Angela Hill can understand some of the grievances that Diego Sanchez has raised in recent days both before and after his release from the UFC. But she also believes part of his message is lost in translation when it’s come from his head coach, Joshua Fabia.
Hill was part of the UFC broadcast team in Abu Dhabi that sat with Sanchez prior to his last fight against Jake Matthews, and Fabia took aim at the commentary that happened during his previous appearance in a showdown against Michel Pereira.
Fabia told the commentary team to “cut the bullsh*t” and stop taking “low blows” against Sanchez despite the fact that a different team was involved with his Pereira bout. He also complained about the commentary that was directed at him as he coached Sanchez during the event.
“It was my first time sitting in on fighter meetings, so I didn’t really feel like I should say anything,” Hill said about the incident when speaking during UFC Vegas 26 media day. “But at that point, I think I had heard Fabia talk about himself so much and the criticism that he was getting that I had to say something.”
The ugly confrontation put Fabia in the spotlight just before the UFC parted ways with Sanchez after removing him from his upcoming fight against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. Sanchez was also released from his UFC contract after 16 years spent with the promotion.
In the days since his release, Sanchez has done a few interviews explaining his side of the story, and Hill absolutely sympathizes with some of his frustrations.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the way things were handled during that fighter meeting when Fabia intervened.
“I watched Diego’s long interview with Anthony Smith last night, and he makes a lot of points that I think a lot of fighters agree with, but then he goes on his tangents — his conspiracy theory tangents as well,” Hill said. “It’s kind of hard to not feel for Diego and not understand his point of view. Everyone’s point of view comes from whatever experiences and circumstances they have, and to feel like your gym isn’t backing you compared to your other teammates. To feel the UFC isn’t backing you compared to other people. I feel for him.
“I think it was good that he did that interview, because it gives more perspective as opposed to saying, ‘Oh he’s getting taken advantage of.’ This Fabia guy is the only one in his corner, so of course he’s going to defend him, so I understand. But it was pretty crazy. I think the way he just said ‘let’s stop the sh*t talk’ immediately put everyone on guard. I just wished he talked more about Diego feeling upset about the whole commentary thing and everything. I wish he talked more about that than the sh*t talk that his school was getting online.”
Sanchez has stuck by Fabia before and after his UFC release while a slew of former teammates such as Cerrone and Rashad Evans have encouraged him to cut the coach out of his life.
Hill sees why Sanchez might be trusting in Fabia so much, but ultimately she was much more impressed by what the one-time UFC title contender had to say for himself in that recent interview than the confrontation staged by Fabia in Abu Dhabi.
“Maybe that’s the type of person who will confront people about something when Diego’s too reserved to say it,” Hill said about Fabia. “I thought it was interesting, it was like the most lucid interview he’s had in years.
“I think he made a lot of valid points that the video of the backstage commentary berating, he made points that that video didn’t really make. Maybe those were the steps that he needed to get his view out there. He needed people to talk so much sh*t that he finally came out and expressed himself. It’s a weird one. It’s really weird.”