In a statement released by Xtreme FIghting Championship President John Prisco, unbeaten lightweight champion Nick Newell has been stripped of his title after refusing to face Scott Holtzman on Jun. 14.
Newell was reportedly set to make his first title defense against Holtzman in the main event at 'XFC 24: Collision Course' in Tampa Bay, FL next month, but Prisco now claims Newell has backed out. Despite being a congenital amputee and lacking his left hand and much forearm, Newell managed to capture the promotion's lightweight title after submitting Eric Reynolds last December.
In a lengthy statement posted on the promotion's website and various media platforms, Prisco claims Newell is unwilling to compete against Holtzman out of fear. Says Prisco:
"I think Nick knows what I believe. He was going to lose. Nick knows he can't defend himself when someone like Scott puts him on his back. I believe Scott is one of the most talented 155ers on the planet. He's training on the west coast right now with Benson Henderson for that very reason. In my eyes, I saw the fight going 1st round stoppage - Holtzman by ground and pound."
Prisco also goes on to claim Newell was unhappy with the caliber of his opponents, demanding 'ex-UFC' fighters to help build his own profile before leaving for greener pastures, namely the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
"Nick expressed his wishes to me quite some months back, that he wanted to fight ex-UFC fighters, as it would be his best route to the UFC. While I have always said we are not here to be a feeder to the UFC, I understand any fighter wanting to test themselves against those higher in the rankings. Nick was offered to fight Eric Reynolds for that reason. Then Holtzman earned his shot, in much of the same fashion Nick did. Had Nick gotten past Holtzman, we then would have put him up against one of the few new veteran'd Lightweights we are about to sign.
When negotiating with his management regarding this fight, they were telling me about being offered a lot of money to fight for another promotion. We responded that if it's about money, bring us the best offer and we'll agree to match that offer. They did, we matched it, and we were again refused by Nick saying he only wants to fight ex-UFC fighters.
So I had to make one of the hardest phone calls that I've ever had to make as a promoter, I had to call Scott Holtzman and tell him that the current champion is unwilling to fight him for his earned title shot."
After wishing Newell his best in all future endeavors, Prisco stated Scott Holtzman will still compete at XFC 24 next month against an opponent to be announced this weekend. For entire XFC release, click here.
Speculation is fairly heavy at this time, but it should be interesting to hear Newell's side of this story.