Is KJ Noons ducking Nick Diaz?
The night was November 10th, 2007. I was sitting on my couch eagerly awaiting the EliteXC lightweight title showdown between Nick Diaz and KJ Noons. I was sure that on of my favorite fighters ever, Nick Diaz, was bringing home EliteXC lightweight gold on that cold November evening.
The fight started out like most typical Diaz fights â€“ he takes a little punishment early on while feeling his opponent out. Diaz has a head like a rock and a chin made of steel; you arenâ€™t going to knock him out, so he takes a little damage while figuring out how he is going to execute his fight strategy . Once he has your game plan figured out, Diaz punishes you with punches in bunches or will submit you, if need be. Ask Takanori Gomi about that.
The match seemed to be going KJ’s way, and then, suddenly, the unthinkable happens. Noons lands a combo that opens a cut above Diazâ€™ eye, and the fight was stopped. The first ever EliteXC lightweight championship bout ends when the victor is awarded the title due to a cut.
Because of the punishment Diaz allows himself to sustain during a fight, he has been plagued by cuts his entire career. After the fight with Noons, Diaz underwent plastic surgery to remove some scar tissue from the region around his eye. The surgery would make him less susceptible to cuts that a cage side doctor might deem worthy of a fight stoppage.
Since that surgery, Diaz has had his eye on Noonsâ€™ title. He has compiled three straight victories in route to a rematch for the gold.
On June 14th of 2008, both Diaz and Noons fought on the same EliteXC card. After Noons destruction of Yves Edwards, Nick Diaz entered the cage and called for his title rematch. A melee ensued when KJ Noons went after Diaz like a mad man, and the cage was filled with security guards and other staff who tried to neutralize the situation.
KJ Noons single handedly set the stage for a rematch with Nick Dia on this night.
The rematch was tentatively set for the third installment of CBS Saturday Night Fights, which would take place on October 4th. The contract was sent to the Noons camp, and here is where the controversy lies.
Since that melee, Noons has been pretty quiet, other then an appearance on Inside MMA where he mocked Diaz, claiming he doesnâ€™t deserve a title shot, his manager has been doing a lot of the talking for him lately.
Mark Dion, KJâ€™s manager, insists Nick Diaz isnâ€™t a credible contender for an Oct. 4 defense of Noonsâ€™ EliteXC lightweight title.
Managers need to manage, not rank fighters. Dionâ€™s arrogance and refusal to deem Nick as a credible opponent for KJ has led to some bad blood between EliteXCâ€™s president Jared Shaw and the Mark Dion.
“I think you’re [Noons] a champion,” Jared Shaw said. “I don’t think you’re scared of Nick Diaz. I would like you to prove that to the world — that you are the champion that we believe you are.
“EliteXC 100 percent believes that you can win this fight. We 100 percent believe Nick Diaz can win the fight. We 100 percent believe that together you make a spectacular fight.”
“KJ Noons, please wake up and smell that beautiful Hawaiian coffee. We want you to fight. We believe in you. Believe in yourself, and defend this belt.”
I agree with Jared 200 percent.
Itâ€™s time to man up, KJ. You may not have signed a contract with ink, but you signed a contract on June 14th when you made a scene in the cage and attacked Nick Diaz. You owe it to yourself and you owe it to the fans to make this rematch happen.
Itâ€™s time to tell Dion to step aside; itâ€™s time to prove that you are a champion and to defend that belt and end any questions surrounding your title reign, because until this rematch happens, the championship reign of KJ Noons will always be seen as a â€œwhat if?â€ .
What if Nick never got cut? Who would have walked out with lightweight gold that night?
What if you lost to Diaz and worked your way back into title contention? Would Nick Diaz duck you? Would nick Diaz let his manager do the talking? I think we all know the answer to that question.