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UFC legend Diego Sanchez's 5 craziest moments

Diego Sanchez is one of the most popular - and eccentric - UFC fighters of all time.
Diego Sanchez is one of the most popular - and eccentric - UFC fighters of all time.
Scott Newman
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 30 Apr 2021
Top 5 / Top 10

In a piece of news marking the end of an era in the UFC, the original TUF winner Diego Sanchez has been cut by the MMA promotion.

Diego Sanchez debuted in the UFC in 2005 and, over a 15 year period, was involved in some classic fights – as well as some crazy moments.

One of the most eccentric characters in UFC history, The Nightmare, has left fans scratching their heads on numerous occasions – but never failed to entertain.

With that in mind, here are UFC legend Diego Sanchez’s five craziest moments.


#1 Diego Sanchez embraces Tony Robbins and the “YES!” movement

Diego Sanchez is one of the most exciting fighters in UFC history and has been responsible for some of the promotion’s greatest fights.

However, the thing that most fans will remember him most for are his downright crazy entrances, particularly during his run as a lightweight in 2009.

Inspired by famous self-help guru Tony Robbins, Diego Sanchez began to enter to the octagon to the sound of Queen’s We Will Rock You, all while pumping his fist and yelling “YES!” at the top of his lungs.

In his book Unlimited Power, Robbins had suggested that this ritual would bring an individual to their maximum positive mindset – something Diego Sanchez had clearly taken to heart.

Whether or not it helped The Nightmare is debatable, but the “YES!” chanting took off hugely with UFC fans, who would often chant along with him.

And of course, a few years later, the ritual took on another life when it was co-opted by WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan, whose own “YES!” movement led him to a WrestleMania main event.


#2 Carrying a cross to the octagon

The “YES!” chants weren’t the only curious entrance made by Diego Sanchez during his UFC tenure. Easily his most bizarre octagon walk came in 2012 for his fight with Jake Ellenberger.

Not only did Diego Sanchez walk out to an odd piece of music apparently inspired by Psalms 150, but he also emerged carrying a huge, bejeweled crucifix while seemingly ranting to himself.

To the average UFC fan, it looked for all intents and purposes like The Nightmare had embraced his inner vampire hunter and may as well have had cloves of garlic hanging around his neck.

This highly memorable entrance led to an equally memorable fight, as Diego Sanchez went to war with Ellenberger for three rounds.

But despite coming away with a loss, his bizarre octagon walk was the main talking point from the fight.


#3 Threatening to use the Stone Cold Stunner against Michael Chiesa

Reports suggested Diego Sanchez was planning to use a Stone Cold Stunner against Michael Chiesa.
Reports suggested Diego Sanchez was planning to use a Stone Cold Stunner against Michael Chiesa.

It might sound incredible given his history of eccentricity, but if anything, Diego Sanchez became even stranger after hooking up with coach Joshua Fabia in 2019.

The head of Albuquerque’s School of Self-Awareness, Fabia’s qualifications as an MMA coach – or lack thereof – have been discussed on multiple occasions.

But the strangest moment involving Diego Sanchez and Fabia came in 2019, prior to The Nightmare’s fight with Michael Chiesa at UFC 239.

According to reports, the fight was almost nixed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission when Fabia warned that Diego Sanchez had been practicing a technique learned from paramilitary groups in South America and could potentially kill Chiesa with it.

Reportedly, the move looked a lot similar to former WWE Superstar Steve Austin’s Stone Cold Stunner.

Understandably, the Commission softened their stance once they realized the chances of Diego Sanchez actually delivering the move were slim – and the fight went ahead, with Chiesa winning a clear-cut decision.

The incident was the first indicator that Diego Sanchez’s new coach had only increased his levels of eccentricity in his quest for UFC success.


#4 Appearing in a bizarre stevia video with Dan Quinn

Many UFC fans will not have heard of Dan Quinn – a low-level MMA fighter who put together a record of 5-6-1 on the regional circuit between 2001 and 2010.

However, just over a decade ago, Quinn became a cult figure for a series of bizarre, rambling YouTube videos that saw him advocating the use of the now-common sweetener stevia.

According to Quinn, by blending stevia with water and removing the “toxic foam” that was produced, he had created a substance that could burn fat, enhance performance and even heal the sick.

The claims were bizarre, to say the least, but incredibly, Quinn found a believer in the form of Diego Sanchez.

Prior to The Nightmare’s 2009 fight with Joe Stevenson, a YouTube video emerged showing Sanchez with Quinn, blending stevia and water during his training camp.

Diego Sanchez claimed that not only would the substance make him the most ripped fighter the UFC had ever seen, but it’d also helped to cure his girlfriend after she found a lump on her breast.

To say this was an eyebrow-raiser would be an understatement – but shortly after, Diego Sanchez cut all ties with Quinn, who faded from the public eye after a number of legal issues.


#5 Diego Sanchez’s general behavior on The Ultimate Fighter

Diego Sanchez initially rose to fame on the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter.

And while it was his skills inside the octagon that allowed him to become the first TUF winner, his eccentric character only added to his popularity.

During the tapings of the show, Diego Sanchez was involved in a number of strange incidents. One saw him get into a serious spat with castmate Stephan Bonnar over his apparently incorrect use of asparagus.

Another saw him get horribly drunk during a night out, to the point that he believed aliens were coming to get him – and that one of the TUF cameramen was one of them.

A massive freak-out ensued, with Diego Sanchez having to be physically restrained by teammate Kenny Florian.

And of course, that’s not mentioning his most memorable TUF moment – performing a yoga session in the midst of a thunderstorm to harness the storm's energy.

By the time TUF was over, not only was it clear that Diego Sanchez was a serious prospect inside the octagon, but it was also evident that he was a pretty crazy guy outside it, too.

Published 30 Apr 2021
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