Report: Diego Sanchez’ Coach Warned Commission of Deadly Submission Threat Ahead of UFC 239

By: Jay Pettry
Feb 20, 2020

The Ultimate Fighting Championship and Diego Sanchez are fully immersed in the Joshua Fabia era.

According to a report from MMAJunkie on Thursday, the coach of Sanchez warned the Nevada State Athletic Commission that Michael Chiesa's life may be in jeopardy in their UFC 239 bout. According to Fabia, the submission he taught Sanchez, which was explained as a standing guillotine choke that transitioned into version of the “Stone Cold Stunner” from pro wrestling, was a lethal one. Fabia claimed that he learned this maneuver during his training in South America.

Given Fabia’s claims, the commission and UFC officials debated the veracity of his statement, and determined, “the likelihood of Fabia and Sanchez executing some type of unknown fatal maneuver seemed negligible.” Following this decision, the commission reiterated to Sanchez and his coach that this was a sporting contest, and not one resulting in life or death as if it were taking place in “Mortal Kombat.”

Ultimately, the move feared by Sanchez and his coach did not come to fruition, as he dropped a one-sided unanimous verdict to his opponent. Throughout the bout, Sanchez was bullied to the canvas, and even gave up a 10-8 third round on all three scorecards. Sanchez spent the majority of the bout playing defense and fighting off choke attempts, and was never remotely in position to pull off his dangerous move.

This was not the only moment the commission took note of Fabia at that event, as he also burned incense in a group locker room. The commission requested that he stop. Additionally, an inspector from the NSAC reportedly noticed Fabia inserting a Q-tip into Sanchez’ nose coated with an unidentified -- at the time; it was later determined to be peppermint extract -- substance. Although it briefly drew the commission’s concern, the officials determined it was not worth stepping in.

Sanchez last competed at UFC Fight Night 167, and took home the win by disqualification when Michel Pereira landed an illegal knee in the third round. The gameplan of Sanchez criticized or questioned by the likes of commentator Joe Rogan, analyst and coach Trevor Wittman, UFC Hall-of-Famer Matt Serra and many others in the community; Sanchez and Fabia replied with a series of statements and interviews to push back.

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