So what’s the deal with KJ Noons? That’s the question everyone’s been asking since Noons via his manager, Mark Dion, refused to take the rematch against Nick Diaz on network television.
Until today, the only thing Noons has publicly said regarding the situation was this:
“This fight could be the biggest fight of my career. Taking a fight with Nick Diaz is not the problem at all, the problem is the fight with EliteXC.”
So what’s the problem with EliteXC? Well, Noons may have answered that in an interview with fighters.com that was posted today.
Fighters.com: You told Inside MMA you weren’t happy about [the Return of the King post-fight incident with Diaz]. Do you think that’s just what promoters do to hype fights; or, do you take it more personal?
K.J. Noons: Um…you know, if they want to hype a fight, that’s cool. And…you know, whatever. Hype me! Shit! Stop hypin’ fuckin’ Nick Diaz. What the fuck!?
Fighters.com: With a title created for Nick. The whole 160-pound class was created for Nick, right? Then you came in and beat Nick and ProElite doesn’t know what to do.
K.J. Noons: Yeah, I mean, it’s kind of a funny story, you know? Some people look at the whole big picture and they get it and some people don’t. But, you pretty much nailed it on the head.
Fighters.com: It seems like CBS is running the show at EliteXC more and more now…
K.J. Noons: Well, that’s good. Maybe they’ll appreciate who they have. My contract is up in November. You know what I mean? So, maybe they’ll appreciate someone who doesn’t flick the cameras off and can talk on CBS. I mean, that shit will fly on Showtime. You can say whatever you want to say, but…we’ll see. Maybe they still want to promote pot-smokin’, middle finger, street-fightin’…I don’t know. Maybe it’s not the organization for me, maybe it is. I’ve got the belt, so… Hopefully they’ll want to keep me. I do like them. I want to stay. As long as I’m the champion, I want to stay, so hopefully they can see the value in me. And like I said, in November, my contract is up. I’ve got two more fights and that’s it.
It seems as if Noons is a little upset that Diaz has gotten all the attention at EliteXC, but can you really blame them? As a promoter you have to promote your stars while you build new ones. Nick Diaz has fought all over the world for a long time. He’s fought in the UFC, he’s fought in PRIDE, and racked up some impressive wins along the way against a few top level fighters. More importantly, he has a very polarizing personality and people want to see him fight. Bottom line, Diaz is a bigger star than KJ Noons at this point, so what do you expect EliteXC to do? Their game plan is in plain view for all to see. They showcase their most popular fighters first and foremost. They push the ones that sell.
What Noons fails to see is that while Diaz may be the star now (I use this term loosely; he’s not a Kimbo or Liddell) and the one getting all the hype, Noons was presented with the perfect opportunity to step into that position as well. When one star falls, especially in front of as many eyes that will be watching CBS that night, a new one is typically born. I understand he feels he already beat Diaz once and shouldn’t have to do it again, but life’s not always fair, and not many people saw it the first time. Sometimes, you have to go out there and fight to get what you want.
The interviewer never specifically asks Noons why he refuses to fight Diaz, so it’s a little unclear if this is the “problem” he has with EliteXC, but at the very least, this seems to be part of it.
Funny enough, Noons completely contradicts himself by saying he’ll fight whoever they put in front of him. Of course, if that “whoever” happens to be Nick Diaz, that’s a different story.
Fighters.com: Why doesn’t Nick deserve a rematch? A lot of fans say a stoppage on cuts isn’t a legit stoppage? The bottom line is that you’re never going to put Diaz in the past without a rematch.
K.J. Noons: Like I said, I want to fight…I want to just get better and keep on improving myself and fighting top guys in the world.
Fighters.com: You don’t think Diaz helps you improve?
K.J. Noons: He doesn’t, but…who knows? Money talks. Right? I’ve got to pay my bills, so, if that’s what people want to see…if people want to see that, then, you know…but, right now I want to get better. I don’t think I really have anything to gain off that except for a big check.
Of course it’s about money. It always is.
So basically, KJ wants EliteXC to promote him and give him more money. I’m quite certain they were giving him the opportunity to earn that. Why Noons can’t see that, I don’t know.
“He’s stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime.”