Diego Sanchez has defended his controversial coach Joshua Fabia following criticism of his training approach.
The Ultimate Fighter winner and his coach became a hot topic of discussion after his Michel Pereira bout in the co-main event of UFC Rio Rancho. Sanchez absorbed an illegal knee in the third round and decided not to continue the fight. Much to the dismay of some spectators, “The Nightmare” was awarded the disqualification victory.
Fabia became a subject of controversy due to the advice he gave Sanchez between rounds, and due to the fact that he has no martial arts experience. Many members of the MMA community feel he should not be coaching a professional fighter.
However, Sanchez is standing by his self-awareness guru and MMA coach.
“Joshua is my brother, my mentor, my guide, my manager, my trainer,” he said in an interview with MMA Junkie. “This has been the most disrespectful that my fans and the masses of the MMA community have addressed me in my career — just throwing all the hits and all the traumas that I took in the 16 years in the UFC. All this trauma that I took, I paid the price for the experience to make my own decisions in what is best for me going forward.
“I have always been different than everybody else and maybe that’s why I’ve lasted so long, alright,” Sanchez continued. “I continue to thrive in a special, unique, unorthodox approach that has led me to Joshua. And what he’s done for me, how this side of mixed martial arts is amazing and you really should look into it and become aware of that.
“I don’t look like I’m going anywhere,” Sanchez added. “I’m speaking healthy, and this is more than a fighting career because Diego Sanchez — the UFC fighter, the identity — that’s been done and dead. I am Diego Sanchez the human being now.”
After feeling like he was not receiving the right treatment at JacksonWink MMA, Sanchez left his old training home and employed Joshua Fabia.
With 20 years of MMA experience under his belt, Sanchez has no regrets about taking a new approach to training.
“Now that I step into this part of my purpose in life, understand that I’m making these decisions, I’m thinking about this,” he said. “I’m putting my heart, my mind, my daughter, and my mother and father — the three people that I have to take care of. I’m doing everything in the best of my ability, in the best way that I can for my future. And that includes standing up to the bullies who were taking advantage of me and not treating me correctly.
“This is just what it is. I know that a lot of people around the world are suffering from these same things, whether it be at their job or whether it be on the playground. They’re not saying, they’re not speaking up, they don’t have the courage. I want people to see me and see something different. A new generation, a new era of people believing in themselves and not just listening to what the comments say.”
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 2/27/2020.