While Diego Sanchez was recently on the headlines for his release from the UFC, as well as his connection to Joshua Fabia, the time when he realized the dream of a disabled fan should not be forgotten.
Sanchez’s career in mixed martial arts was a turbulent thing at best. A native of New Mexico, he initially made a name for himself in the first season of the UFC’s reality show, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF). Despite the odds appearing against him, Sanchez ended up winning the show and securing a UFC contract.
Since then, he has continued to have a long and segregated career, collecting a 30-13-0 record and fighting for 16 years as a UFC fighter. During his time in the organization, he picked up victories over high-level opposition such as Takanori Gomi, Jim Miller and Clay Guida.
Sanchez’s ultimate opponent
However, one opponent who had too much for ‘Nightmare’ was Isaac Marquez. Marquez, a longtime UFC and Sanchez fan suffering from Down syndrome, came to visit Jackson-Wink Academy in 2017 to watch some elite MMA fighters train.
Sanchez himself trained in Jackson-Wink at that time and made friends with Marquez. The two men agreed to hold an exhibition meeting held at Jackson Wink Fight Night 2. Marquez won the fight by subterfuge.
The two men apparently created a great relationship as evidenced by several videos posted on Sanchez’s social media:
A career in decline for Sanchez
Although Sanchez has sometimes been extremely successful in the UFC, his career has been going downhill for some time. Since 2009, he has failed to connect anything more than a series of victories in two fights. In his last 4 fights he holds the record 1-3, and the victory was brought by the opponent DQ.
This lack of form, combined with the fact that Sanchez is now thirty-nine, led to his later release. At least that’s what it would look like on the outside. However, Sanchez was originally scheduled to fight Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone this weekend, until he was released during Fight Week.
The unusual turn of events is a consequence of the actions of Sanchez’s head coach, Joshua Fabia. Fabia is the founder of the “School of Self-Knowledge” in which she tries to give her knowledge about health, fitness and healing.
Fabia has taken several bizarre actions in creating the fight, including confronting event commentators, as well as requiring Sanchez’s medical records from his entire 16-year UFC career. This led to the UFC being forced to release Sanchez for health reasons.
Fortunately, Sanchez will be able to make up for it with a release and continue to grow both as a person and as a mixed martial artist.