Diego Sanchez’s 16-year run in the UFC has come to an abrupt end after being released from the promotion.
We previously reported the news that Sanchez had been pulled from what was set to be his retirement fight against Donald Cerrone in the co-main event of UFC On ESPN 24 on May 8th, but at the time the exact reason wasn’t clear.
Now it’s emerged that Sanchez was actually released from the UFC On Tuesday after a dispute over his medical status, together with concern about the behavior of ‘The Nightmare’s’ controversial coach over the past few years, Joshua Fabia.
Sanchez had passed his pre-fight medicals for the upcoming event, including a brain scan but then neither Fabia nor his attorney Charles N. Larkin would tell the promotion’s medical coordinator whether the fighter had any short or long-term medical issues, according to a report from Yahoo! Sport’s Kevin Iole.
Sanchez’s two representatives then asked for all of Sanchez’s previous medical records throughout his UFC career, and that led to a conversation with the UFC’s Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell, in which Fabia “talked about short and long-term memory issues Sanchez may have experienced.”
Campbell reported saw this as a red flag and personally wrote to Sanchez to ask if he was ok.
However, Sanchez’s lawyer responded that Sanchez couldn’t respond to the question because he wasn’t a neurologist, which led to the UFC releasing him as they couldn’t have some fight if they wouldn’t confirm that they were healthy.
White has since spoken to Iole about the situation and put the much maligned Joshua Fabia on blast for his part in Sanchez’s departure.
“I have an incredible, amazing relationship with Diego and I like him very much and I hope he is OK,” White told Yahoo Sports. “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 [expletive] 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 bats*** nuts. He worked his way into Diego’s life and has gotten control over him. I just want the best for Diego.”
Fabia has been heavily criticized by many in the mixed martial arts community since he became Sanchez’s coach after the fighter’s performances in the Octagon demonstrated a clearly evident decline.
Fabia’s often bizarre behavior hasn’t helped his cause. For example, prior to a fight against Michael Chiesa, he warned a member of the fight commission that he’d taught Sanchez a choke that could paralyze or kill his opponent.
In addition, Fabia has often been confrontational with the media, and it’s now emerging that he was also doing the same with member of the UFC staff, as evidenced by video that Sanchez released yesterday.
The video comes from Sanchez and Fabia’s fighter meeting with the UFC broadcast team members, including Jon Anik, Paul Felder and Megan Olivi and show him complaining bitterly for an extended period about the way both he and his fighter are being talked about during Sanchez’s fights.
Meanwhile, Sanchez is attempting to put a positive spin on his release from the UFC, writing, “FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST” on his Instagram page, while tagging other promotions such as Bellator, ONE FC and bareknuckle boxing promotion BKFC.