By MMAWeekly.com Staff
KJ Noons of San Diego has been stripped of his EliteXC lightweight title. The announcement was made 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.
"I feel very bad for KJ because I like him a lot on a personal level and have always thought he could be a big star. He's charismatic, has a very exciting fighting style and is a top level fighter. So I'm obviously disappointed that he has chosen to take this stance.
"I don't understand why he would turn down a chance to be a headliner on CBS on Oct. 4. 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.
"Personally, I do not think it was a smart career move, but I'm sure he sees it differently. 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.''
EliteXC will announce a fight for the vacant lightweight title in the near future, Lappen said.