Featherweight World Grand Prix semi-finalist Emmanuel Sanchez was ready for his rematch against Daniel Weichel. Prior the flash decision to postpone Bellator 241, the two were poised for an inevitable chance at the featherweight belt. Then the world shut down. A night that was full of exciting fights was shifted to confusion and snap decisions. Sanchez didn’t have time to be frustrated, he had a flight to catch before airlines closed. What started with making weight quickly changed to him scurrying to find his flight gate. Six weeks after the postponement Sanchez sat down to discuss his feelings of the March 13 evening.
“I was confused and I was broken,” Sanchez stated.
I was down man. It was rough because I was just engorged meeting all sorts of people, shaking hands, having fun. I’m out in Times Square promoting the fight and everyone seemed fine to me … I had no idea what was going on. I didn’t even know what the Corona virus was, honestly. … It was hard for me to take it serious when my fight gets postponed and I come home to find out that people are beating each other up for toilet paper,” he continued.
His confusion quickly turned to frustration. After all, Sanchez wanted to avenge his split decision loss to Weichel at Bellator 159. A victory secured a potential second shot at Patricio “Pitbull” Freire, another exciting decision at Bellator 209. Sanchez could, potentially, silence all doubt with the featherweight belt wrapped around his waist. But in a flash, that opportunity would have to be put on hold.
“I’m on the flight home thinking, ‘damn I was supposed to be getting ready for a fight and I’m on a flight,'” he explained
“I was getting a little bit of depression … but I’m a strong man of faith. I choose to stay positive no matter what and better days will come from this. This too shall pass and I know something’s going to happen for a reason,” he insisted.
Seven weeks later, Sanchez seems relaxed as he jokes with me about his circumstances. We even trade jabs at MyMMANews writer Matthew Putterman, who also trains at Sanchez’s Roufusport gym in Milwaukee. It’s clear his goals are still right in his reach. What started as a state of depression became a light at the end of the tunnel. The weight lifted off of him with announcements coming from Scott Coker.
“After the June 6 card in Chicago was postponed I knew, well the other side of the bracket which was supposed to be McKee and Caldwell for the final,” He said.
“If they’re postponed that’s because the quarterfinals and our fight is postponed too. So you can’t have the semi-finalists or finalists waiting for another fights so I knew once they postponed that one, they are going to try to put all of us, maybe together, on the same card if its a closed event. Or if not they will make … my fight with Daniel, and Patricio and Pedro, go down too. But I think end of June, July August, which is what Im hoping for,” he finished.
Decisions moving forward for Bellator are still uncertain. There have been reports of fights moving forward on a closed studio lot owned by Paramount or CBS. Perhaps a Bellator fight card is right around the corner. When that day comes, Sanchez will be ready to continue his verge of that featherweight belt in securing a rematch victory.