By Chris Howie
October 14, 2008
It has been a rocky road between EliteXC and former lightweight champion KJ Noons over the last few months. EliteXC had been adamant about the fact they wanted to see Noons defend his title against Nick Diaz on October 4th when the organization held its third card on CBS but negotiations fell through.
The fall out would lead to EliteXC stripping Noons of the belt that he had won from Diaz when it was vacant title, stating that they felt Noons was ducking Diaz for a rematch.
According to Noons that could not be further from the truth and among other things, money appeared to play a key factor in the situation not working out. Diaz would be set to make nearly three times the amount of money than Noons, who was champion, would.
It has been back and forth in the media since the war of words began and in is MMANews.com exclusive interview, Noons talks with Chris Howie about his trip into the free agent market, his boxing career, who he would like to fight, and what it would take for him to come back to EliteXC.
Chris Howie with MMANews.com: So what exactly is the scoop on you becoming on a free agent?
KJ Noons: First and foremost I would like to say that I gave EliteXC notice via email that I wanted to give the belt back and wanted to become a free agent because we couldn’t come to terms. Later that week I was sitting at home and I started getting calls saying that they took the belt from me. I said whatever and went to talk to them and hash some things out for a few days and come up with ideas for bringing me back. They can argue what it is and say that I owe them two fights but I wouldn’t hold my breath because I have them beat in court or however you want to look at it, so to avoid all that mumbo jumbo I am going to box and move forward. Hopefully other organizations see the light in me. I am really interested in a Takanori Gomi fight or any top lightweights at the 155lb or 160lb for that matter.
MMANews.com: Are you open to fighting in Japan?
KJ Noons: Yeah man. I’m open to fighting anybody anywhere. That is why I am going to start boxing again.
MMANews.com: So are you officially a free agent from EliteXC because after the stories broke that you were a free agent, Jeremy Lappen went on record to say that you were not a free agent.
KJ Noons: Of course he is going to say that. We negotiated to try and get me on the November 8th card but to be fair I wasn’t going to fight a guy (Nick Diaz) for three times less money and they never got back to me to sign a new deal anyway. When they made it official that Nick was going to fight Eddie (Alvarez)… I can’t sit on the sidelines forever, I have to move forward and do my thing. So, I mean, call it what it is and they can say whatever they want but going the way that company is, I know…I don’t come out and do interviews unless I know I have my stories lined up and I am confident that I can fight anywhere.
MMANews.com: With your boxing contract, wasn’t that initially part of your original deal with ProElite?
KJ Noons: Yeah that was with Gary (Shaw) and I am a free agent on that to. I was promised a certain amount of fights that I was never given making it another breach of contract so I am just going to do some free lance boxing until somebody else picks me up.
MMANews.com: What was preventing you from fighting on the November 8th card?
KJ Noons: Maybe the fact they wanted Diaz and Eddie.
MMANews.com: It has appeared that EliteXC has been trying very hard to have Nick Diaz as their Champion, what are your thoughts on that?
KJ Noons: Well first of all, the reason the fight with Nick never happened was because I wasn’t fighting a guy for three times less money. What gain is there for me in fighting a guy I have already beat, there is no financial gain and there is no gain for me in world rankings? That is why I pitched to them for me to fight Eddie because with that I will honor what is on my contact and if I win my ranking goes up and I benefit in that. The only benefit in me fighting Nick Diaz was EliteXC getting ratings. Why am I getting paid three times less for the Nick fight? I was down for the Nick fight. That would be a way easier fight than Eddie, anyone with half a brain knows that. So let’s make that happen but unfortunately to make it happen we are talking about pocket change to them but they would rather spend half a million dollars on other people (presumably Kimbo Slice, who made $500,000 in a 14 second loss to Seth Petruzelli on October 4th).
MMANews.com: Were they open to the you and Alvarez fight?
KJ Noons: One thing I have learned is that it is not really about what anybody wants or what will be better for anyones career, it is about getting ratings and the fight with Nick was better for them but I am not fighting for three times less money. Especially against a guy I’ve already beat.
MMANews.com: Who are you picking in the Diaz/Alvarez fight?
KJ Noons: I think Eddie wins for sure.
MMANews.com: Do you feel EliteXC may be putting all their eggs in one basket so to speak in the lightweight division with Nick Diaz? And that is not to take anything away from Nick’s talent.
KJ Noons: I’m not sure. I don’t really want to bad mouth anyone but they probably don’t see the value in me right now but hopefully someone else will.
MMANews.com: So you feel that they didn’t see the value in their lightweight champion and that is why they wouldn’t bend in terms of negotiations for the fight with Nick?
KJ Noons: No, and they stripped me. Now I am a free agent and we have to come to terms on a new contract. We’ll see. Maybe they will bring me back in the future, I don’t know. I have to move forward and get my life going. That is why I am boxing and if anyone is willing to entertain me to come on board with them I’m down for it, and I am also down for going back with EliteXC but it has to make sense.
MMANews.com: What are your plans for the boxing world?
KJ Noons: I’m just going to box small fight. I’m not trying to do a Roy Jones fight for an Oscar De La Hoya fight. I’m not saying I am the best boxer ever but I want to see how it goes and if it doesn’t work out I’ll come back to MMA.
MMANews.com: When will your next boxing match be?
KJ Noons: November 13th at 155lbs in the LA area.
MMANews.com: Do you feel at some point you will be back full time in MMA?
KJ Noons: We’ll see what happens. I haven’t said much since I was stripped or even before I was stripped. Now the cat is out of the bag and hopefully somebody will want to bring me onboard and if not I will just box.
MMANews.com: Is your EliteXC deal a legally binding agreement?
KJ Noons: Legally, I can fight for anyone.
MMANews.com: In EliteXC’s eyes can you fight for anyone?
KJ Noons: Who knows what EliteXC thinks. They think a lot of things.
MMANews.com: What are your thoughts on the EliteXC/Seth Petruzelli situation that has been making waves lately?
KJ Noons: No comment.
MMANews.com: [laughs] Fair enough. Who are some lightweights in MMA that you have your eye on?
KJ Noons: I think Gomi would be a great fight. I think Joachim Hansen would be a great fight, anyone that is a champion. There is a lot of great talent in the lightweight division so I don’t think it would be hard to find tough fights.
MMANews.com: How do you feel you match up with Gomi? He has lost some of his stock since the downfall of Pride.
KJ Noons: I think I match up well with him. I like his style. He likes to stand and trade. He’s been at the top for a long time and beaten a lot of guys. He hasn’t fought a lot recently but maybe they are just having a tough time finding guys for him to fight.
MMANews.com: All contract disputes aside, is there anything you would like to say to your fans out there?
KJ Noons: Just thanks to all my family, friends, and fans for sticking with me through all this.
MMANews.com: Alright KJ, thanks for speaking with me today.
KJ Noons: No problem man, thanks for letting me say my piece.