EliteXC announced late last evening that they are going to strip current EliteXC lightweight champion KJ Noons of his title. EliteXC Head of Fight Operations Jeremy Lappen announced that Noons’ title would be taken away from him, effective immediately. The two sides have been involved in a bitter feud for the past two months, mainly due to Noons’ refusal to defend his title against Nick Diaz at EliteXC’s third CBS promotion on October 4th.
“We are stripping KJ of his championship belt for refusing to defend against (Nick) Diaz,” Lappen stated on EliteXC’s official website. “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.”
EliteXC has accused Noons and his manager, Mark Dion, of being unresponsive when they offered Noons the rematch against the division’s top contender. It made no sense to them as to why Noons would turn down an opportunity to headline a primetime event on CBS.
“I don’t understand why [Noons] would turn down a chance to be a headliner on CBS on Oct. 4,” Lappen said in the statement. “KJ then turned down the fight again when we offered him a headlining spot on our next Showtime date against Nick. From my view, it is a fight against a top-named opponent in Diaz (someone who beat the No. 1 fighter in the world in his weight class), a fighter KJ has bad blood with and a fight the fans really wanted to see. It seemed like a great opportunity for KJ to me.”
Noons and Co. later scoffed at the notion that Diaz was the top contender, and felt that there was better competition that they could pit against Noons, namely Eddie Alvarez. In addition, they accused EliteXC of disrespect and poor compensation.
While the differences between the two camps are still unresolved, Lappen said he hopes the two can reach an agreement in the near future.
“Personally, I do not think it was a smart career move, but I’m sure [Noons] sees it differently,” Lappen said. “KJ has two more fights remaining on his contract, so we are still looking forward to having him fight for us again soon, but not as our world champion.”
As of now, Noons has stated he will concentrate on his boxing career and put MMA to the side for the time being. He said that boxing is much more lucrative and he would like the opportunity focus on his first love once again.
EliteXC has yet to reveal what they intend to do with the vacant title, however a viable option would be for them to pit Eddie Alvarez against Nick Diaz on their November 8th card.
6/14/2008 – Diaz and Noons Brawl at “Return of the King”
8/22/2008 – Noons’ Manager Mark Dion Responds to Deadline
8/28/2008 – Noons Speaks Out for First Time in an Email
8/30/2008 – Nick Diaz Responds to Noons’ Claims