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Diego Sanchez says he had to ‘disown some family members’ to stay ‘loyal’ to Joshua Fabia

Diego Sanchez is adamant that he isn’t being conned.

Diego Sanchez sits backstage ahead of his UFC Rio Rancho bout. Photo by Todd Lussier/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

As more and more former teammates, fighters and coaches speak out and express concern for Diego Sanchez, the MMA legend has only continued to push back and express his “loyalty” for his controversial “guru” in Joshua Fabia. The original TUF winner is adamant he isn’t being manipulated, and he isn’t being conned.

According to Sanchez, all the criticism towards Fabia are just brainwashing as part of an expensive hidden agenda being pushed by the UFC to try and silence them. He also blames this anti-Fabia “agenda” as a reason he had to show his loyalty and cut ties with concerned family members.

“Being open and honest, I think that’s one big factor about me and Joshua... and also loyalty,” Sanchez said in a recent interview. “I’ve been loyal in not giving up on this guy. Not believing the bullshit of the internet. Even to the point where I’m having to — I’m having family members that, I’m having to disown some family members because it’s that hard. The agenda is so hard, so pushed so hard!

“I’ve got my own family members telling me that they know better than me for my life. They’re telling me ‘get that guy — he’s conning you! He’s gonna f—k your whole life up! Get him out of your life!’ And these people are like ‘This is happening. This is real.’”

It’s worth pointing out that in 2019, coach Mike Winkeljohn also initially claimed that the moment he “tried to figure out what he was doing and tried to challenge him” about Fabia’s training methods, “we were all fired.” Sanchez went on to have Fabia run everything in his career as his lone coach, manager, cornerman, nutritionist and guru.

As Sanchez tells it, he met Fabia at the lowest point of his life, dealing with divorce, addiction and mental health issues, while also feeling under-appreciated in his longterm JacksonWink gym. He says Fabia knew all this, and came in to “help” him.

“This poor guy had his reputation shit on,” Sanchez said. “This guy is (labeled as) a con artist, manipulator, when really, the truth of the story is, this is just the only guy that came around! There was no one else to help me, man! This is one guy that could give me some time and energy! Sacrificed from his own life to help me! Because he knew I was f—ked, he knew I was getting f—ked! He’s seen it! He came into my life. He helped me. He didn’t want to do this MMA s—t.

“(Fabia) not only protect me, teach me how to heal myself, teach me how to get standing straight up again. It’s everything.”

As Sanchez alluded to, Fabia also calls himself a “healer.” Apart from claims about his martial arts skills, his official website also states that Fabia’s “journey as a healer and guide began at just nine years old,” helping his grandfather to “a remarkable 85% full recovery” after a heart attack and brain aneurysm.

Sanchez released footage of arguments Fabia had with UFC staff that eventually led to his retirement fight being scrapped and being unceremoniously released from the promotion. This was followed by even more troubling video, showing Fabia repeatedly punching, slapping and kicking Sanchez in the head, which was supposedly a daily routine so that Sanchez “understands impact.”

A combination of all these things have sparked a lot of concern from many fighters, coaches, fans — and apparently also Sanchez’s own family. The longest tenured UFC fighter maintains that the criticisms aren’t valid, everyone else is wrong, and Fabia is just being unfairly slandered by the promotion.