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Tag: Nick Diaz

Sorting Through the Pro Elite Unemployment Line


(Will act coquettishly adorable and sexy for food?)

While none of us may be positively heartbroken or even surprised to see Pro Elite shut down its operation, the thing to keep in mind is that the MMA marketplace just got smaller. That means fewer opportunities for fighters and, at least for most, meager paychecks in the near future. Former Icon Sport promoter Patrick Freitas reminded us of this fact with a post to the UG that read, in part:

I Just wanted to say that as everyone here is dancing on the Elitexc’s grave, I think its important to remember that a shitload of good fighters (and great people) just saw their contracts disappear into the ether.

That’s the truth. Whatever you think of Pro Elite’s demise and the reasons behind it, one thing we can all agree on is it isn’t the fault of the fighters they employed. But now that those fighters find themselves without an organization to call home, where do they go? The answer, of course, depends on who they are. Most will end up in local promotions. But what about the big fish?

Jake Shields: If the UFC could only pick up one of the newly unemployed EliteXC fighters, Shields should be that one. He was probably the most talented guy on their roster, and something tells me Zuffa could scoop him up relatively cheaply. If he comes in and makes an impact on the UFC’s welterweight division right away, great. If he doesn’t, the UFC can claim it as proof that their fighters are far and away the best in the industry.

Kimbo Slice: The EliteXC collapse couldn’t have happened at a worse time for Ferg. Coming off an embarrassing loss and with a half a million dollar price tag, he does not look like a good investment right now. We know the UFC isn’t interested. Affliction has enough heavyweights to do something with him, but he’ll have to take a major pay cut. Even then his shelf life is a question, as is his desire to continue on as a pro fighter. Don’t be surprised if we’ve seen the last of Kimbo’s MMA days.

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UFC Signs Japanese TV Deal

Dana White
(See, Japan? Dana White knows what you’re into. You guys are still into samurai swords, right?.)

The UFC is headed back to Japanese TV sets via a new two-year deal with the Japanese subscription-based broadcaster WOWOW. They’ll be broadcasting all UFC pay-per-views starting with this Saturday’s UFC 89 from England on a tape delay. From the press release:

“The Japanese market has always been important to the UFC, and we want to bring MMA and all of its biggest stars back to Japan,” said Dana White, UFC President. “We are thrilled to be back with WOWOW.”

“WOWOW is extremely pleased to announce that UFC is back on WOWOW, starting with the UFC 89 event in Birmingham, UK,” said Mr. Kazuyuki Omura, Chief Producer, WOWOW. “The UFC will telecast in High Definition on WOWOW’s popular “Timely-on-Air” format, a limited delay broadcast adjusting the airtime to a time that will be convenient for the sports fans in Japan. After airing over 50 UFC shows from 2001 to 2007, we are excited to once again provide our subscribers with the most prominent mixed martial arts program in the world.”

There, Japanese MMA fans, does that take some of the sting out of Zuffa buying Pride only to dismantle it? No, probably not, but what can you do. At least you’ve still got Dream, and at least they finally paid Nick Diaz for a fight that happened last spring.

This TV deal is just one more box checked in the UFC’s global domination plans. Now look the fuck out, Phillipines.

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Jared Shaw Wants Some Love

Elite XC’s Jared Shaw takes a little shot at yours truly in this MMA Rated interview, calling me Ben “UFC” Fowlkes, which I suppose is an implication that I’m pro-UFC and anti-Elite XC, although I like to think that my record as an equal opportunity critic speaks for itself. If an organization does dumb things, it’s my job to point it out. If one organization does more dumb things than others, they’re going to receive more criticism. That’s just how it works. If it makes me a hater, I can live with that. But since when do we all have to like everything?

$kala says he just wants some love for his fighters, not himself. Fair enough, Jared. You do have some good fighters in your organization. Guys like Jake Shields, Robbie Lawler, Wilson Reis, Nick Diaz, and “Ninja” Rua, just to name a few. These are all fighters that I enjoy watching. But your fighters aren’t what you’ve been criticized for, and I think you know it.

Let’s take the event you’ve got this Saturday, for example. On the undercard you’ve got a few interesting scraps between guys like Paul Daley and Jake Shields, Benji Radach and “Ninja” Rua, and a sweet little co-promotional joint between Affliction fighters Andrei Arlovski and Roy Nelson (nice work scoring that, by the way, whether you had anything to do with it or not).

But your main event features a 3-0 fighter in Kimbo Slice, who has yet to face an opponent coming off a win, taking on a forty-four-year-old legend of the sport who hasn’t won a fight or even made it out of the first round in over four years. And that’s your main event.

