After nearly 17 years, the UFC and TUF 1 alum Diego Sanchez parted ways this week. It all happened shortly after the cancellation of Sanchez’s scheduled May 8th fight with Donald Cerrone.
Sanchez hasn’t spoken about what went down behind the scenes that led to his UFC release, until Friday.
Part of the story was the request made by his manager/chief trainer/guru Joshua Fabia for Sanchez’s medical records dating back to 2004. Sanchez has since released what he calls a “smoking gun” conversation between Fabia and UFC officials.
In the phone call with Fabia, the UFC brass expressed their worry that if Fabia was saying Sanchez isn’t healthy and has serious effects from head trauma, they will not allow him to fight.
“The direct quote I received was, you stated that the quote ‘long-term effects of Diego being an MMA fighter’ were your basis for requesting it,” Campbell told Fabia. “So I went through this with Mark Hunt, and here’s the reality: If you’re concerned or he’s concerned that he’s having negative effects, then we’re not going to fight him and I’m going to pull the fight right now and we’re going to call it a day and we’ll release him and he can go do something else with his life. Because I’m not putting anybody in that cage that doesn’t feel 100 percent or thinks they’re suffering from any medical issues.”
“The Nightmare” then released another lengthy video, saying he and Fabia took this as being “bullied” to waive his “medical rights.”
Sanchez began the video to confirm the reported reason for his release. That it was about certain issues about his long-term and short-term health.
“UFC wanted me to state that I am not experiencing any neurological issues and that I have no long-term health side effects from a fighting a career of 17 years in the UFC,” the 39-year-old said.
“Basically, my advisers told me, like, basically, what they’re trying to do is right before you finish your last fight, they’re trying to make sure they have documentation of you saying that you never sustained anything. So basically, you’re being forced, being bullied into waiving your medical rights, medical… possible liabilities.”
“The Nightmare” later claimed that the UFC provided him “no explanation” in the email of his contract termination, other than pointing to his most recent fight against Jake Matthews in September. And for that, he has some questions.
“The only thing on the email was, ‘Due to your last loss (in) Abu Dhabi versus Jake Matthews…’ No explanation other than that,” he said. “And so this seems like a lot of bullshit to me because if you ask me… If the problem was my performance in my Jake Matthews fight, why entertain me with the ‘Cowboy’ fight?
“Why have a meeting with me Sean? Why give me my fight papers? Why sign the bout? Why sell the fight to ESPN? Many questions that don’t make sense to me.
“Another question that doesn’t make sense to me is why send me a letter — an email — when I’ve already passed all my medicals? And I’ve had extra medicals done due to my age.
“I had the MRI, the MRA, the EKG, the physical, the x-rays. I had all the imaging done. I had all the neurological (tests) that (were) demanded by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and the UFC for me to be cleared to compete.”
“I’ve had a lot of injuries, and in the sport, I want to have my history,” Sanchez said. “This is my medical history, I want to have it on file, I want to have what the UFC has. It’s my medical health, right?
It’s worth noting that as Campbell said in the call, those records are with the athletic commissions, not the UFC. Sanchez also continued to note how he and Fabia wanted “to get what we can get” now, as they don’t expect anything from the UFC after they part ways.
“As far as I’m concerned, I don’t feel like after I’m done… if Dana White won’t answer my calls now, won’t let me have a meeting now… Once I’m done and I’m out of the UFC, do you think that I’m going to be able to get a hold of anybody? You think that anything’s gonna go through? No, nothing’s gonna go through. I’m never gonna get shit from them.
“So yeah, before the end of my career, me and my manager decided, ‘Yeah, now is the time to get what we can get. Because they are probably not gonna give a shit after you’re released.’”
But despite the messy situation, Sanchez did reveal some good news.
“The letter said that they have chosen to pay me 100% for the fight, the show money, the win money, and the sponsorship money, due to me traveling and completing the training camp.”
Dana White has since put Fabia on blast, calling him a “creep” that has been leeching off Sanchez. Multiple UFC employees were also reportedly concerned that Fabia was handling Sanchez’s social media and “controlling his telephone and his email accounts.”
Sanchez entered the UFC in 2005 and compiled a total of 31 fights. He holds an 18-13 record with the company.
About the author