We still don’t know why Diego Sanchez was removed from his retirement fight against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone on May 8, 2021, but we’re beginning to suspect it may not be because of an injury, but rather some beef brewing between the organization and Sanchez’s coach, Josh Fabia.
On Wednesday it was revealed that Sanchez was not competing at UFC Vegas 26. No reason was given, and Sanchez hasn’t updated anyone on why. But what he has posted is ... interesting: two videos totaling 20 minutes of his controversial coach browbeating UFC’s commentary team over what he perceives as bias against Sanchez.
“My Coach manager and mentor Josh Fabia addresses the room about the negative commentating and biased narrative structuring,” Sanchez wrote in the captions. “I never planned to post or share but my name and legacy is on the line....”
Those who tune in for the whole videos will watch as Fabia hijacks the UFC commentary team’s fight week interview to complain about being disrespected as a valuable member of Team “Nightmare,” and how official commentary in general of Diego has been negative.
“When you respect these two legends,” Fabia said (transcribed by MMA Junkie), referring to Sanchez and cornerman Stephan Bonnar, “It seems a little disrespectful that you don’t recognize they respect me. And if you’re going to be the one telling the narrative, that’s on you when I’m getting s—t on by the public, by millions of people. If you’re going to be here leveraging off of all this, notice I’m on the end of the sh*tty stick here, and none of you have stood up for anybody that needed to be stood up for.”
“Man, I don’t know what the f—k you’re talking about,” UFC commentator Paul Felder said. “It’s not my job to talk about what the public is talking about outside. It’s my job to talk about this athlete and his performance in the cage. That’s it.”
“I just don’t feel like the past couple fights, this man has gotten a fair end of the stick,” Fabia continued. “And sure as s—t I sure haven’t, either – because nobody’s actually talked to me, met me, moved with me. Yet there’s a whole lot of s**t talked about me, and discrediting this man’s opinion on what he knows.”
Fabia has indeed gotten a lot of heat on social media because of his questionable credentials in MMA and his role as Sanchez’s coach / mentor / guru. People probably wouldn’t have as much of an issue with him if he stayed on the guru side instead of making himself the head of Sanchez’s fight team. And Fabia hasn’t made many friends amongst the UFC organizations for outbursts like this and another encounter with Matt Serra on “Fight Island” where he once again caused some strange stir because he felt like he was being disrespected.
The encounter made its way onto Dana White’s “Looking For A Fight” show, so you know the big boss found Fabia’s attempt to swerve Serra amusing.
And this may be where things have come to a head leading up to UFC Vegas 26. Did Sanchez and Fabia make some sort of ridiculous demand, like a change in commentary team? We know exactly where UFC would tell them to stick it if that was the case, and it’d certainly explain why Sanchez posted this bizarre incident with Fabia to Instagram — to try and explain how UFC has been ruining his name and legacy.
That’s just our read on the situation, though. We’re sure there’ll be more revealed. This isn’t the first long winded social media video that’s gone up defending Fabia, whose main issue seems to be how he’s not treated like a real MMA coach ... because he isn’t. If Sanchez just torpedoed his retirement fight over Fabia’s hurt feelings, well that says a whole lot about Sanchez and Fabia.
More than it says about UFC ...