Casual fan or UFC hard-nut, it’s been difficult to escape a story in the press lately about Joshua Fabia and Diego Sanchez’s ‘partnership’.
Without research, that’s probably as much as you know. No headline seems to be giving anything away about what’s occurred, what the background is between the two stars, and why it’s even a story.
Here’s the lowdown:
WARNING: It’s a hard debacle to follow.
If you’re an MMA fan, you probably know of Diego Sanchez. He’s a 39-year-old UFC fighter, who holds the record for the longest uninterrupted tenure on the UFC roster – he was on it, continuously without being dropped, from 2005 until May 2021.
Joshua Fabia was his trainer.
He doesn’t have a Wikipedia page, and his Instagram account is set to private. That isn’t to say, however, that he’s not well-known within the UFC sphere.
Diego Sanchez started working with him in 2019, after, by his own admission, he ‘just happened to be a fighter when I discovered a method that implements universal concepts & principles with a structure that has transformed my reality of time and energy, the only two true commodities.’
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They both come from the same city – Albuquerque in New Mexico – from where Josh runs his regime – the one that Diego discovered – known as ‘The School of Self-Awareness‘. It’s some sort of company which sells ‘transformation programmes’, based on meditation and other weird philosophical stuff, in order to help willing participators ‘discover themselves’. Note that, on their official website, it goes on a lot about transformation, but not about what the end result actually is.
He’s somehow got a background in MMA too, but the beginning of his coaching career with Sanchez was the beginning of the public’s awareness of him and his questionable ways.
As you might be able to tell, it’s already getting weird, which is, coincidentally, the word most frequently used to describe this entire situation.
But what is the situation?
Well, as we described, Fabia, who seems to fancy himself as some sort of Shaolin Monk/Sensei, practices hobbies that the average Joe on the street might describe as ‘weird’. His general persona, and previous actions, could be described in exactly the same way.
He – and his partnership with Diego – has been in the fight news before on multiple occasions, for many reasons, one of which being his (and Diego’s) weird outbursts about the way the UFC referees, commentators and other influential figures have treated them.
One of these came in the form of a hijacked meeting, in which he interrupted a conversation between Paul Felder, Megan Olivi and others to blast them for not ‘standing up for the people who need to be stood up for’ and a few in the form of Instagram videos, which were posted on Diego’s Instagram feed and have since been deleted.
In each circumstance, a weird aftermath would evolve, which sometimes involved Diego defending Fabia against all of the people who disputed his legitimacy and his motives.
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Not to overkill the ‘weird’ angle, but other quirks that have led to fans branding Fabia bizarre have been the fact that in some of Sanchez’s subsequent fights, Fabia was the only person in the corner with him, the fact that they train with no equipment, and the fact that Sanchez had no ‘team’ – Fabia was his sole manager, mentor and coach.
When he’s not in the news about some odd training regime, like chasing his fighters around with a knife, or slating the head honchos of the UFC, OR teaching Diego how to perform a dangerous ‘death choke’ grapple on Michael Chiesa before his first fight under Joshua’s guidance…
No one speaks about Fabia. Why? Because he isn’t actually famous for any reason other than the ‘creepy leech’ that UFC fans globally view him as. He’s just a regular guy who happens to have started to train a famous fighter.
Get to the point…
The actual reason that this has been in the press so much recently is because Diego Sanchez just split all ties with him. That’s the story. Which, if you’ve got to this point, you might understand has been a sigh of relief to UFC fans around the globe who were concerned about Diego’s partnership with the man.
It’s as simple as that. But the reason it’s been so talked about is because of events that preceded to this, including the cancellation of Diego’s last fight (his scheduled ‘retirement fight’), the revelation that Fabia asked the UFC for access to all of Sanchez’s previous medical records (don’t ask, we don’t know either), Diego’s refusal to confirm that he hadn’t suffered from any brain-health problems in the past and his subsequent release from the UFC, and much more.
The thing is, while Fabia is regarded by many to be downright weird (Dana White called him ‘batsh*t nuts’), Sanchez has had his own struggles with mental health in the past. When he was younger, he suffered with bulimia, and has never been far from the limelight.
And – putting two and two together – this led some people to worry that Fabia was taking advantage of him – that he’d brainwashed him, even.
Just check some of the comments on the Instagram post we shared above. I mean, after all, meditation, spirituality and self-awareness have long been associated with scam artists. While some people are true believers, others pass off meditation as complete trash and think that everyone involved is in it to make some money, in the same way as fortune tellers or palm readers, for example.
Some people think this is what’s happened to Diego all along, hence the collective relief when they heard the news. On the notion that Sanchez’s fragile mental state and previous issues may have lead him to be an easy target, some are convinced that Joshua Fabia is actually just a professional con-artist, using Diego to advertise his ‘spiritual healing’ methods and to make a living. He came onto the scene as Diego was going through a divorce, at a low point, and, as some people believe, ‘made him feel like he (Josh) was the only person who cared about him (Diego).’
The latest instalment in the debacle is that, since their split, Fabia has now started firing off shots of his own in the press. He’s even had the audacity to call Sanchez weird on a radio show in the past few days.
It seems this unfortunate humdrum of a situation may run on for some time yet. Most people are just glad that Sanchez is out of there. Hopefully, someone’s finally made him see sense.