Nick Newell stripped of XFC lightweight title

MMA Fighting

Nick Newell, the unbeaten one-handed fighter who persevered through his disability to capture the XFC lightweight championship last December, has been stripped of the belt before ever making a defense.

XFC president John Prisco said on Friday that Newell refused to defend the title against top contender Scott Holtzman. The two had been expected to meet on June 14.

In a post made on the XFC website, Prisco said Newell's management requested more money for the matchup, and that after XFC matched that, they still refused the fight.

Newell did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

"Nick built his name on fighters who were willing to step up and fight him," Prisco said in the post. "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 also accused Newell of ducking out of the fight because he feared defeat, and then predicted that he would have lost.

"I think Nick knows what I believe. He was going to lose," he said. "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."

Newell has a perfect record in his career, 9-0 with eight first-round stoppages. He captured the belt with an 82-second submission win over veteran Eric Reynolds (16-6) last December.

By comparison, his anticipated opponent Holtzman is 4-0 with three stoppage wins.

Newell has long targeted a chance to fight in the UFC, and is currently training at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. While Prisco did not explicitly announce Newell's release, he wished him well in "his future endeavors."

Meanwhile, Holtzman will still compete for the championships on the June 14 event, just against a different opponent.

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