Former UFC lightweight title challenger and The Ultimate Fighter 1 middleweight tournament winner, Diego ‘The Nightmare’ Sanchez has officially been released from his contract with the UFC, following his recent removal from his retirement fight with Donald Cerrone at UFC Vegas 26 on May 8th. Sanchez had competed under the promotion’s banner for sixteen years.
Reports emerged earlier this week that Sanchez was out of his proposed retirement fight with Cerrone on May 8th.
Released from the promotion per a report from Yahoo! Sports reporter, Kevin Iole, Sanchez had reportedly passed his pre-fight medical checks for the fight with Cerrone, however, the UFC officially released the Albuquerque native after neither his head coach, Joshua Fabia, nor his attorney, Charles N. Larkens would confirm to the promotion whether or not Sanchez was suffering from short-term or long-term medical issues.
Speculation began to mount that Sanchez had parted ways with the UFC after he posted on his official Instagram story, “Free at last, free at last” as well as tagging promotions, Bellator MMA, ONE Championship, Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, and Brave CF.
As well as that post, Sanchez shared a couple of lengthy videos from his pre-fight meeting with the UFC broadcast team ahead of UFC 253 last September on ‘Fight Island’ — in which the aforenoted, Fabia spoke after the meeting, asking the commentary and broadcast term to “cut the bullsh*t” and to stop painting a narrative that Sanchez was ruining his legacy. Fabia also explained that he was being treated unfairly and his methods had been questioned by the media.
Sanchez, a professional since June of 2002, began his professional career with a perfect 17-0 record, and at the time of his UFC release, holds a 30-12 record. In his last outing at the abovementioned, UFC 253 event, Sanchez suffered a unanimous decision loss to Jake Matthews.
In notable career wins, the 39-year-old has bested the likes of Kenny Florian, Nick Diaz, John Alessio, Karo Parisyan, Joe Riggs, Joe Stevenson, Clay Guida, Paulo Thiago, Martin Kampmann, Takanori Gomi, Ross Pearson, Jim Miller, Marcin Held, and Mickey Gall.
Speaking with the above-mentioned, Iole, White expressed his concern for Sanchez, before questioning Fabia’s training methods.
“I have an incredible, amazing relationship with Diego (Sanchez) 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,” White explained. “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 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.“