Cerrone (36-15 MMA, 23-12 UFC) was supposed to fight former Jackson Wink MMA teammate Sanchez (30-13 MMA, 19-13 UFC) in Saturday’s welterweight co-main event at the UFC Apex, but “The Ultimate Fighter 1” winner was removed and cut from UFC because he would not sign a document assuring the UFC he was in good health after his head coach, Joshua Fabia, caused a stir by asking for past medical records.
The saga has dragged out since last week, with Sanchez and Fabia both speaking out about how the UFC is “evil” and trying to get out of any lability from the damage he sustained over more than 16 years of fighting. The consequence of this was Cerrone being left without a fight or opponent as the Sanchez vs. UFC conflict unfolded. Cerrone got a replacement in Alex Morono, but during Wednesday’s media day, there was still plenty of focus on Sanchez.
Cerrone is never one to bite his tongue, and he said it’s a troubling situation because he, like many others, sees Fabia as a negative influence on Sanchez.
“It’s hard to be mad at (Sanchez) now because I don’t think it’s him guiding the horse,” Cerrone told MMA Junkie and other reporters on Wednesday. “I think he’s just running blind, and this other jamoke, his new lover, is showing him down the path. I don’t know. Can’t really be mad at the kid, or the old man, I should say. But really it’s his cult leader and lover that took over his life, and I feel bad for you, Diego.”
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Cerrone said he’s never met Fabia, despite both of them residing in New Mexico. He does have a friend who once encountered Fabia at a bar, though, and shared the story of a physical altercation that happened between them.
“I never have (met him),” Cerrone said. “I never ever have. I know the guy that whipped his ass at the bar. I used to train with the guy, and that kid was talking about his death punch and how he was going to kill the dude, and my buddy whipped his little motherf*cking ass all over the bar. So the death punch did not work. It was unsuccessful. This guy no longer fights, no longer trains. He just said, ‘I’ll beat your ass.’ Then he did. The MMA community in New Mexico had a chuckle over that.”
Cerrone has seen and experienced a lot during his time as a UFC fighter. He’ll make a record-tying 37th walk to the octagon on Saturday, and ultimately he’s just glad that’s happening, whether it’s against Sanchez or not.
He said he’s not trying to get caught up too much in Sanchez’s drama but knows the situation was serious if it led to being released from his UFC contract.
“I’ve never seen someone get thrown off because they’re crazy,” Cerrone said. “It’s a first for me. But short notice is short notice. I made a career out of (it). Usually I’m the guy filling in, not the other way around, so pretty cool Alex threw his hat in and they picked him.
“You’ve seen people get chopped, so apparently he pissed the wrong people off. It just so happened right before the fight. But I don’t really have anything to say. I was looking forward to fighting (Sanchez).”