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Did EliteXC ban Noons/Diaz melee footage?

In the fallout from CBS’ second-ever telecast of EliteXC during its “Saturday Night Fights” program this past weekend, there were pockets of criticism that more wasn’t done to build towards future matchups. A chief criticism was that there was very little done to advance the grudge feud between EliteXC lightweight champion K.J. Noons and Nick Diaz.

Diaz came off like a superstar in front of his hometown crowd of Stockton. He also was able to TKO Thomas Denny in the second round and improve his winning streak to three. But noticeably absent was the presence of Noons along with footage of their June 14 melee in Hawaii at “Return of the King.”

There are growing rumblings that EliteXC has banned use of the Noons/Diaz melee that involved Diaz confronting Noons after his successful title defense over Yves Edwards with Noons’ father lunging at Diaz’s camp. The word is that the promotion is embarrassed by the altercation and doesn’t want to continue to replay the event. Dave Meltzer confirmed in the print edition of the Wrestling Observer that a ban is indeed in effect.

During a conference call leading up to “Unfinished Business,” then-ProElite Chairman Doug DeLuca stated for the record that the company wanted to distance itself from the Noons vs. Diaz brawl.
What happened in the cage in Hawaii is not something that ProElite or EliteXC is proud of.

“That’s not what the sport’s about,” said DeLuca. “I mean, the one thing that impresses me on a daily basis, and I never cease to be impressed, is the sportsmanship of these athletes. Just the respect and discipline of these guys the way they care for each other. This is a community here and it’s not something that we’re looking to underline what happened there. That was an unfortunate circumstance.

“There was a little bad blood, and I’m sure those two are going to get a chance to work that out in the cage down the road. I don’t know if K.J .is coming, but (you won’t be) seeing the melee in the cage in Hawaii.”

While what happened at “Return of the King” might not be the best image for the sport to project, it happened. It was without question the most talked about moment coming out of the event and it stirred up a lot of excitement for a prospective rematch between Noons and Diaz that up until that point, not too many people were excited about.

Obviously, you don’t need the footage of the melee in order to have the fight and promote it. However, what happened was real and it depicts the animosity that exists between the two fighters. If exploiting post-fight pull-a-part brawls were something that happened on a regular basis, that would be bad for the sport. But hyping something like that up once in a blue moon isn’t going to set the sport back.

Sure, the purists will be up in arms but the purists in many cases will watch no matter what. CBS and EliteXC did a great job of reaching the casual fan for the May 31 show. It didn’t do anywhere near as good of a job this past weekend. The June 14 footage is something that could get the casual fan interested in seeing Noons vs. Diaz II so if there is indeed a ban in place, I think that’s a mistake.

16 COMMENTS
  • Joseph says:

    Agreed 100%. I think they are focusing a BIT too much on the hard core fan, and don’t realize that many people didn’t catch the Return of The King show in Hawaii, and would be hyped to see the fight based off of the footage.

  • Bob says:

    I dont know what everyone’s problem is but I enjoyed it lol

  • William W. says:

    EliteXC is basically damned if they do and damned if they don’t with this. If they show the footage, the hardcores will scream and cry about exploitation and WWE-style tactics. If they don’t show the footage, they are – as Sam stated – missing out on a huge promo opportunity.

  • Erik W. says:

    I’m glad they didn’t use the footage. One thing that impressed me the most about the last broadcast was that EXC was finally presenting it as a sport instead of a spectacle. You wouldn’t find the NBA using footage of the brawl a couple of years ago to hype a Pacers/Pistons game. You wouldn’t find the NFL using footage of a pre-game brawl. They leave that stuff to the third-party highlight shows. Why should EXC use footage of something that puts the sport in a bad light just for the sake of hype?

    I’d rather they err to the side of sport rather than making a circus out of it all.

  • aaronb says:

    Judging by some of the “hardcore fans” that I see post on sites,CBS and Elite needed to say screw those guys. Many of the “Hardcore fans” root for EXC to fail while they bow down to their Dana White posters and pledge allegance.

  • Promoting the spectacle of MMA over the sport is a bad idea. Just look at what happened in Japan. Dream and WVR are struggling because the mainstream audiences they once targetted are fickle and have moved on to other interests. People use to complain that the UFC lacked showmanship, but they created a dedicated fan base that appreciates MMA as a sport and that’s why they are the only stable promotion around. Its ok to bring in the Brock Lesners and Kimbos every once and awhile, but if your business is based on spectacle, that well will eventually dry up.

