Diego Sanchez won the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter. He’s the first ever TUF winner. He’s in the UFC Hall of Fame, but he’s no longer in the UFC.
Sanchez was scheduled to face Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in co-main event of last weekend’s UFC on ESPN 24 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. He was removed from the fight card and released by the fight promotion after failing to adequately respond to questions about his mental and physical health.
Since his release, Sanchez has posted several videos via social media of behind the scenes footage of his manager/coach Joshua Fabia crashing a meeting with the UFC broadcast crew during UFC 252 fight week, leaked audio of a voice message left by UFC lawyer Hunter Campbell, posted a rambling video message to Instagram and made unfounded allegations about the fight promotion and UFC president Dana White.
On Monday, White spoke about Sanchez’ release and everything that’s ensued since.
“All these guys and girls are grown men and women and they can do whatever they want,” White told TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter. “There are all these paths that we can choose to walk down in life and Diego has chosen this path. I wish him luck.”
White and Sanchez have had a long relationship. “The Nightmare” spent 16 years fighting inside the Octagon.
“I always liked Diego. Diego’s been saying that he’s trying to talk to me. Diego could pick up the phone and talk to me whenever he wanted to. When he wanted to text me, he would text me,” said White. As far as that other guy (Fabia) I don’t even know him. I’ve never met him. Apparently he knows a lot of things about me, but I don’t know anything about him.”
White has become accustomed to having disgruntled fighters attack him in the media over the years. It happens regularly, but Sanchez’ situation seems different.
“The whole thing is nutty. I’ve been in this game for a very, very long time and I’ve seen this movie and I know how this movie ends. It’s actually a sad story, but he’s a grown man. He can do whatever he wants to do. He’s free, like they put it. He can do whatever he wants to do. They can say whatever they want to say. Good luck to them,” said White.