastic interviews have created quite a stir.
So basically, Brazil doesn’t want him there. Shocking, I know.
Sonnen went on to say that he was only going to Brazil to help Okami and was afraid his presence was going to be more a distraction than anything else. Chael wants it to be “his moment, his night, his time to be a world champ.”
Sonnen made no mention however of the lynch mob on Facebook that was organized to give him a “warm welcome” to Brazil when he got there.
Image via Dave Mandel for Sherdog