In the co-main event of Saturday’s UFC Rio Rancho card, The Ultimate Fighter season 1 winner Diego Sanchez had his second fight under the tutelage of controversial coach Joshua Fabia. The bout pitted him against Brazilian berserker Michel Pereira.
Fabia, who calls himself a “self-awareness coach” and has no real martial arts experience, was the lone person in Sanchez’s corner for this fight, and he had some interesting advice for the fighter between rounds.
BloodyElbow transcribed Fabia’s comments to Sanchez, and they’re certainly worth reading.
Fabia to Sanchez between round one and two:
“Five recovery breaths. Five recovery breaths.”
“Sip the water. Breathe in. Good.”
“Five recovery breaths! In the nose, out the mouth.”
“Listen carefully. Listen carefully. You are stopping your motion. Do not wait to see your work. I need forward, forward pressure. I need you to get off the line before you attack. Off the line before you attack.”
“Bee drill. Bee drill. Think of the shadow. Shadow!”
“I need you to get in. Get in, get behind. If it gets tight, if it gets sticky, take him to the ground.”
“Get on top. Give me some ride time. Give me some ground and pound.”
Fabia to Sanchez between round two and three:
“Listen to me. You need to go, alright? You need to go. I need to see you go swinging. You know why? Because you’ve got nothing to lose now.”
“He just won that round with that throw. You had the other round on points, on contact. Alright?”
“So you’ve got to get a takedown. You’ve got to hold him down. You’ve got to work this motherf—ker over. You hear me?”
“You’ve got to do your fucking job. Get to work. Alright?”
“Quit acting like you don’t know how to do it. Do not let him trigger you —” (audio cuts off as broadcast shows replays)
Fabia’s comments to Sanchez left Trevor Wittman, a member of the UFC Rio Rancho broadcast team and a legitimate MMA coach, utterly befuddled. Here’s what he had to say about Fabia’s corner advice.
Trevor Wittman on Joshua Fabia’s corner advice to Diego Sanchez:
“Uhh. Strange. Listening to that last corner work was very strange. 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 known Diego for a long period of time. This is just very strange to me.”
“He’s tough, he’s always got the heart to fight, but again, I don’t see what’s going on right now.
“For me it’s hard to watch because I know Diego, I know how good he is, his wrestling. I feel like he has to go forward, fight! Make it a fight. Sitting on the outside, he is just going to take damage and it is hard to watch.”
Wittman also commented on Fabia’s assertion that Sanchez won the first round.
“Oh he didn’t win the first round. He did not win the first round. The thing is, he needs some technical advice on how he closes the gap, and what he needs to do. Yes, we know his go to, he’s got to wrestle, but give some technical stuff!
Diego Sanchez wound up winning his fight with Pereira, but not the way he planned. After losing two lopsided rounds to the Brazilian — contrary to Fabia’s assertion — he was thrashed by an illegal knee and awarded a DQ win when he was unable to continue.
In 2019, he lost his first fight under Fabia’s tutelage, giving up a decision to Michael Chiesa.
Time will tell if he continues to work with Fabia after this bizarre contest.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 2/14/2020.