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Diaz/Alvarez Nearly Locked Down For EliteXC Lightweight Title Fight

Eddie Alvarez MMA DREAM EliteXC
(Eddie Alvarez celebrates after defeating Joachim Hansen at DREAM 3.)

With KJ Noons stripped of his lightweight strap, EliteXC is trying to establish a new ruler of its 160-pound class, and the front-runners should come as no surprise. As rising star Eddie Alvarez recently told MMA Weekly, “We’re about 90-something percent positive I’ll be fighting Nick Diaz for the EliteXC title at 160.” Bout agreements have yet to be signed, but Alvarez has reportedly inked a new six-fight contract with EliteXC, and is ready to return to the U.S. after an outstanding run as a 154-pounder in DREAM’s lightweight grand prix. “I like 160,” the 23-year-old Philadelphia native said. “I feel like at 160 I’m stronger, I’m faster, I’m not as depleted as I am at 155.”

While competing in Japan this year, Alvarez came out on the winning end of two fight-of-the-year candidates, a wild 15-minute battle with Joachim Hansen at DREAM 3 in May, and an absolute slugfest against Tatsuya Kawajiri in the grand prix semi-finals in July. Unfortunately, an eye injury prevented him from advancing to the finals, and Joachim Hansen was able to take his spot as an alternate and defeat Shinya Aoki to win the tournament. Though a second fight against Hellboy would truly determine who deserves to wear DREAM’s lightweight belt, Alvarez now says that DREAM is behind him

If it comes together, the fight between Alvarez and Nick Diaz would most likely go down at EliteXC’s November 8th event (name and location TBA), which will be broadcast on Showtime.

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Decision Day For KJ Noons: Will He Stay or Go?


(The fight that set off a shit-storm of events.)

Even though they’ve stripped him of the title, the door is not yet closed on KJ Noons’ relationship with Elite XC. The company reportedly gave Noons a Monday deadline to determine whether, and under what circumstances, he’ll continue to work for them. After all this drama it’s hard to imagine that we’ll be seeing Noons back in the Elite XC cage unless he gets a significant pay raise. Even then, you have to wonder what they would do with their ex-lightweight champ.

He refused to fight Nick Diaz even though it’s the only bout for him with any real heat at the moment. His manager, Mark Dion, said previously that the fight Noons really wants is one with Eddie Alvarez. Trouble is, rumors are now circulating that it will be Diaz who faces Alvarez for the vacant Elite XC title. Now that’s got to sting if you’re Noons. Not only does Diaz get more money, he also gets the fight KJ wants and maybe even his belt. What’s next, his bike?

If that happens, Noons can wait out the Diaz-Alvarez bout, hoping that Alvarez wins and he’ll finally get his shot at him. Even then, there’s still the sticky issue of money to sort out. If Diaz pulls out the victory Noons will be almost forced into a rematch with him for the belt that was his to begin with.

After everything that’s happened, however, it seems more likely that Noons is looking for the door at this point. He still has two fights on his contract, though he could decide to focus on boxing for a while in the hopes that Elite XC will crumble and he’ll be free and clear to sign a new MMA deal when they do. That is, assuming there is an organization who will be willing to pay him what he thinks he’s worth even after he’s been out of the game for a while.

Sounds like refusing a much-hyped rematch on network TV maybe wasn’t the best career move after all. Weird.

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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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KJ Noons Won’t Fight Nick Diaz, Would Fight Nate, But Has Decided to Box Instead

KJ Noons has a brilliant plan for the future of his fighting career. Are you ready for this? Instead of fighting Nick Diaz for the Elite XC lightweight title in front of millions of people on CBS, he’s going to fight some nobody in a boxing match that is not on network TV. That will show those bastards at Elite XC.

In an interview with MMA Weekly Noons claims that Elite XC breached his boxing contract — which was one of the two contracts he signed with them — by not offering him any fights, thus leaving him free to pursue boxing matches on his own. His MMA contract with them is presumably still valid since they did offer him the Diaz fight, which he continues to disparage on the basis that Diaz would make more money than him for the fight:

“Tell him to put his money where his mouth is. Put his money up if he wants it so bad, if he’s such a warrior,” Noons stated about Diaz. “He was just (expletive) about how much he got paid on this last CBS card. He’s getting paid 3 times more than me, how do you think that makes me feel?”

“If Dana (White) is listening, I wouldn’t mind fighting his brother too. I’ll get them both (expletive) plastic surgeries.”

He just had to bring up Nate, didn’t he? Maybe the plan is to make the Diaz brothers talk so much smack they cancel each other out, like some sort of shit-talking wave interference theory.

