Joshua Fabia, the former coach of Diego Sanchez, has recalled his 2020 interaction with Matt Serra, claiming the former UFC champion was “scared.”
Coaches are often in and out of the headlines, whether for credit they receive for their efforts, such as Trevor Wittman’s striking development of Kamaru Usman, or criticism of their corner work, hark back to the reaction to Jim West’s approach with Aspen Ladd last year. However, not many have received as much negative press as Fabia.
The founder of the ‘School of Self-Awareness’ coached Sanchez, victor of first season of The Ultimate Fighter, during his final years on MMA’s biggest stage. While a host of interactions and moments shone a bad light on Fabia and his partnership with “The Nightmare,” perhaps the most memorable featured UFC Hall of Famer Serra.
In September, Fabia was in Abu Dhabi ahead of Sanchez’s fight with Jake Matthews at UFC 253. While the focus should’ve been on the welterweight veteran’s upcoming bout, Fabia made his way to the headlines after approaching Serra in the hotel, appearing to have a gripe with how “The Terror” referred to him during an interview with Sanchez.
Thanks to the quick-thinking of Din Thomas, who was eating breakfast with Serra, the moment was captured, posted on social media, and later included in the next episode of Dana White: Lookin’ for a Fight.
Now, following a bitter split with Sanchez, Fabia has spoken about his time in the UFC space and reflected on a number of incidents, including his run-in with Serra.
During an interview with Talkin’ MMA, the controversial former coach accused the UFC of manipulating the footage in order to make him look bad.
“Let’s go to the facts. You watch the video, there’s not one piece of that video (that is) out without it being controlled and directed, meaning they’e not letting you hear the full conversation, they’re not showing you unedited footage,” claimed Fabia. “They’ve gotta roll subtitles and roll over the sound, and tell you what’s going on. Well, that’s interesting.”
Discussing where his grudge with Serra originated from, Fabia recalled an interview Sanchez had with the former welterweight titleholder. Perhaps not doing much to improve the attention-seeking reputation some in the community placed on him, Fabia explained that his anger derived from the fact Serra wouldn’t say his name or discuss his school.
“All that’s really happening is, for a year before this, Diego had interviews, mandatorily by the UFC, he had to do an interview with Matt Serra, and this was before the Michel Pereira fight in Albuquerque,” recalled Fabia. “Basically, Diego is trying to talk about things about School of Self (Awareness), and Matt Serra isn’t hearing it. Diego’s saying my name, Diego’s saying School of Self, and Matt Serra just keeps saying, ‘Yeah, your cornerman.’ So he won’t say my f*cking name in the interview.
“So you wanna use my fighter for the content, the fighter’s trying to give you content, you don’t like the content, so now you’re shaping it on the show? That’s what I have a problem with,” asserted Fabia. “I have a problem with—you don’t wanna say coach, you don’t wanna say my name, you don’t wanna say what Diego’s learning, but you wanna slander me and use the show to talk sh*t and belittle me.”
Fabia: Serra & Thomas Didn’t Do Sh*t
While the viral video saw most fans and fighters praise Serra for how he handled himself after being randomly approached at his table, Fabia believes only one man lost the exchange, and doesn’t think that was him.
While physical aggression or escalation never looked on the cards, Fabia cited the fact that neither Serra nor Thomas stood up and ‘did sh*t’ as evidence that the pair were “scared.” The New Mexico native also claimed that the UFC moved Serra out of the hotel on Fight Island following the interaction.
“It’s laughable in my world. Nobody came to save Matt Serra, Matt Serra didn’t stand up and wanna do something, and six foot something Din Thomas didn’t do sh*t but hold the f*cking phone,” noted Fabia. “I’m quite aware of who was scared there, I’m quite aware of who got punked out there… I get very aware of who got punked out when Matt Serra gets moved to a different hotel and we never see him again. That’s the truth of that.”
It’s worth noting that the man Fabia believes he “scared” out of the hotel is a former MMA fighter who shared the cage with the likes of Georges St-Pierre, Frank Trigg, and BJ Penn, among other tough athletes, during a 12-year stint in the sport.
With that in mind, as well as the way Serra handled a troublemaker in a bar a few years back, many will suggest it would take a lot more than a back-and-forth with Fabia to draw fear out of “The Terror.”
What’s your take on Joshua Fabia’s belief that he “punked out” Matt Serra on Fight Island?