Prideful people rarely come out and say they’re in a bad way, that they need help. More commonly, they’ll put on a brave face and behave outlandishly until help forces itself upon them — if they last that long. Historically, the term “cry for help” is associated with mental health issues and addiction, but we just witnessed one echo from within the Octagon.
By and large, most of the many fighters I’ve met are generous and friendly people, but you won’t find a more prideful group. It comes with the territory, the desire to stand in the center of a crowded arena as the announcer yells your name. Whenever a fighter overreacts to some goofy insult from an opponent, think back to the source: pride.
Listening to Sanchez wax on poetically about toxins and mindfulness and warrior mindset in pre-fight interviews and on Instagram, and it’s abundantly clear that Sanchez views himself as some kind of holy soldier. Just days ago, Sanchez said “Here I am, changing the game. I’m a game changer” before directly comparing himself to the biblical King David, who felled Goliath.
Sure, Diego Sanchez is famously eccentric and has been since 2005 — that’s no crime. Things are taking a turn for the worse though. With his glorified yoga instructor whispering nonsense into his ear, Sanchez has absolutely fallen off the deep end in a way that will quickly have repercussions.
Prior to teaming up with a man who smacks him with ropes as training exercise, Sanchez was actually on a minor resurgence. He proved in consecutive wins that despite his decline, “The Nightmare” was still a ferociously skilled grappler and hell to deal with on the mat. It’s not the stuff championships are made of, but there are men on the UFC roster who Sanchez could dominate on the mat.
Could being the operative word. After two fights with the meditating monk as his primary trainer and sole corner, Sanchez seems ill-prepared to do more than strap on his gloves. Ever wanted to know what happens if a fighter breaks into a full-on sprint towards his opponent? Thanks to the movement guru, we now know the sprinting man gets punched in the face ... obviously.
His strategy against Michel Pereira comprised running around the Octagon while stretching his arms out and refusing to shoot takedowns. Meanwhile, the hulking Brazilian stabbed his mid-section with front kicks, jumped off the wall and kicked him across the chin, and landed a half-dozen flying knees. Prior to the illegal knee that gave Sanchez an option to opt-out, Sanchez was knocked down brutally and nearly grounded out.
Even veteran MMA coach Trevor Whittman was unable to do more than stutter and express personal sadness in his attempts the describe the absurdity he was witnessing. Diego Sanchez had already absorbed a thousand strikes in his 15-year professional career before the definitely incompetent and likely insidious influence of Joshua Fabia, which is leading to lots of further abuse.
Laugh it all off as classic Diego Sanchez wackiness if you’d like, but this sh*t is a problem. It’s not going to have a happy ending. Sanchez’s body and brain will bear the consequences. I don’t know how much Fabia is pulling from Sanchez’s bank accounts for his “expertise,” but that’s another terrifying prospect given how many professional athletes have lost everything to those they trust.
Be it UFC management or Sanchez’s friends and family, someone needs to take action.
For complete UFC Fight Night 167 “Anderson vs. Blachowicz 2” results and play-by-play, click HERE!