Prisco said that Newell was expected to defend his belt against the promotion’s No. 1 contender, Scott Holtzman, at XFC 24 on June 14, but the champion refused.
Newell is a congenital amputee, his left arm ending just after the elbow. He has no left hand and does not have most of his left forearm. He adapted, however, and went on to wrestle in high school and college before turning to mixed martial arts, where he now holds a 9-0 professional record.
Four fights into his XFC tenure, Newell won the promotion’s lightweight championship by defeating Bellator veteran Eric Reynolds. The bout with Holtzman was to be his first title defense.
Newell has made no secret of his ambition to eventually fight for the UFC. It appears that goal – or at least a conflict over how to realize that goal – is what led to the XFC stripping him of the belt.
“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,” Prisco said on Friday.
“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,” he continued. “Nick was offered to fight Eric Reynolds for that reason. Then Holtzman earned his shot, in much of the same fashion Nick did.
“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.”
At that point, Prisco made the decision to strip Newell of the belt. Holtzman, however, will still get his shot at XFC gold.
“Nick is being stripped of the title and Scott Holtzman will fight June 14th vs. a new opponent for the XFC Lightweight Championship Belt,” said Prisco. “Contracts are going out today and we’ll be making the announcement over the weekend.”