UFC Parts Ways With TUF 1 Winner Diego Sanchez After 16 Years

Image Source: Diego Sanchez via Instagram

After over a decade and a half, the UFC has parted ways with Diego Sanchez.

The news was implied by an Instagram story from Sanchez, who wrote that he was “free at last” and tagged multiple promotions, including Bellator and ONE Championship. The UFC has since confirmed to MMA Junkie that Sanchez has been cut from their roster.

Sanchez had previously been scheduled to take on Donald Cerrone on May 8, but earlier this week, the news broke that Sanchez would no longer take part in the contest. An explanation for his removal was not given at the time.

ESPN reports that Sanchez’s coach, Joshua Fabia, recently requested “every medical document the UFC has received” since the start of Sanchez’s time with the promotion. Dana White said that the UFC then asked Sanchez and Fabia if there were any “pressing” medical concerns that could impact Sanchez’s health. An attorney for Sanchez replied that the fighter “couldn’t guarantee” that his short- or long-term health wasn’t at risk, “as he is not a physician and has not recently undergone neurological evaluation.” The response prompted the promotion to cancel the fight against Cerrone and release Sanchez from his contract, per ESPN.

The Middleweight champion of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter has been vocal recently about his issues with the UFC, citing an incident from October of last year in which he says he and his team were left at the airport in Las Vegas following his loss to Jake Matthews. Yesterday, he shared two videos revealing a disagreement in which he and Fabia confronted the UFC’s broadcast crew over what he believed was unfair treatment during his fights.

Sanchez fought for both the lightweight and welterweight divisions during his time with the UFC. He challenged BJ Penn for the lightweight title at 2009’s UFC 107, ultimately losing to a TKO via doctor’s stoppage. Sanchez is also in the UFC Hall of Fame for his fight with Clay Guida in 2009, which resulted in Sanchez winning by split decision.


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