Sanchez had proven himself inside the UFC Octagon. But outside, it was a different story.
“I got sucked real deep into the fame and the money,” Sanchez said recently on The MMA Hour. “I was a bachelor and I got sucked into a bad life of partying. I got really into smoking weed, drinking, partying. After my Clay Guida fight, I went down a bad path, man. It was just not a good path. After my loss to B.J. Penn it just got worse. I got really out of control.”
If his careless spending wasn’t enough of a problem, the Albuquerque native became a victim of an investment scam.
“To make it worse, one of my best friends completely robbed me blind,” Sanchez said. “Set me up and embezzled me for about $150,000.”
And so, three months after challenging for the UFC lightweight title, Sanchez was broke.
“In February of 2010, I had hit rock bottom, completely. I was broke. I was down and out, man,” Sanchez recalled. “This guy had run me dry. The money had I set away to pay taxes, I was $230,000 in debt with the I.R.S.”
Sanchez relied on drugs and alcohol to mask his personal and financial difficulties. Sanchez failed to stop even when he had his next fight lined up.
“I was in a bad place. The only place to cover this up, the depression and anxiety, was the drinking and smoking weed. I was smoking so much weed it was ridiculous. And I was still drinking leading up to Hathaway fight. I knew I had no place stepping in the cage. But I had to because I needed the money.”