Eddie Alvarez. Photo courtesy of AlvarezFight.com.
Following K.J. Noons being stripped of the EliteXC lightweight title last month, Nick Diaz and rising contender Eddie Alvarez will now compete for the vacant championship at the organization’s scheduled November 8 show in Reno, Nevada.
EliteXC officially announced the bout during Saturday night’s telecast of “Heat” on CBS. The November event will be televised live on Showtime and will be headlined by EliteXC middleweight champion Robbie Lawler defending his belt in a rematch against Joey Villasenor.
Since suffering a second-round TKO loss due to a cut to Noons last year, Diaz has reeled off three straight victories - two of them in EliteXC. After defeating Muhsin Corbbrey at EliteXC’s “Return of the King” event in June, Diaz followed up with a wild TKO win over journeyman Thomas Denny on July 26.
Alvarez meanwhile has been boosting his stock with a couple of impressive victorious over highly ranked lightweights while fighting for DREAM over in Japan. Alvarez earned an unanimous decision over Joachim Hansen in the opening round of DREAM’s inaugural lightweight grand prix and then defeated Tatsuya Kawajiri in a fight-of-the-year candidate to earn a spot in the tournament finals before an eye injury forced him to withdraw from the title opportunity.
LOS ANGELES – KJ Noons of San Diego has been stripped of his EliteXC lightweight title. The announcement was made late Friday by EliteXC Head of Fight Operations, Jeremy Lappen.
The foremost reason EliteXC is taking this action, Lappen said, was due to Noons’ reluctance to defend against leading 160-pound contender Nick Diaz of Stockton, Calif.
“We are stripping KJ of his championship belt for refusing to defend against Diaz,’’ Lappen said. “It’s a very unfortunate situation but we cannot have belt-holders who refuse to fight the top contenders. We want champions who will fight anyone, anytime, anyplace. That’s the mentality all champions should have.
Nick Diaz. Photo by Esther Lin/EliteXC.
Days after EliteXC lightweight champion K.J. Noons issued a formal statement to the media concerning his reasoning behind turning down a proposed title defense against Nick Diaz, Cesar Gracie, Diaz’s longtime trainer, has posted a response on his fight team’s official website, Graciefighter.com.
The post breaks down Noons’ statement piece-by-piece, offering the camp’s thoughts on a variety of things that Noons elaborated on, including his lack of promotion by EliteXC, his boxing career, his salary, and his father among other things.
Below are some excerpts from their response.
Diaz’s camp on Noons decision to turn down the Diaz bout to pursue his boxing career despite wanting fight Eddie Alvarez instead: “Earth to KJ; you don’t have a boxing career. No one in the boxing world knows who you are. Another MMA company would have paid you less and not given you a title shot, especially when you were 1-1. If you will not fight Diaz due to a breach of contract by EliteXC then why would you fight Alvarez for the same terms?”
K.J. Noons. Photo by Esther Lin/EliteXC.
Days after being slammed by EliteXC management for deciding not to accept a proposed title defense against Nick Diaz, EliteXC lightweight champion K.J. Noons has issued a formal statement regarding the situation to the media.
The complete, unedited statement can be read after the jump.
Takanori Gomi. Photo property of PRIDE FC Worldwide.
Here’s a little recap of what we might have missed over the past few days or so…
Gomi, Trigg Win at Sengoku IV
Former PRIDE standouts Takanori Gomi and Frank Trigg were victorious in their respective bout Sunday morning at World Victory Road’s “Sengoku IV” event in Japan. Gomi earned a decision over Seung Pang Hwan while Trigg went all three rounds with Makoto Takimoto.
Former IFL lightweight champion Ryan Schultz was upset in the first round of World Victory Road’s inaugural lightweight grand prix, losing via knockout to Mizuto Hirota. Kazunori Yokota, Eiji Mitsuoka, Satoru Kitaoka all also moved on to the tournament’s next round.
K.J. Noons. Photo by Esther Lin/EliteXC.
“I would think Eddie Alvarez is the No. 1 contender. He’s definitely ranked higher than Nick Diaz. K.J. already beat Nick Diaz. Eddie Alvarez is getting married [in September], but that’s not our problem. People get married in five or ten minutes.”
- City Boxing’s Mark Dion, manager of EliteXC lightweight champion K.J. Noons, gives his thoughts on why Noons should be fighting Eddie Alvarez instead of accepting a proposed rematch against Nick Diaz on EliteXC’s October 4th show on CBS to MMA Junkie. Dion and Noons let EliteXC’s 24-hour deadline to accept the Diaz fight pass by yesterday, ensuring that neither fighter will be competing on the card.
