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With Diego Sanchez no longer under contract, UFC president Dana White went off on the veteran fighter’s coach, Joshua Fabia.
Sanchez (30-13 MMA, 19-13 UFC), who was scheduled to face Donald Cerrone in the UFC on ESPN 24 co-main event on May 8, was officially released by the UFC on Thursday, after he and his team allegedly failed to confirm that Sanchez was not suffering from any short-term or long-term medical issues.
Speaking to Yahoo! Sports, White said he has a lot of respect for Sanchez, but blames his downfall on his coach, “School of Self-Awareness” founder Fabia, who has been under plenty of public scrutiny ever since he took Sanchez under his wing.
“I have an incredible, amazing relationship with Diego, and I like him very much, and I hope he is OK,” White said. “One of the sad things that happens, not just in fighting but in sports, and I want you to quote me on this, are these creepy weirdos who come from God knows where and leech onto fighters or athletes. They never do any good for them.
“Somehow, this creep got into Diego’s life and has been controlling him. You saw the video of him chasing guys in the octagon with a knife. How f*cking nuts is that? He goes to the commission and tells them that he’s taught Diego this death touch. It goes on and on with this guy. He goes into the (fighter-broadcaster) production meeting and tells the commentators what they should be saying? The guy is batsh*t nuts. He worked his way into Diego’s life and has gotten control over him. I just want the best for Diego.”
Though Sanchez passed his medicals for UFC on ESPN 24, there’s been an ongoing rift between him and the UFC. “The Ultimate Fighter 1” winner expressed his discontent towards the UFC’s treatment of him by posting a video from October 2020, when he says he and his team were left stranded at the airport in Las Vegas after arriving from his UFC 253 loss to Jake Matthews in Abu Dhabi.
Sanchez went on to post two videos from his UFC 253 fighter meeting, showing himself and Fabia confronting the UFC’s broadcast team over a perceived lack of respect. Fabia went on a rant, attacking the broadcast crew, and things got a bit testy between everyone in the room.
On Thursday, Sanchez posted on his Instagram story that he was “free at last,” tagging Bellator, ONE Championship, Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship and others as he looks for a new home. Throughout his 16-year UFC tenure, Sanchez has fought in four different weight classes and challenged for the UFC lightweight title in 2009 when he was stopped by B.J. Penn. The 39-year-old has been in some of the most memorable wars in UFC history against the likes of Clay Guida, Gilbert Melendez and Martin Kampmann, among others.