It looks like we have an all out media war between EliteXC and KJ Noons’ camp. Yesterday, Jared Shaw informed the MMA media that KJ Noons and his management were avoiding EliteXC officials in regards to booking Noons in a rematch at EliteXC’s Oct. 4 CBS show. Shaw went so far as to issue Noons an ultimatum stating that if Noons didn’t accept the bout agreement by 5PM PT today, they would be forced to take action.
Mark Dion, Noons’ manager, has finally spoken publicly on the matter, and seems to care less about the ultimatum.
“The update on [the deadline] is nothing is going to happen with it. That’s what’s going to happen with that. I don’t care about how many threats [Shaw] wants to pull. We’ll be doing a press conference if EliteXC doesn’t see the light here pretty soon and if Shaw doesn’t stop talking [expletive].”
“As far as Nick Diaz, he’s not the No. 1 contender out there. To [EliteXC] he is. He’s the number one (for getting) eyeballs to (watch) them. They’re pushing on eyeballs versus a career move for a champion like KJ. KJ is really not the one who gets anything out of the fight. Diaz does and so does ProElite.”
“Forget 5 o’clock. I ain’t waiting until 5 o’clock. If [EliteXC officials] are holding their breath, then someone’s going to pass out.”
I guess someone forgot to tell Dion that millions of eyeballs would see his client in the cage with Diaz too. I’ll address that in a minute.
Dion went on to show his level of professionalism when he brought DREAM standout and EliteXC contracted fighter Eddie Alvarez into the situation.
“I would think Eddie Alvarez is the No. 1 contender. He’s definitely ranked higher than Nick Diaz. KJ already beat Nick Diaz.”
“Eddie Alvarez is getting married, but that’s not our problem. People get married in five or 10 minutes.”
I’m sure Eddie will appreciate that comment.
Is this really about fighting who’s the number one contender though? Nah, I don’t think so. This sounds more like the root of all disputes between promoters and fighters—money. Of course, Dion is a super agent when it comes to that. I’ll let Dion tell you why.
“Look at Brandon Vera. He had a long layoff, but he’s making more money than the No. 1 ranked [expletive] fighter in the world, Anderson Silva — or the same amount.
“And now Anderson Silva is getting Bud Light sponsorships from (UFC President) Dana (White) handed down to him. He’s getting to fight at 205 (pounds). He’s kind of telling them what he wants to do. Why? Because you got people like Brandon Vera, who’s on a losing streak and not performing, making more money than the most valuable guy.
“Who do you think negotiated that [expletive] contract a year and a half ago? And if you look at my Post-it, the one I negotiated was a $7 million deal for four years. It’s nothing close to [$100,000] and [$100,000] (as a win bonus). As far as trying to bring in the Mark Dion negatives and stuff, good luck. Show me any negatives on it. And that’s just a pitch [EliteXC] can use. But hey, I know my [expletive]. I’ve been around this sport a long, long time.”
Michael Rome of Bloody Elbow does a great job of shooting that argument down.
Anderson Silva is earning 200,000 to show plus points on each Pay Per View under his new deal. How can you negotiate for your clients in MMA without knowing something that is so widely known among people following the business? They gave him that sponsorship because he’s on a superstar contract now and they want him to draw like one. They asked him to fight at 205 pounds.
Here’s my problem with this whole situation. Dion’s client is KJ Noons! It’s not BJ Penn, Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, or even Nick Diaz. By the way Dion is playing this you would think Floyd Mayweather is his client. Outside of a few hundred thousand that have actually seen Noons fight, who the hell even knows who KJ Noons is??? He’s not a top ten lightweight in anybody’s rankings I’ve seen, nor does he deserve to be. Not to mention, the belt he holds doesn’t even mean anything in the grand scheme of things. I’m all for fighters getting paid more, but it has to be realistic and they have to bring something to the table to deserve it. Noons has some nice wins, but at the end of the day, he hasn’t even fought a top ten fighter, much less beaten one, no one knows who the hell he is and they’re not going to unless he’s given the proper exposure. EliteXC appears to be offering him that on a silver f*cking platter.
Unless EliteXC is asking for something completely outrageous in return (a three fight deal doesn’t constitute), this just seems completely absurd to me. A “champion” who isn’t even in the top ten picking and choosing his opponents is just ridiculous. You’d almost think they really are terrified of Nick Diaz. Maybe they’ve watched the Diaz/Gomi fight too many times.
There’s likely more to this story than we’re being told so I’m going to bite my tongue for now, but at the moment, this appears to be a someone thinking they’re bigger than they really are.
[UPDATE 8/21/08 7:58PM ET] – Five Oz. spoke to Jared Shaw about Dion’s comments. Shaw stated that while they aren’t ruling out the possibility of stripping Noons of his title, at the very least, they will bench him for awhile.
“I would say the only guarantee K.J. has is to pull up a chair and watch the event and get comfortable on that chair because he’ll be sitting for a little bit.”