What’s Diego Sanchez been up to lately? Inside the cage … not much. A loss to Jake Ellenberger and decision win over Takanori Gomi are the only two fights over the past two years. But outside the cage, Diego has been learning life lessons the hard way. Here he is talking about his downward spiral into rich sports oblivion:
This was the first time in my life that I had money, I had fame, and I had opportunity. I was going for the belt. Real close to getting the belt. Then I moved to San Diego. Had the fame at an all time high, just got Fight of the Year [we all remember that acceptance speech] and I was gonna be fighting for the world championship. And I was just going wow. I became a single bachelor. I was drinking, I was smoking. Had some bad influences around me. And my MMA went down.
This is my opportunity, this is my dream. And it came crashing down. Lost the fight to BJ Penn. Got my head split open. That was the worst outing of my career. I shoulda been humbled then but it didn’t stop. Because then I had a lot more money. All of a sudden, rock bottom. I’ll never forget the moment: sitting in a hotel in Vegas ordering room service and “Your card is declined.” I’m like ‘No way, I should have had at least another 150,000 in the bank.’ And I had a guy who was my best friend that hadn’t just robbed me so bad. He did a ponzi scheme on me. Just emptied my account.
Rock bottom. I had to hit rock bottom to snap out of the life I was living. Honestly what that guy did to me was the best blessing that ever happened to me because i got my life together.
If that’s rock bottom for Diego, it’s a pretty soft rock. I’m sure there are rock bottom stories in Vegas that’ll make your hair white and your teeth curly. Getting declined on room service doesn’t quite stack up to the toxic mess that can be created in a state where gambling and prostitution are both legal. Sanchez is lucky he wasn’t stuck turning tricks on the side of the freeway in order to earn busfare back to Greg Jackson’s.