Noons: 'I’m a Free Agent'
James Noons is looking towards greener pastures, which may or
may not include his return to the EliteXC cage, he says.
“I’m a free agent,” Noons told Sherdog.com Monday, the result of
EliteXC taking back his championship belt.
Noons, 25, was stripped of his EliteXC 160-pound title on Sept. 19
after the promotion said he refused to defend his title against
Noons bested the mouthy Stockton, Calif. native with a first-round
TKO on cuts in November 2007. Words between the fighters and their
families ensued in the cage, and a rematch loomed.
EliteXC attempted to promote said rematch on three separate cards
since July. But Noons took umbrage with Diaz’s pay scale, which was
nearly three times more than his.
Private discussions spilled into the public forum when an EliteXC
rep announced Noons had been given a 24-hour deadline to accept the
Though Noons was subsequently removed from EliteXC’s champions
mantle, he said a piece is missing from the timeline.
“We weren’t coming to agreements on the fight, so I gave them
written notice that I’d give them the belt back five days prior
before they stripped me,” he said, in the hopes of “working
something out.” “I didn’t make it public, and I guess to prove a
point, or maybe out of ego or whatever they want, they stripped
Noons said his contract, of which two fights remain, only pertains
to his reign as a titleholder.
"Since I’ve been stripped, I’m no longer the champion and I don’t
owe them the fights," he said. "I owed them fights for being a
Jeremy Lappen, EliteXC’s Head of Fight Operations, doesn’t
"KJ still has two more fights on his contract," Lappen said Monday.
“I’m hoping we’ll work something out, but there’s really not much
to work out. He’s still under contract with us.”
Lappen confirmed that Diaz will now face Philadelphian upstart
Alvarez for the vacated title on Nov. 8 at the Reno Events
Center in Reno, Nev.
Noons, who offered to fight Alvarez when the Diaz negotiations
broke down, was unimpressed by the news.
“Hopefully they’ll want to bring me back in the future and they can
have Eddie or Nick or whoever they have in the future fight the
real champ,” he said.
If Noons will be sitting cageside in Reno on Nov. 8 remains to be
seen, though there has been some light at the end of the
Noons, his manager Mark Dion, and EliteXC officials met for two
days in Los Angeles two weeks ago to try and hash out the fighter’s
future with the organization. Talks are ongoing, but both sides are
hopeful for a resolution.
“I think the talks were very helpful,” said Lappen. “I think we
have a better understanding of where each side is coming from.”
Though an immediate consensus wasn’t reached, both parties agreed
that Noons could pursue a boxing match on Nov. 13 for a small Los
“We’re still on good terms,” said Noons. “We’re gonna see if we can
work a deal out, but as of right now, we are on the same page as
I’m going to go box right now.”
With Showtime in advanced negotiations to purchase EliteXC, the
promotion’s future is looking a lot more stable than its $55
million debt currently suggests. Stars will be needed to steer
vehicles on Showtime and CBS telecasts to come.
“I think KJ could be a big star,” said Lappen. "I’ve always thought
that. He’s a very talented fighter. That has never been a
Whether both fighter and promotion can meet somewhere in the middle
remains undecided. And if not, will rival promotions like the UFC,
WEC, or Affliction be in the market for his services?
Noons is optimistic.
“I’m 25 years old. I’m the defending world champ and I can do two
sports,” he said. “Hopefully they’ll want to bring me back. I just
hope that they’ll see the value in me, and if not, I believe
somebody else will.”
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