It’s the end of an era.
UFC last night confirmed with Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole that Diego Sanchez, the winner of The Ultimate Fighter season one, had been released from the promotion.
Sanchez, the last competitor from that breakthrough season to be on the UFC roster, was reportedly informed of his release by letter, sent on 27 April.
Sanchez's contract was terminated by UFC in a letter to Sanchez on April 27. I will have the details in my story
— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) April 30, 2021
Sanchez was set to fight fellow veteran Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC on ESPN 24 on 8 May. However, he withdrew from that bout without explanation on Wednesday.
“The Nightmare” then posted a number of videos on Instagram where he and coach Josh Fabia showcased some recent grievances they have with the promotion, namely being left behind at an airport following a flight back from UFC 253 in Abu Dhabi.
These posts continued on Thursday, when he shared videos of his UFC 253 fighter meetings with the UFC media, including commentators Jon Anik and Paul Felder, and backstage interviewer Megan Olivi. Sanchez and Fabia voiced their dismay at the coverage and commentary they were receiving.
Sanchez defeated Kenny Florian to win the first season of TUF as a middleweight. Since then, he has competed at flyweight, lightweight and welterweight.
In his 16-year tenure with the UFC, Sanchez fought for the UFC lightweight title in a losing effort to BJ Penn, and defeated the likes of Nick Diaz, Florian, Jim Miller, Martin Kampmann, Takanori Gomi, Clay Guida and Ross Pearson during that run.
All in all, Sanchez accumulated a UFC record of 19-13 and is tied second for the most Fight of the Night awards and seventh for most wins in UFC history.