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Sanchez Explains Why He Ditched ‘Nightmare’ Nickname, Makes Vague Reference to Getting Scammed Out of $175K

(One man’s “rock bottom” is another man’s awesome Saturday night. Pic: MMA Mania)

Diego Sanchez sort of unexpectedly dominated the action on Tuesday during the official media conference call for the Versus Network’s upcoming UFC Live broadcast. The newly nickname-free fighter talked openly about the hard times he suffered in the midst of back-to-back losses to BJ Penn and John Hathaway, said a return to lightweight is currently impossible (owing to a new weightlifting regimen courtesy of Olympic-wrestler-turned-Team-Jackson-middleweight Willie Parks) and explained why he recently decided to ditch his longtime moniker as “The Nightmare.” Turns out, it just wasn’t positive enough for him.

“I let the ‘Nightmare’ go,” Sanchez told reporters. “A nightmare is something that is negative and kind of evil. I don’t want to represent that. I want to represent positivity and I want to represent the good. I look back on my whole career (as) the ‘Nightmare’ (and) the nightmare was myself. I was my own nightmare. All the times I fell off track and got into drinking, got into smoking weed, the things that brought me down, the partying. That was my nightmare. I was my own nightmare. I’m grown up (now). I’m going to let that name go … I thought about changing it to ‘The Dream’ but I thought that would be a little bit out there, so I’m just going to stick with Diego Sanchez.”

Oddly, Sanchez also made vague mention of getting swindled out of $175,000 during that dark period he spent training away from Greg Jackson’s team. Details, such as they are, after the jump.

Sanchez made it sound like he was pretty much trying to train himself after leaving Jackson’s camp in New Mexico for San Diego back in 2007. He says he was drifting from separate grappling training sessions to kickboxing training sessions without any real full-time sparring partners to keep him on point. Then came the Penn fight at UFC 107 in 2009, when things really started to fall apart.

“I went through a real rough situation in San Diego and it got me into a lot of emotional depression,” Sanchez said “That weighed hard on me. The BJ Penn fight, it was really hard for me, the way I lost – getting cut up and getting hands put on me like that. That never happened to me (before) in my career …

“I hit rock bottom after the BJ Penn fight, I really did. I blew through all my money. I made some bad decisions. I fell in (with) this scam artist. (He) scammed me real bad. I was embezzled (for) over $175,000 … I just had to come back home. I needed my family’s love and I was just humbled, one hundred percent.”

Sanchez did not elaborate on the lost money and nobody asked him about it (at least not before we got bored and hung up after about 45 minutes). He did say he felt like he had “no business” being in the cage during his loss to Hathaway at UFC 114 and after that defeat, decided he needed to go back home. Just five weeks prior to his fight against Paulo Thiago at UFC 121, Sanchez moved back to New Mexico, where Jackson has been “reinventing” him ever since.

“I moved out of the city, I moved out to the mountains,” Sanchez said. “That was best thing I ever did. Being out there, I don’t even have cable at my house. I just get real spiritual, real close to God. I just make sure I get all my work done.”

Sanchez will fight Martin Kampmann on March 3 in what could turn out to be a defacto No. 1 contender match if the UFC makes good on plans to have champ Georges St. Pierre move to middleweight after his upcoming bout with Jake Shields.

Cagepotato Comments

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Angry Whopper- February 23, 2011 at 1:56 pm
I've enjoyed watching Sanchez since day one. Admittedly, things got a little sketchy around the YES!! period and the drop to lightweight. He's too big for lightweight anyway.

Good on him to have his shit sorted, to have gained some maturity and to be coming back. Hopefully stronger than ever. WW is gonna need a champ/contender with some charisma.

Fitch, Alves, Koscheck and that British guy GSP fought (can't remember his name) aren't the most likable characters. Y'know?
Turd Furgeson- February 23, 2011 at 7:07 am
Also, hear*
FaH Q NL15- February 23, 2011 at 5:54 am
in all seriousness, Diego "ghostboner" Sanchez might work.
Turd Furgeson- February 23, 2011 at 5:53 am
In related news: did you guys here Diego Sanchez patented the Yes! Cartwheel, and it only cost $175,000?
Turd Furgeson- February 23, 2011 at 5:51 am
Diego "skeletor" Sanchez
Diego "Viva Hate" Sanchez
Diego "dranokills" Sanchez
Diego "danomite" Sanchez
Diego "ReX13" Sanchez
Diego "ghostboner" Sanchez
k-onda- February 23, 2011 at 5:40 am
Damn, this guy needs a cult, bad! Greg Jackson should do just fine
FaH Q NL15- February 23, 2011 at 4:46 am
... David Carradine?
youenjoyzedella- February 23, 2011 at 4:41 am
@ Skeletor and @ Viva Hate...

You guys had me fucking dying with the nicknames...
theiceman00000- February 23, 2011 at 4:25 am
Diego 'positive dream' Sanchez
Endless Soldier- February 23, 2011 at 1:53 am
@teetee It's the Buffer 360, in a whole new take.
teetee- February 22, 2011 at 10:29 pm
I really want his new nicknam to be "Yes!".. so i can hear Buffer go "Diegoooo YES!( while cartwheeling..) SANNCHEZZZZ!!! I would tear up.
jimbonics- February 22, 2011 at 9:38 pm
Diego "Why Isn't Anyone Helping Me?" Sanchez
Diego "Don't Ever Ask Me That Again, Jew." Sanchez
Props if you get the second reference.
cecils_pupils- February 22, 2011 at 8:19 pm
@RwR - after protecting himself from being forced to perform ghey sax, he convinces himself to join the wrestling team where he develops a penchant for the oil check.
darciesdaddy- February 22, 2011 at 7:58 pm
Danomite, 8 teaspoons of stevia a day will eat up $175K pretty quick.
Endless Soldier- February 22, 2011 at 7:41 pm
Whatever the case, his crazy-ass signature Nightstare similar to the touching gloves part of Sanchez vs. Penn must remain!
danomite- February 22, 2011 at 7:27 pm
It's good to see Diego kicked that Stevia habit. I heard he was starting to freebase it. On a related note, Has anybody checked Dan Quinn's rant videos lately to see if he mentions anything about being 175K richer?
Dana_Plight- February 22, 2011 at 7:27 pm
How about Diego "Martin Kampmann" Sanchez? That would be as confusing as Diego "Diego Sanchez" Sanchez. Ok how about Diego "wolf howling at the moon" Sanchez...real spiritual and shit
AndyInflammatory- February 22, 2011 at 7:22 pm
fuck is that?
fatbellyfrank- February 22, 2011 at 6:18 pm
Andy inflammatory beat me to it
djp1988- February 22, 2011 at 6:15 pm
Diego "Master Betty" Sanchez.
RwilsonR- February 22, 2011 at 6:10 pm
LOL @ cecils - do you think he protected himself from sucking off the Quarterback under the bleachers, or joined in?
RwilsonR- February 22, 2011 at 6:07 pm
Diego "Ali Sonoma was just a cover for, you know..." Sanchez
GistoftheFist- February 22, 2011 at 6:01 pm
Diego Doubledown Sandwich...I mean Sanchez.
cecils_pupils- February 22, 2011 at 5:46 pm
I heard that the guy who swindled Diego out of 175K convinced him he had a time machine, and with the right investment level of course, Diego could go back in time and defeat BJ Penn. Instead, Diego used the time machine to go back to high school and be his own bodyguard.
DARKHORSE06- February 22, 2011 at 5:33 pm
Diego "It Puts The Lotion in the Basket" Sanchez