Nick Newell stripped of his title
MMA Junkie reports that the card has mostly been set for XFC 24, but the lightweight title fight (the planned main event) between champion Nick Newell (9-0) and challenger Scott Holtzman (4-0) has been pulled. Newell is refusing to sign to fight Holtzman and was stripped of his title. A new main event between Holtzman and an unknown opponent for the vacant title will be announced.
XFC President John Prisco said: "For Nick to deny Scott Holtzman, or any of those that earn their shot, the same opportunity that he was given is disrespectful in my eyes," XFC President John Prisco stated. "It's always been our motto if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. How can that happen if your champion will not defend his title? That's not a true champion."
MMA Junkie confirmed the title was stripped in a separate story. Prisco announced the news today. It is now looking like Newell will no longer be a part of the promotion.
Prisco added: "When negotiating with (Newell's) management regarding this fight, they were telling me about being offered a lot of money to fight for another promotion. We responded that if it's about money, bring us the best offer and we'll agree to match that offer. They did, we matched it, and we were again refused by Nick saying he only wants to fight ex-UFC fighters. So I had to make one of the hardest phone calls that I've ever had to make as a promoter. I had to call Scott Holtzman and tell him that the current champion is unwilling to fight him for his earned title shot."
Newell is a congenital amputee. He is missing his left hand and most of his left forearm. However, eight of his nine wins have been by first-round stoppage and he's undefeated. In December at XFC 21, he beat Eric Reynolds in 82 seconds with a rear-naked choke. Six of his wins have been by submission and he is 4-0 in XFC. Newell signed with them after an open tryout.
Prisco said: "When Nick came to us at the XFC tryouts, his biggest complaint was that no one would take a fight against him. Everyone was telling him, 'It's a no-win situation taking the fight. If you beat him, you beat a guy with half an arm, and if you lose, you just lost to a guy with half an arm.' He knew by signing with our promotion that he was going to be guaranteed fights, as our fighters fight the person I put in front of them. Nick built his name on fighters who were willing to step up and fight him. And now, the opportunity he received, he is not willing to extend to Scott, even though they both carry the same XFC record. To me, that's hypocritical and I have zero respect and no room for any individual that acts like that in my organization."
He then said that he thinks Holtzman was going to defeat Newell. He added: "I think Nick knows what I believe: He was going to lose. Nick knows he can't defend himself when someone like Scott puts him on his back. I believe Scott is one of the most talented 155ers on the planet. He's training on the West Coast right now with Benson Henderson for that very reason. In my eyes, I saw the fight going first-round stoppage – Holtzman by ground-and-pound."
In February, Holtzman won by unanimous decision over Jason Hicks (5-1) at XFC 22 in a lightweight title eliminator. It was the first time in his career a fight went to a decision after he had three straight stoppage wins in the promotion. He has been fighting at pro for a little over a year.
The co-main event will feature middleweights Reggie Pena (10-5) and Ricky Rainey (5-1). XFC 24: Collision Course takes place on June 14 at the Sun Dome on the campus of the University of South Florida in Tampa. It airs live on AXS TV. Pena won two straight for XFC, his only fights in 2011 and 2012. This will be his first 2013 fight. He also only had one fight a year in 2010 and 2009. He is on a two-fight win streak after a KO loss to Johnny Buck at XFC 19. He has defeated Donald Wallace and Joseph Corneroli at XFC 21 and 22.
The main card also includes a welterweight fight between Dave Courchaine (15-5) and Luis Santos (55-8); Kevin Forant (5-0) vs. Eric Reynolds (16-6) at flyweight; a women's flyweight bout featuring Cortney Casey (0-0) vs. Kelly Warren (3-4); and Shah Bobonis (15-5) vs. Jason Hicks (5-1)
Hard to not agree with Newell, he wants to make the big shows he shouldn't be defending a title against a guy that went pro last year.