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Diego Sanchez: How many billions does ‘greedy’ UFC need before paying fighters properly?

Diego Sanchez compares his experiences as a long-time veteran with the UFC and as a recent signee of Eagle FC.

Diego Sanchez receives his UFC Hall-of-Fame induction in 2019.
Diego Sanchez receives his UFC Hall-of-Fame induction in 2019.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Dana White has often expressed his gratitude towards the cast members of the very first Ultimate Fighter season. Diego Sanchez, in particular, will always be in the UFC’s good graces, at least according to White.

“Diego Sanchez, this will always be his house,” White said in an interview shortly after Sanchez’s UFC release in 2021. “He will always be a part of the history of this company. As long as I’m here, he’ll always be respected for what he’s done for the UFC and ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’

“I love Diego Sanchez. I always will. If Diego needs me, all he needs to do is pick up the phone.”

Sanchez, however, isn’t feeling the love. Now signed with Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Eagle FC, the 40-year-old veteran had this to say about his former employers.

“I do think there are a lot of things that can be improved in the UFC that they aren’t putting effort into improving,” Sanchez said in his recent interview with BJPenn.com’s Just Scrap Radio.

“It’s just a business, and it’s just about money. Fighting is a different sport as combat is where people get injured and bleed and sacrifice their bodies for the entertainment of the fans and the building of the company.

“With that being said, this ain’t some normal business, you need to give some care and some love… I just let it go and I’m happy and grateful to be in a new organization that values me and recognizes me for the legend that I am. Even if it is a pay cut, it’s about the values.”

According to Sanchez, the UFC will go bankrupt first before implementing the necessary changes.

“I see it going under before it changes,” he said. “I see something newer and better that takes it out or it goes bankrupt. In the end, UFC they have done a great job of expanding the sport but it’s a greedy organization.

“How many billions do you have to get before you start paying the fighters more than 10 percent of the revenue? You have the NFL and the NBA are getting paid 50%, other sports are getting paid 60%.

“The UFC isn’t paying fighters. We are the fighters that get f–d up and they just throw you out like old trash.”

Sanchez spent 15 out of his 20 years as a professional fighter in the UFC, which made him a beloved figure in the sport. Ultimately, he says he holds no resentment despite his opinions.

“There’s no reason to hold a grudge,” Sanchez said, speaking about the UFC. “A grudge will only kill you, a grudge will only hurt you, a grudge will only put you in the chains in the shackles of hatred and that isn’t Diego Sanchez’s positive energy.

“I have no resentment over what has happened and transpired at the end of my career in the UFC.”

Sanchez is set to take on fellow UFC alum Kevin Lee at Eagle FC 46 this Saturday in Miami, Florida.