TUF 1 winner and UFC veteran Diego Sanchez has never been shy about saying what he thinks, but apparently he has faced some backlash over some recent tweets he sent out. Earlier in the weekend, Sanchez tweeted his support of Johny Hendricks and Jake Ellenberger (the last guy to beat Sanchez) in their bouts against UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre and Rory MacDonald respectively:
This opened up a couple of controversial angles. The easiest one to notice is that he is rooting for two American fighters over two Canadian fighters. We'll get back to that in a minute. The second, and more subtle controversy, is that Sanchez and GSP are affiliated with the same coaches. St. Pierre usually has Greg Jackson in his corner, and Sanchez is currently a member of Jackson's MMA. When asked about picking Hendricks over a "teammate", Sanchez made it clear that he doesn't think GSP is around enough to warrant the teammate talk:
@JordyBuck if you call 3 one week visits in 6 years often. I dont!— Diego Sanchez UFC (@DiegoSanchezUFC) July 19, 2013
It doesn't really matter anyway since Sanchez is at lightweight for now, but his approach definitely isn't the same as another Jackson's fighter, Carlos Condit, in terms of the issue. Condit and GSP considered themselves teammates, and when they fought at UFC 154 both men attended camps that didn't use Jackson so he wasn't put in the middle of things.
Anyway, back to the Canada vs. USA angle - Sanchez did clarify later that he loved Canada, but was going for the American wrestlers. That presumably didn't help much, because just tweeted a few minutes ago about some of the heat he took from Canadian fans for his stance:
Sure did get a lot of shit from the loyal Canadian ufc fans for just saying I'm pulling for a couple friends to win their fights. #wowzer— Diego Sanchez UFC (@DiegoSanchezUFC) July 21, 2013
Wish our american fans were as passionate as you Canadians are maybe were just not as vocal on social media...?— Diego Sanchez UFC (@DiegoSanchezUFC) July 21, 2013
The same Canadian fans talking shit on twitter would be the first with a sharpe and a picture to sign when I come visit. #truth— Diego Sanchez UFC (@DiegoSanchezUFC) July 21, 2013