This kind of ridiculous behavior is what Dion is known for. His drama-filled split with former client Brandon Vera last year drew headlines and there’s no doubt that Noons’ current situation isn’t going to be beneficial to his professional career either. I guess fighting on network television in front of millions isn’t all that special these days.
Jared Shaw. Photo by Esther Lin/AllElbows.com
Despite rampant speculation that EliteXC and the multiple promotions owned under parent company ProElite are in potential financial trouble, EliteXC Vice President Jared Shaw is denying the reports, at least when it comes to the home of Kimbo Slice and K.J. Noons.
“EliteXC will not be going on Sept. 20,” Shaw said in a report on MMA Junkie this morning. “I’m the vice president of EliteXC, so I don’t really know all the matters that occur with the Cage Rages or ICONs of the world. But I can tell you that EliteXC is fully functional and fully healthy. Some things happen on a larger scale not necessarily that we’re not privy to, but we’re busy working on other events. For EliteXC we just felt that we needed to clear the runway for a big landing on Oct. 4.”
Those other events Shaw speaks of apparently include four more shows over the next three months, starting with the latest edition of ShoXC: Elite Challenger Series on September 26th, which will be headlined by Wilson Reis taking on Bao Quach for the vacant EliteXC featherweight belt.
“We have a large schedule of mixed martial arts fights coming up,” Shaw said. “We have Sept. 26 in Santa Barbara - our ShoXC featuring that world title fight (between 140-pound fighters Bao Quach and Wilson Reis). Oct. 4 (we’re) on CBS featuring Kimbo Slice and Gina Carano. Oct. 10 on Showtime, ShoXC will feature the heavyweight phenom, Dave Herman. And we will be back on Nov. 8 with another tremendous Showtime show.”
K.J. Noons. Photo by Esther Lin/EliteXC.
When reports began circulating over the past few weeks that a much-anticipated rematch between EliteXC lightweight champion K.J. Noons and Nick Diaz could place on October 4th on CBS, Diaz’s camp quickly stated that there was a strong possibility that Noons’ camp may not accept the fight if it was offered.
It turns out that they were right.
According to MMA Weekly, EliteXC VP Jared Shaw has revealed that Noons’ management camp refuses to return any of EliteXC’s phone calls in an attempt to set up his next title defense. Even more unfortunate for the organization is Noons’ rumored to be more interested in a return to boxing rather than continuing his winning ways in MMA.
“Nick Diaz is the number one contender and K.J. Noons should step up and be the champion that we think he is and take this fight,” Shaw said. “Nick Diaz will take this fight any place, anywhere. (Noons’ management) won’t even return our calls. I don’t understand it. This fight on CBS is maximum exposure and the opportunity for maximum sponsorship dollars, way more than he could make on Showtime. At this point, I question his management.”
K.J. Noons, Gary Shaw, and Nick Diaz. Photo by Tom Casino/EliteXC.
A much-anticipated rematch between EliteXC lightweight champion K.J. Noons and Nick Diaz could take place at the organization’s third edition of “Saturday Night Fights” on CBS, which will take place on October 4th at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida.
Graciefighter.com, which is run by Diaz’s trainer and manager, Cesar Gracie, reported the news yesterday morning. However the site has also noted that there is a strong possibility that Noons’ camp may not accept the fight. If the proposal is turned down, Diaz could then set his sights on a DREAM welterweight title bout against Hayato “Mach” Sakurai, but the promotion’s officials have yet to pay Diaz following his win over Katsuya Inoue in May.
The feud between Noons and Diaz vaulted to an all-time high following Noons’ successful title defense over Yves Edwards at EliteXC’s “Return of the King” event in June, where a near-brawl broke out between the Diaz brothers and Noons’ father, Karl Sr. Order was restored relatively quickly and no one was injured. Still, a war of words has ensued between the two camps ever since.
Photo by Esther Lin/EliteXC.
The negative fallout from EliteXC’s second show on CBS is continuing. Yesterday the UFC and Spike TV blasted the organization for drawing lesser numbers on their network television broadcast than a replay of UFC 84: Ill Will in certain demographics last Saturday night. Gary Shaw and Doug DeLuca’s resignation from ProElite were also announced on Tuesday as well.
One of the things EliteXC heads DeLuca and Jeremy Lappen continually harped on in the weeks leading up to the event was the tremendous ticket sales they were enjoying. DeLuca stated that five days out from the event, they had already sold half of the available tickets and were expecting a sellout.
“We’re definitely well over half sold already,” DeLuca said during a pre-event conference call on July 22. “That was as of the weekend. I know we picked up a full head of steam on Monday. I’m really not too sure where ticket sales are at exactly, but we are fully expecting it to be a complete sell out.”
It turns out that DeLuca fibbed a bit.