Diego Sanchez was losing his fight against Michel Pereira in the UFC Rio Rancho co-main event last weekend on ESPN+, and knew that if he went in front of the judges both wobbly and covered in blood, he would almost certainly lose a decision.
This was New Mexico, not Texas.
Then “Demolidor” lived up to his nickname and complete demolished “The Nightmare” with a series of brutal knees in the third round; however, the final blow was registered as an illegal strike to a downed opponent.
Sanchez told referee Jason Herzog he was unable to continue.
“I knew I was going down on the scorecards, I knew how things were rolling out,” Sanchez told MMA Junkie. “I made a smart, veteran decision because I know my face is, regardless or not of the last two minutes of the fight, my face is going to be covered in blood. The image is going to be painted on the judges. I already know. I don’t have a chance of winning that fight anymore. So, did I quit? I made a (expletive) smart decision to not put myself in some real danger where I would’ve been injured when that mother(expletive) hit me with an illegal shot when I was down.”
Sanchez was already facing criticism from the fans and media after the contest, held last Sat. night (Feb. 15, 2020) inside Santa Ana Star Center, for what appeared to be a bizarre gameplan and head-scratching advice from his coach in-between rounds.
“How about the blood? How about the scar that’s going to be with me for the rest of my life? How about the blood that’s going to impact the judges? How about all this going forward? What if I get really (expletive) hurt? I made the right decision,” Sanchez continued. “I don’t need you guys look down here like, ‘Oh, I might have the biggest heart in the sport but I quit because I was (expletive) scared of Pereira.’ I’ve been doing this longer than (expletive) anybody and I deserve a little respect. If the UFC and the MMA community and the media don’t want to give it to me, I’m going to go (expletive) take it.”
Prior to his disqualification win over Pereira, Sanchez lost a convincing decision to Michael Chiesa at UFC 239 in Las Vegas. “The Nightmare” parted ways with Jackson-Wink MMA last summer after several years with the Albuquerque-based fight camp.