The issue of brain trauma in sports has rightly received widespread coverage over the past several years, and mixed martial arts is no exception.
One fighter frequently cited as having received an outsized degree of punishment is UFC lightweight Diego Sanchez, who has been fighting since 2002, with frequently thrilling, and bloody results.
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However, in an interview with FOX Sports, Sanchez said it is soft tissue damage, but not brain damage.
"To be honest, I don't feel like I've been hit very hard," said Sanchez. "I think when I was fighting at 70, I took a couple hard hits and of course BJ hit me hard, but aside from that, I think it's more cuts than anything. I'm not taking a lot of damage, I've never felt foggy after a fight, I've never had a concussion in a fight and I've never been knocked out.
"As far as taking all the trauma, no, that's not the issue. It's the cuts."
"Eventually maybe after this fight, when I have a break in my schedule, I want to do that surgery that Nick Diaz got where they go in there and scrape the scar tissue and he seemed to have a lot of success with that. I'm getting to that point in my career where that might be a better option for me. Because taking the cuts that I am, I'm always battling the judges and it just hinders me," Sanchez said.
Sanchez fights fellow TUF winner Ross Pearson at UFC Fight Night 42 on June 7 in his in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
"It's extremely motivating and for me, I'm more excited about this than I would be fighting for the title, because more than likely this is probably going to be the last time I get to fight in front of my family and everybody," Sanchez said. "My entire family's going to be there, and all the fans and all the city of Albuquerque. This is a fight city and UFC's never been here, so it's going to be a big thing for our state and our city. I'm an ambassador for the sport here in New Mexico, being the first one to make it to the UFC, winning the show and just being an ambassador for New Mexico and for Albuquerque."
"In my career, I've never had three losses in a row and I'm not planning on starting this time. I feel that I'm unbeatable here in New Mexico with my fans and my people and the energy. I truly feel like I'm unbeatable over here."