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Diego Sanchez and coach fire back at ‘smear campaign’: ‘Don’t worry about our code talk’

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Longtime UFC vet and new coach Joshua Fabia have been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism following Sanchez’s fight against Michel Pereira last week in Rio Rancho, NM.

UFC Fight Night: Sanchez v Pereira Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Jan Blachowicz may have fought his way into a title shot in the main event of UFC Rio Rancho on Saturday, but the most notable narrative of the evening belonged to the co-main event. That’s where longtime fan favorite Diego Sanchez took on high-flying wildman Michel Pereira.

The bout would eventually end in a DQ loss for Pereira, the result of an illegal knee. And while there’s been plenty of talk as to the merits of the stoppage and the commission’s decision, there’s been just as much talk about Sanchez’s new-found fighting style and cornering from coach Joshua Fabia. Fabia heads up the ‘School of Self Awareness’ in Albuqueque, NM, which has seemingly become something of a home-base for Sanchez after his split from longtime camp Jackson-Wink.

During Sanchez’s fight with Pereira, Fabia gave plenty of general advice. Things like “get on top,” or “if it gets sticky, take him to the ground.” But there were seemingly few specific instructions. And lines like “Bee drill. Bee drill. Think of the shadow,” seemed to leave the commentary more confused than anything for much of the fight.

“Listening to that last corner work was very strange,” said color commentary analyst, and longtime MMA coach, Trevor Wittman during the fight. “I mean, I don’t know if it was code, or what, but he was talking about being ‘tight’ and ‘sticky,’ ‘keep the movement,’ but ‘don’t keep the movement’? Like, this is—I’ve know Diego for a long period of time. This is just very strange to me.”

Fellow play-by-play analysts Daniel Cormier and Brendan Fitzgerald largely seemed to agree. But, while Joe Rogan wasn’t on the call that evening, it seems he’s enough of the embodiment of UFC commentary to be the target of a response from Fabia over the criticism coming from the booth.

“It’s really awesome you and @Joerogan know how to talk shit without saying my name
But make sure it’s in metadata to be connected and found in search engines,” Fabia wrote on Instagram, apparently in response to an MMA Junkie post highlighting his cornering work.
“You think you’re slick
I am aware of what you are doing and you will be exposed for your biases
Very classy smear campaign
You guys are real gentlemen
Got tell you I really feel the love”

Sanchez also responded to the Junkie post, telling the site, “Don’t worry about our code talk It’s for us not you,” and then went on to give a more thorough response to the criticism in his own Instagram post:

“When the media is bullying don’t allow them to get away with it, call them out on there shit publicly!” Sanchez wrote, tagging Junkie with a #fakenews label.

It doesn’t seem that Sanchez’s faith in his new coaching team is about to be shaken by any outside critique. And that means that fans have something interesting to watch for, the next time Sanchez fights.