Nick Newell was stripped of his Xtreme Fighting Championship (XFC) lightweight title on Friday (May 10, 2013) after the organization's president John Prisco stated Newell was "unwilling" to defend his belt against Scott Holtzman at XFC 24.
The bout was scheduled to take place June 14, 2013 at Sun Dome on the campus of University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida, but today the organization posted a release on their official website detailing the situation.
Here's what Prisco had to say:
I've never had a champion refuse to defend his title. Signed fighters in our organization have put in the time, effort, and literally blood/sweat/& tears. We have some very talented Lightweights and every guy on the roster knows from the beginning they're going to have to fight the top fighters in the division to get their crack at the belt. Hell, many of the guys in our organization have similar XFC records to Nick Newell. They have paid the price to get to this point in their career. So for Nick to deny Scott Holtzman, or any of those that earn their shot, the same opportunity that he was given, is disrespectful in my eyes. It's always been our motto, if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. How can that happen, if your Champion will not defend his title. That's not a true Champion.
Listen, when Nick came to us at the XFC Tryouts, his biggest complaint was that no one would take a fight against him. Everyone was telling him, it's a no-win situation taking the fight. If you beat him, you beat a guy with half an arm.... and if you lose, you just lost to a guy with half an arm. He knew by signing with our promotion that he was going to be guaranteed fights, as our fighters fight the person I put in front of them. Nick built his name on fighters who were willing to step up and fight him. And now, the opportunity he received, he is not willing to extend to Scott, even though they both carry the same XFC record (4-0). To me, that's hypocritical and I have zero respect and no room for any individual that acts like that in my organization.
Prisco went on to say he feels "Notorious" turned down the fight because he thought he would lose to Holtzman via first-round stoppage and wanted to avoid his first professional defeat.
Newell (9-0) may be undefeated, but he is best known for being the first mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter to compete with one arm and has received a lot of attention as his success has grown.
While Newell has not publicly stated why he declined the fight, the 27-year-old posted on his official Twitter account that people shouldn't take Prisco's side of the story as the absolute truth.
"It's never good to point fingers without hearing both sides of the story," Newell wrote.
With Newell no longer the reigning titleholder, XFC officials will search for a replacement to face Holtzman for the vacant 155-pound title.