Diego Sanchez is standing up for Jackson Wink MMA in the face of the gym’s breakup with Donald Cerrone.

On Wednesday, Cerrone (33-11 MMA, 20-8 UFC) conducted an interview with UFC commentator Joe Rogan on his “JRE MMA Show” in which he aired many grievances with the famed gym. “Cowboy” specifically targeted co-owner Mike Winkeljohn, who is one of the most notable coaches in the game.

Cerrone said he was unhappy with how the gym functions, calling it a “puppy mill” that does formulaic training. Among other things, Cerrone was angry that Winkeljohn so readily chose to work with Mike Perry (12-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC), who Cerrone fights Nov. 10 at UFC Fight Night 139, and felt that decision was was based on money rather than loyalty.

Winkeljohn fired back at Cerrone in an interview with MMAjunkie, and now Sanchez (27-11 MMA, 16-11 UFC), a long-time member of the Jackson Wink MMA team, has come forward in support of his gym. He released a lengthy social media post on the situation and, in the process of claiming he would fight Cerrone at the drop of the hat, doubled down on the narrative of “Cowboy” being a poor, selfish teammate (via <a href=”

@joerogan @jacksonwink_mma is on fire we’re on the ⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️ up’s bro no lie I have been here longer than anyone and seen the many stages of our evolution of this team!!! We’re stronger than ever our defeats only helped us to grow and we are coming into the prosperous stage just ? and see!!! @cowboycerrone had been so busy building his empire the past three four years and he’s done a fantastic job doing it but that’s been his focus he’s never been here!!! Maybe a grappling class here or there a sparring every 6 months??? That’s not a team mate it’s just someone who is out only for themselves. I’d try to give him a round if we crossed paths here or there the last time he got me real good with a side kick to the liver ??????…. I see it all!! I treat this like a job 9-5 I come everyday I stay when everyone leaves to rest and eat.. so I see it all!! and in the past ten years cowboy never went out of his way to help me get ready for a fight not ounce! That’s why I posted previous about why I was #teamplatinum @platinummikeperry is here to give me rounds if I need them and helped me more in one camp than cowboy did in ten years?… don’t bad mouth my gym or my coach @mmacoachwink we’re good peeps striving to better our city our state and our sport!!!! If Perry falls out come November ILL BE READY TO FILL IN WITH ZERO HESITATION! And we know where @gregjacksonmma will be #loyalty #itsnotallaboutmoney #realtalk

Hours later, Sanchez released another post. This one was in reaction to Cerrone’s allegations about Jackson Wink MMA wrestling coach Chad Smith. Cerrone accused Smith of being fired from a previous coaching position for peddling steroids.

Sanchez has worked closely with Smith over the years, and he did not take kindly to Cerrone’s comments about his alleged past (via <a href=”

What if he was talking about your brother your wrestling coach? How would you respond? BTW this is all BS and my coach @chadinspiremma is so legit that’s why I chose him to corner me and be one of leaded into a battle where my life is on the line!!!! @cowboycerrone your not my homie anymore! And if someone was trashing @superdwrestling publicly like this you wouldn’t have it @bmfranch

The fact Sanchez is the one to so eagerly come to the defense of Jackson Wink MMA makes the story all the more intriguing. Although “The Ultimate Fighter 1” winner has spent the majority of his more than 16-year career fighting out of the Albuquerque, N.M., gym, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing.

Several years ago, Sanchez parted ways with Jackson Wink MMA because of the relationship the gym had with then-UFC champion Georges St-Pierre. “The Nightmare” was rising in the ranks and in position to potentially become a challenger to St-Pierre’s welterweight title, so Sanchez relocated to San Diego.

Sanchez eventually rejoined Jackson Wink MMA and has been part of the team since. Given his response to Cerrone, his allegiances in this situation are clear.

For more on the UFC Fight Night 139, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.


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