(“I can’t sit around my whole life trying to make other people’s careers better. I gotta do what’s best for me, and what’s best for me is moving on.” / Photo via ProMMANow.com)
Yesterday, XFC president John Prisco announced publicly that lightweight champion Nick Newell (9-0) had been “stripped of [his] title” after refusing to fight XFC’s top lightweight contender Nate Holtzman (4-0). Following the news, Newell released the following statement on his Facebook fan page:
EVERYBODY CALM DOWN! First of I AM NOT UNDER CONTRACT WITH THE XFC. XFC promoted a fight that didn’t exist yet.
The headlines are misleading and imply that I was stripped of my title because I refused to fight when in fact I just chose not to renew my contract with the XFC. I am not scared to fight anybody. I have been through too much in my life to be scared of any man. All you have to do is look at one of my fights to see my heart & my fearless style. This has nothing to do with me being scared. It is more so just an attempt to bully me into a contract.
XFC trash talking me and trying to slander my name upsets me more then anything but they are promoters. XFC is promoting, thats what they do. They have to try and make their guys look as good as possible and I’m not one of their guys so it is at my expense.
Even though Scott is bad mouthing me as well, I have no ill will towards him. I consider myself to be a professional and as a professional I choose to stay away from negative talk towards other fighters, but I understand that he is an unfortunate victim of circumstance.
Definitely not scared just have my eyes on bigger pastures.
Love you all,
Nicholas G. Newell
CagePotato contacted Nick yesterday evening to further clarify the situation, and he spent a few minutes with us to discuss his version of the events that led to his split with the XFC, as well as his plans for the immediate future. Short version: Newell’s decision to leave was based on his desire to continue moving upward in his career — and had nothing to do with Scott Holtzman specifically — and he’s very close to announcing his next fight contract. Check it out…
CAGEPOTATO.COM: John Prisco blasted you pretty hard for not accepting a fight against Scott Holtzman; he said you were scared, and that Holtzman would have stopped you in the first round. Did that feel like a betrayal to you?
NICK NEWELL: A little bit. I thought it was a very unprofessional thing to do. But at the end of the day, you gotta make your guys look the best that you can, and I’m no longer one of his guys, so I’m gonna be the butt of the trash-talk. But I’m not one to talk trash myself; I consider myself a professional and I’m going to stay professional.
Did you have one more fight remaining on your XFC contract?
No, actually it was a five-fight contract, and I had the option to continue with them after three fights, and I continued for one more, which was the title fight. I’m just getting more attractive offers from leagues that I consider to be a step up, with the type of opponents that will raise my value. [Prisco] can say what he wants to say, but I never agreed to that fight, or said I was going to do it in the first place, and I just decided to do what’s best for my career. And beating guys with four fights isn’t going to boost my status and my value. I’m looking to step up in competition and fight the toughest guys out there, and XFC just doesn’t have them.
How close are you to announcing your next deal with another organization?
Possibly next week. I have a bunch of them, I just have to finalize it.
You struggled in the early part of your career to find opponents who wanted to fight you; nobody would give you a chance to prove yourself. At any point, did you feel like you should give Holtzman the fight out of respect to him? In a way, you’ve been in Holtzman’s shoes before.
Yeah, but he’s still gonna fight for the title. He’s still gonna have a fight, and he’s still gonna get to fight for the title. And there you go, there’s your fight, bro. You wanted to fight for the title, you got it. I can’t sit around my whole career trying to make other people’s careers better. I gotta do what’s best for me, and what’s best for me is moving on. It was great winning the XFC title, it was an honor — really, one of the greatest moments of my life. But right now I have more attractive offers, and ones that are going to boost my career and get me to where I want to be.
Did you specifically tell John Prisco — as he claims — that after winning the title, you would only fight ex-UFC fighters?
After my fight, someone asked me “who do you want to fight next,” and [Prisco] was right there, and I said “I would like to fight tough veterans who have proven their worth, and that I can use to catapult my career.” I’m not saying only UFC guys, but tough guys who have been in there with the top guys in the world, or the top free agents out there. I’m not scared; I’m looking for tough fights.
It’s like, I’ll never win. I fight guys like Scott and people say, “When are you gonna fight real fighters?”, and then I ask to fight guys who are established, and they say “Why are you ducking these guys?” I can’t win. I don’t know what to do. But I just have to do what feels right, and what’s going to be best for me. So I’m sorry if I hurt their feelings, I don’t really appreciate the way they handled it. But I was free and clear, and I decided to go elsewhere. Sorry.
I’m sure this situation will leave a bad taste in your mouth with the XFC, but did the promotion treat you well up until this point?
Yeah, they were good to me. I had some good moments. They didn’t like me ever saying that I wanted to go to the UFC. They wanted me to stay with the XFC for my entire career. And that wasn’t my goal. If you compete in a sport, you want to make it to the pinnacle, and they didn’t want to see me go as far as I could. I mean, they did a lot for my career, but they want me to fight guys with four or five fights who won’t really move me to the next level if I beat them, and then wait six months for contenders, and I’m just not into it. I want to be active and I want to fight big names and I really want to test myself, win or lose. I want to go out there and say I got in there with the best guys in the world — and I’m confident that I’ll beat them.
Bottom line, your goal is still to get into the UFC.
Yeah, that’s everyone’s goal, to be #1 in the world, world champion. If you set your goal any lower, you’re only cheating yourself.