  • aaronb says:

    How is Dream struggling? Every show they’ve had so far has been packed. Every show they have done has been uber entertaining. I don’t see any possible way they could be struggling at this point. Unless they paid out huge bonus money that nobody has reported.

  • BJJDenver says:

    I’m glad they didn’t use it, but if they had…

    how would it be different than ESPN celebrating Brett charging out after the tine par incident? Or any number of baseball fracases? Or managers going ballistic? Or the minor leaguer throwing the baseball that hit a fan? Or the WNBA catfight? Or the Pacers/Pistons catfight, lol? or any number of NFL scuffles and illegal hits? Or Danica Patrick confronting the other driver and then having a towel thrown in her face? Or Tony Stewart doing anything?

    I think it is just that mma is being held to a different standard than already established sports. Unfortunately, they will get little credit for not using it and probably even criticized more for missing a marketing opportunity.

  • bubbafat says:

    It all comes down to who invited Diaz into the cage that night. It was some Bigwigs who called Diaz into the ring, Nate flipped off Noons and his Dad, Dad flipped out ’cause he’s an old kickboxer too, and now said Bigwigs don’t want to be liable for anything that may come up.

  • bubbafat says:

    I’d also like to point out that Dream is not struggling. The Japanese don’t even get the UFC most of the time and MMA is thriving over there.

  • Kelly C says:

    I think CBS is pulling the strings on this one more than EXC. Remember that CBS’ boss (Sumner Redstone is it?) is opposed to the network running the fights in the first place. I’m sure that in order to convince him not to can the project someone up the chain told him, “don’t worry. It’s good family entertainment that’s safer than boxing with more respectable athletes.” Now that guy has to eat crow or make the bad blood footage disappear along with the instigator, Gary Shaw. I don’t think Shaw leaving and the ban on the footage is a coincidence. It’s all part of CBS putting pressure on EXC to clean it up or lost their network deal. As Sam noted in an earlier post, what about that LAKE OF BLOOD that was on the mat from a prelim fight Saturday night? Why didn’t we see or hear anything about that? Again-CBS wants a clean telecast or they’ll drop EXC like Shaw drops hamburgers into his gullet.

  • Metlzer had this to say on Yahoo Sports: “The same promotional issues are facing the sport in Japan, where MMA became huge in the early part of the decade. The leading promotion, Dream, which has network coverage of its shows, has struggled in the ratings and has struggled to create new stars since the heyday. A torn ACL suffered by Kid Yamamoto, the country’s most popular MMA fighter, couldn’t have come at a worse time. Current hardcore favorite Shinya Aoki, one of the world’s best pound-for-pound grapplers, could not carry the ratings on the July 21 show, and his two tournament matches ended up outdrawn by a one-sided of hated judoka Yoshihiro Akiyama against former pro wrestling star Katsuyori Shibata.

    Dream’s back isn’t up against the wall like Elite XC, but it faces a similar situation to the company for the next show on September 23. Under the gun to draw ratings, the company is attempting to put together middleweight Akiyama against heavyweight Mirko Cro Cop, the country’s most popular foreign fighter.”
    http://sports.yahoo.com/mma/news;_ylt=AhrtOmyjGCuNYoVGsO5XPa49Eo14?slug=dm-mmabiz072808&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

  • Erik W. says:

    “how would it be different than ESPN celebrating…”

    You answered your own question without knowing it. ESPN is the one showing those things, not the leagues involved. You’ll never see a brawl on NFL Films or This Week in Baseball.

  • Numba1Stunna says:

    i think its hilarious its even being called a brawl

  • BJJDenver says:

    ESPN is a broadcast partner of MLB. NFL Network shows conflicts all the time.

  • No need to show the footage until they promote the Noons-Diaz rematch.

    Doing so 7/26 would have been inappropriate, cast Diaz in a poor light, and waste an opportunity.

    Diaz v. Denny was meant to showcase case a star fighter. Distracting from that goal is poor business. Everything has a time and place.

    Noons/Diaz has all the makings of a really ggod build-up similiar to what UFC does for their fights.

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