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Tag: lightweight title

Gilbert Melendez Finally Booked to Fight Someone Other Than Josh Thompson on September 29th


(And to think, if I hadn’t accidentally called Dana “Baldfather” during that interview, I’d be fighting Ben Henderson right about now.) 

When we first heard word that Strikeforce was considering booking a completely unnecessary fourth match between lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez and Josh Thompson, we more or less saw it as a sign that Strikeforce’s lightweight division, not unlike their heavyweight, welterweight, and pretty much every other division, was simply biding its time until the UFC inevitably absorbed it. We were elated to find out shortly thereafter that Thompson was making the whole thing up, possibly under the belief that if the rumor gained enough steam, Scott Coker would sit idly by and let the match happen again and again until Thompson finally emerged victorious.

Fortunately, someone had good enough sense to book Melendez a fight against top contender Pat Healy on September 29th instead, which will make for Melendez’s fifth title defense should he be successful. Although Healy can’t hold a candle to Thompson as far as turning in exciting performances goes (Thompson’s snoozer against K.J. Noons outstanding), it will be nice to see Melendez finally face off against the only other lightweight in the division who stands at least a snowball’s chance in Hell of beating him.

More details after the jump. 

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Elite XC Strips KJ Noons of Title

KJ Noons EliteXC MMA
(A champion no more.)

Just when KJ Noons was starting to focus on the boxing career he wants so badly, Elite XC has decided to lighten his luggage for him by stripping him of the lightweight title. From a release sent out late last night:

“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 most definitely 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.’’

Aside from the awkward phrase “top-named opponent” — which seems like the worst possible way of saying that a guy isn’t ranked in the top ten but people know him anyway — Elite XC actually makes a firm case here. Even if Noons doesn’t feel that Diaz deserves the shot, and even if he isn’t satisfied with the money he’d get for it (at the rate he agreed to when he signed the contract), the fact is that it’s the fight that both the Elite XC brass and the fans most want to see.

If you want to be the champ, that’s the fight you’ve got to take. If you go out and beat Nick Diaz on network TV, that can only help your popularity and your fight purses down the road, right? For whatever reason, Noons doesn’t see it that way. Enjoy your boxing career, young man.

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