Originally scheduled to take co-main event status at UFC Vegas 26 this weekend against former lightweight title challenger and former Jackson-Wink MMA training partner, Diego Sanchez, Donald Cerrone has given his thoughts on the shelving of the matchup, as well as Sanchez’s release, and his relationship with “cult leader“, Joshua Fabia.
Remaining on the card, Cerrone was in need of a short-notice replacement for his co-headlining bout at the UFC Apex facility, after reports emerged last week confirming that Sanchez had been pulled from his fight with the Denver veteran.
In his place steps Fortis MMA trainee, Alex Morono, taking on BMF Ranch owner, Cerrone on a week’s notice.
Sanchez was subsequently released from the promotion altogether following a sixteen-year stay, which began with a middleweight tournament win on the inaugural installment of The Ultimate Fighter. In a slew of leaked interactions with both the UFC broadcast panel and the organization’s Chief Business Officer and lawyer, Hunter Campbell, Sanchez was terminated from his contract, after neither Fabia or Sanchez’s attorney complied with requests from Campbell to confirm whether or not Sanchez was suffering from short or long-term health effects.
In the days since his release, an emotional Sanchez reflected on his termination from the UFC, detailing how he’s fearful for his life amid the leaking of his interaction with the broadcast team and his manager, Fabia’s phonecall with Campbell, claiming that he’s worried the UFC may come after him for speaking out.
“I’m going to tell you guys frankly right now, I’m fearful for my motherf*cking life,” Sanchez said to both RJ Clifford and Anthony Smith on SiriusXM recently. “I’m fearful that this company (the UFC), this billion-dollar company monopoly, worldwide, is going to come after me. Something might happen to me in two years. Maybe in a couple years. Maybe I wreck my truck. Maybe I, ‘Oh, Diego overdosed, some suicide sh*t.’ I don’t know. But I would not put anything past the level of evil that is within this corporation.“
Speaking with assembled media ahead of his showdown with Morono this weekend in ‘Sin City’ — Cerrone noted the circumstances as to why he’s got a short-notice replacement, and how they aren’t something he’s experienced before.
“I’ve never seen someone thrown off because they’re crazy,” Cerrone said. “It’s a first for me. But short notice is short notice. Usually, I’m the guy filling in, but not the other way around.“
“You’ve seen people getting chopped, so apparently he pissed the wrong people off, and it just so happened right before the fight,” Cerrone continued. “I don’t really have anything to say. I was looking forward to the fight. I’m going back to 55, so taking this fight, I was like, man, now I’m going to take a short notice dight against a 170lber. I was only doing it for the UFC, they asked me, Diego begged for the fight, wanted it and I said ‘Cool’, I wanted to go to 155 (lbs). So here we are at 170 again and as soon as this fight’s over, I’ll be hollerin’ for 55. Excited to go get paid on Saturday.“
Cerrone explained how he can’t issue ill will toward Sanchez in this situation, explaining that his “cult leader” and “lover“, Fabia is taking over the Albuquerque native’s life.
“Diego, it’s hard to be mad at him now, because I don’t know if it’s him guiding the horse,” Cerrone explained. “I can’t really be mad at the kid, or the old man I should say. Really, it’s his cult leader and love that’s took (sic) over his life, and I feel bad for you, Diego.“
The Denver-born striker told of an old story where Fabia had allegedly attempted to demonstrate a “death punch” against someone Cerrone knew in a bar in New Mexico, which ultimately resulted in an altercation.
“I never, ever had,” Cerrone explained that he never had any personal interactions with The School of Self-Awareness leader, Fabia.”I do know the guy that whipped his ass at the bar, I used to train with the guy, and that kid (Fabia) was talking about his death punch and how he was going to kill the dude, and my buddy body walked his 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’ and he did,” Cerrone said. “The MMA community in New Mexico had a chuckle over it.” (H/T MMA Fighting)
Releasing a prepared statement to MMA Fighting, Fabia called Cerrone a “lying bigot” — and how he’ll probably think he’s “cool” when he ends up in hospital on Saturday night to get his “adrenaline fix“.
“‘Cowboy’ is a lying bigot and has shown who he really is,” The statement read. “Sad he is brainwashed by the UFC and can’t see it. He is probably gonna be in the hospital Saturday and think it’s cool cause he got his adrenaline fix. Sad nobody cares enough about him to let him go in after he says in media he needs his head to heal.“