UFC fighter Donald Cerrone’s chaotic week leading into UFC on ESPN 24 took a turn down the homophobic path on Wednesday when speaking about his original opponent on the event, Diego Sanchez, and Sanchez’s controversial trainer Joshua Fabia.
Cerrone was scheduled to fight Sanchez, his former Jackson-Fink teammate, at Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 24 event in what was likely to be Sanchez’s final professional fight. But Sanchez was pulled from the fight and released by the UFC last week after Fabia asked the promotion for every medical document pertaining to Sanchez’s UFC career ahead of the Cerrone fight.
According to UFC president Dana White, Fabia’s request made the UFC question if Sanchez was fit to fight. The TUF 1 winner was pulled from the fight and released from the company after he wasn’t able to satisfy UFC officials’ concerns that he had no short or long-term health issues heading into the fight.
When asked about the Sanchez-Fabia situation, Cerrone tread once again into using homosexuality as a pejorative way to describe Sanchez and Fabia’s relationship.
“It’s hard to be mad at [Sanchez] now because I don’t know if it’s him guiding the horse. I think he’s just running blind in this other Jumoke, his new lover is like showing him down the path,” Cerrone said during the UFC on ESPN 24 media day press conference. “Can’t really be mad at the kid you know? Or the old man I should say but really, it’s his cult leader and lover that took over his life and I feel bad for you.”
Cerrone offered cruder words when asked about Sanchez’s claim that Fabia tapped Sanchez out the first time they trained together. “I think your idea of tapped and my idea tapped are different. I think Diego got tapped in 40 seconds for sure. Different kinds of stroke for different kinds of folks, buddy,” Cerrone said with a grin. The comment drew laughter from some in attendance.
There is plenty to criticize when it comes to Fabia. He bragged to the Nevada State Athletic Commission that he was teaching Sanchez a “death choke” maneuver ahead of a fight in 2019. He has a history of unprovoked confrontations with UFC officials and fighters with little rationale. Video exists of him chasing fighters with a knife as part of a training exercise at the UFC Performance Institute. Multiple people in the MMA community have compared Fabia’s School of Self-Awareness to a cult.
But Cerrone instead fell back to his own history of behavior. Cerrone said UFC legend Daniel Cormier “fought like a fag” after 2016’s UFC 200. He later apologized. He called another fighter, Jamie Varner, the same homophobic slur ahead of a 2010 WEC fight.
In a statement to MMA Fighting, Fabia responded to Cerrone:
“‘Cowboy’ is a lying bigot and has shown who he really is. Sad he is brainwashed by UFC and can’t see it. He is probably gonna be in the hospital Saturday and think it’s cool cause he got his adrenaline fix. Sad nobody cares enough about him to let him go in after he says in media he needs his head to heal. So the UFC promotes homophobia now? UFC supports hate in its community and that’s a fact.”