Nate Diaz really started this after his Fight Night bout when he suggested that “somebody” should stop being a “weak-ass punk” and fight his brother. Personally, I assumed that Nate was referring to British punk rocker Johnny Rotten, but now that I think about it Noons’ interpretation really makes more sense.

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When The Diaz Bros Come to Party, There’s Never a Dull Moment


(No, they aren’t posing. That’s just how they kick it.)

I’m not sure if I love the Diaz brothers in spite of their behavior, or because of it. I’m leaning toward the latter, if only because the more I see of them, the more I become convinced that they may be the most genuine people in all of MMA. All the yelling and swearing and flippin’ the bird? The posturing that reminds you of a fourteen-year-old kid who’s just grown his first facial hairs and is feeling like a man with the constant need to prove it? That’s them. That’s just how they are. Ultimate Fight Night was just one more example.

Not only is Nate Diaz a near mirror-image of his brother in the cage, he also mimicks his interview style. At least, that’s what people tell me. I couldn’t make out most of what he said after his win over Josh Neer last night. I caught the word ‘motherfucker.’ I believe the phrase ‘weak-ass punk’ was peppered in there, as well as the obligatory mention of the 209. Other than that, it was tough to decipher. I had hoped we’d get more in the post-fight press conference, but the Diaz brothers had other ideas.

Nate Diaz had barely taken his seat for the impromptu session with the press when Nick drew the attention to himself by shouting profanities at, well, someone. It was hard to tell who he was yelling at or why. The UFC PR staff seemed at their wits end, and they appealed to Nate to help them restore order.

Nate responded by saying, “I’m out,” and leaving the press conference altogether. Nick was still yelling as the two of them walked off down the hallway.

Say what you will about them, but they always come to fight and they know how to make an exit.

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Is Dream Still Stiffing Fighters?

Dream 4 pre-fight
(‘Step forward if you’re getting paid for this fight. Not so fast, Mayhem.’)

We all know Dream is having some financial trouble, which is a shame since they put on a quality show and we’d like to see them stick around. But it seems they’ve developed this nasty habit of not paying their fighters. Nick Diaz piped up about it first, and according to Fight Opinion (who did some digging in the Korean media) it’s starting to sound like he’s not the only one who’s fighting for free over in Japan:

“Fighter A” claimed in the article that he didn’t receive money for his last two fights, and “Fighter B” who is preparing for an upcoming fight also is claiming they didn’t get some fight money. “Fighter C” claims that he had to wait three months to get his fight salary.

The article quotes a source as saying, “There’s many fighters who don’t get paid. Especially DREAM fighters, foreigners mostly.” The article claims that the reason in the alleged delaying of payments is due to DREAM’s financial situation and the situation regarding Kazuyoshi Ishii.

You know what’s a good way to make your financial situation worse? Get a reputation as the organization that doesn’t pay their fighters, which will soon become the organization without any fighters. Can’t they just do it the American way and pay all but their top fighters a pathetically low amount? Is that so hard?

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Nick Diaz’s Camp Gets Their Writing Hat On


(Nick’s just going to proofread this sucker before sending it out.)

Did Elite XC hold some kind of writing workshop for their fighters’ and their fighters’ camps recently? Maybe one with a special seminar on “Shit-talking statements and rebuttals”? Because suddenly it seems like everyone under the Elite XC banner is putting pen to paper to bash someone else. Not that we’re complaining.

The Gracie camp — home to Nick Diaz — is the latest to get in on the act. KJ Noons’ statement listing his grievances with Elite XC made mention of Diaz several times, and you didn’t think he was going to be able to do that without waking the beast, did you? We’re a little disappointed that this is coming from Diaz’s camp and not Nick himself, who has been known to do some really great work in the ‘stream of consciousness’ field of shit-talking, but we’ll take what we can get.

On Noons’ claim that Elite XC failed to promote his boxing career, as promised:

1) Earth to KJ; you don’t have a boxing career. No one in the boxing world knows who you are. 2) Another MMA company would have paid you less and not given you a title shot, especially when you were 1-1. 3) If you will not fight Diaz due to a breach of contract by EliteXC then why would you fight Alvarez for the same terms?

On Noons’ insistence that Elite XC isn’t promoting him, instead asking Diaz to sign baseball cards for the DVD of their fight:

1) Nick Diaz, Jake Shields and Frank Shamrock were flown in to shoot an instructional trailer on grappling for the CBS show. The signings were an after thought. You weren’t flown in because you aren’t a grappler. We are sure they will fly you in if they need an instructional on whining. 2) Your contract was for Showtime. Diaz and Shields both signed longer deals for CBS. Nathan Diaz signed a special long term contract for Spike TV etc…This is a business not Burger King, you can’t have it ‘your way’.

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