Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight Diego Sanchez is a ferocious fighter, one who loves to get bloodied up inside the cage before turning into a wild man and going for broke.
Unfortunately, this isn't 2007.
That's why most fighters worth their salt are able to easily outperform "The Nightmare" once the cage door closes. They don't always win, however, as was the case with Ross Pearson at the UFC Fight Night 42 mixed martial arts (MMA) event last Saturday night (June 7, 2014) in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Despite getting out-boxed, out-paced, and well, out-everything'd, Sanchez won a controversial split decision.
That means judge Jeff Collins -- who inexplicably scored it 30-27 -- is either from New Mexico (like Sanchez) or completely incompetent. Either way, it left fight fans arguing over the decision, when they should be arguing over whether or not Diego is "done."
Let's turn back the clock.
Since getting turned inside out by BJ Penn back in late 2009, Sanchez (25-7) has gone 4-5 with a couple of pit stops at welterweight. But of his four wins, the only one of merit was against Paulo Thiago in 2010. His victory over Martin Kampmann at UFC on Versus 3 was also in dispute.
And he left Kentucky with a shattered face (pics).
Up next was a loss to Jake Ellenberger and a trip back down to 155 pounds, where he "beat" Takanori Gomi on the scorecards (split), despite getting handled for most of the fight. Sanchez followed that up with back-to-back losses to Gilbert Melendez and Myles Jury and welp, here we are.
Not much has changed.
After 12 years of combat, "The Nightmare" can take a lickin' and keep on tickin' ... but his striking is below-average and his vaunted ground game has become non-existent. All that really leaves is a pretty good gas tank and the frightening ability to take punishment, which gets a rise from the live crowd, but shortens careers.
Is that what MMA is all about?
I too, love a bloody battle, but those types of contests should be the exception, not the rule. There is no point in sending Sanchez out to the cage to get beat up -- even if he can convince the judges he's a winner -- simply because the promotion loves "guys who WAR!!!"
He deserves better and quite frankly, so do we. It is, after all, 2014.
Sanchez is not ranked in the top 15 of his division and will probably never be fighting for the title. So what's the point? Go out there, get beat up, and collect a check? I'm not sure what the answer is, because everyone has the right to earn a living doing what they want to do.
But the idea is to get better each time out.
Those who don't, on occasion, get sent packing. Others get to hang around and sell tickets because they have heart, or loyalty, or balls, or some other manly trait that helps justify employment. Sanchez will be back, likely for the next card in Mexico, but don't expect to see anything different.