The professional relationship between UFC boss Dana White and the first-ever ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ winner Diego Sanchez has been on very thin ice in the last few weeks.
This would start with the 16-year UFC’s veteran’s release from the promotion. Sanchez was set to make his last paycheck against Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone earlier this month but would instead be compensated on his way out, without competing in his retirement fight.
This would come as a catalyst due to the actions of Sanchez’s coach, attorney and ‘guru’ Joshua Fabia.
Weeks after parting ways with the UFC, Sanchez would be seen teary-eyed, asking for a meeting with White. The UFC president didn’t welcome it at first, brushing it off. However, things would soon change when Sanchez revealed he had cut ‘professional’ ties with Fabia.
Picking Up The Phone
White was open with support for Sanchez amid him leaving his “batsh*t nuts” coach.
“I haven’t really paid attention to any of that,” White told Yahoo Sports. “I don’t care what that guy says. This is one of those things, I was just telling the media the other day, every time you guys ask me about the Triller guys. It’s like come on, you want a reaction from me. That’s what you’re looking for. I feel the same way about this kid [Joshua Fabia]. All you guys know this kid’s batsh*t nuts and whatever. If Diego needs me, just like the last however many years, Diego’s never been that needy guy. I did see where he came out and said ‘I’ve been trying to talk to Dana for …’ — Diego Sanchez can pick up the phone and call me. Any of those TUF kids.
“I had a falling out a few years ago with Josh Koscheck. If Josh Koscheck picked up the phone and called me, I would talk to Josh Koscheck. If any of those kids needed me, all they’ve got to do is pick up the phone and call me. Diego Sanchez, this will always be his house, always be a part of the history of this company and as long as I’m here, he’ll always be respected for what he’s done for the UFC and The Ultimate Fighter.”
After releasing Sanchez from the company, Joshua Fabia would speak out against Dana White, spreading much slander against the UFC boss. He would even say White had sexual relations with his female fighters.
This, as expected, didn’t bring Dana down. Nor did it lower his respect for Sanchez.
“I don’t really care what anybody says,” White said. “When I tell you I don’t give a f*ck, I could not be more honest when I tell you I don’t give a f*ck. But I love Diego Sanchez, I always will and if Diego needs me all he needs to do is pick up the phone.”
Rekindling The Fire
When asked about Sanchez being brought back to the UFC for one more fight, White was left unsure.
“I don’t know. I honestly don’t know,” White said about bringing Sanchez back for another fight in the UFC. “Even when we were doing his farewell fight, I didn’t love it. I didn’t love the fact that he’s still fighting. But no matter what, if I let Diego go, he’ll probably end up somewhere else. That’s what I was thinking at the time.
“I love the kid so he wanted one more fight so I was going to give it to him and then all hell broke loose and here we are today.”
Dana White has always had a massive respect for the ‘TUF 1’ cast as the season (and its electrifying finale) likely saved the UFC from going down under. For Sanchez, he may just be a phone call away from making up with his former boss.