On Thursday night, The Ultimate Fighter Season one middleweight winner and 32-fight UFC veteran Diego Sanchez took to Instagram to reveal that he is “free at last.”
“Nightmare” was scheduled to fight Donald Cerrone at UFC Vegas 26 on May 8, however he was pulled from the card.
A day after the news broke, Sanchez shared the cryptic “free at last” Instagram Story. He tagged several MMA promotions: Bellator MMA, ONE Championship and BRAVE Combat Federation. Sanchez also tagged bare-knuckle boxing promotion Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, as well as boxing promoter Teresa Tapia.
Update: According to Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole, the UFC has officially cut Sanchez from the promotion.
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Sanchez & UFC Team Got Heated in a Video Sanchez Shared on Social Media
On the same day as his “free at last” post, Sanchez shared a video on Instagram of behind-the-scene footage of himself speaking with UFC staff. In the video, Sanchez and coach Joshua Fabia speak to several notable figures, including UFC play-by-play commentator Jon Anik and UFC broadcaster Megan Olivi, about Sanchez’s fight in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, against Michel Pereira in February 2020.
They take issue with the commentating for the bout, specifically speaking about color commentator and former multiple division UFC champion Daniel Cormier. Brendan Fitzgerald worked as the play-by-play commentator for the UFC Fight Night 167 event.
Sanchez and Fabia say they find the commentating “disrespectful,” diminishing Sanchez’s skills and legacy. They also claim that the media has portrayed them in a negative light and Fabia specifically has been “s*** on by the public.”
Although Sanchez was decisively losing the fight, Pereira hit Nightmare in the third round with an illegal knee and Sanchez won the fight by disqualification.
According to Sanchez, the video was shot before his bout with Jake Matthews at UFC 253 in September 2020. Typically a few days before an event, fighters are interviewed by the UFC broadcast team.
In the video, the parties go back and forth with things seemingly becoming hostile and at one point, color commentator and UFC lightweight Paul Felder tells Fabia that he “didn’t sign up for (his) lecture class.”
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Sanchez Has Fought in the UFC For Over a 15 Years
Nightmare has been one of the most notable names in the UFC for over 15 years. He made his UFC debut during The Ultimate Fighter season one finale in 2005 when he earned a six-figure contract by defeating Kenny Florian at middleweight.
The 39-year-old fighter has competed in four divisions in the UFC, middleweight, welterweight, lightweight and featherweight. He fought for promotional gold once, challenging then-lightweight champion BJ Penn and losing via TKO.
He has a professional MMA record of 30-13, with 10 wins by KO/TKO, six by submission and 13 by decision.
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