On December 7th “Notorious” Nick Newell will square off with Canadian prospect Sabah “the Persian Warrior” Fadai at the PNE Agrodome in Vancouver, BC, Canada for WSOF 7. Should Newell win this fight, the victory would mark his 11th consecutive win. Should Newell be given an opportunity to fight in the UFC?
Typically when a fighter compiles a 10 fight win streak including 7 submissions, 2 knockouts and one decision, it’s hard not to pay attention. Newell however is not an average fighter. Newell was born a congenital amputee with an arm that stopped growing past the left elbow. Despite this disability Newell turned to wrestling in high school and was hooked. Despite the obvious disadvantage, Newell persevered and has recorded over 300 victories in his high school and college wrestling career.
Like many college wrestling converts, Newell decided to take his talents elsewhere and pursued a career as a mixed martial arts fighter. Newell made his MMA debut at CFX 3 “Rumble in the Jungle” defeating relative newcomer Daniel Ford by TKO in the first round. This absolute domination of his opponents continued for 5 more fights, as Newell finished all 5 opponents by first round submission (2 rear-naked chokes, 2 armbars and 1 heel hook).
Newell made his first big jump in opponent on December 7th, 2012 at XFC 21 “Night of Champions 2” where he faced Bellator MMA alumni and MMA journeyman Eric Reynolds for the XFC lightweight strap. Going into this fight, Reynolds held a record 16-5 and had already been in seasoned MMA veterans in Eddie Alvarez, Jorge Masvidal and Rob Emerson. Newell absolutely destroyed him, and submitted him with a rear-naked choke at 1:22 of the first round.
The win over Eric Reynolds attracted the attention of WSOF President Ray Sefo who signed Newell to a multi-fight deal in WSOF. Newell made his debut at WSOF 4 where he steamrolled TUF 13 alumni Keon Caldwell and choked him out in the first round with a beautiful guillotine choke, forcing the tap at 2:07 in the 1st.
Every professional mixed martial artist aspires to compete at the highest level, and Newell is no different. He has begged and pleaded for the UFC to sign him, but his disability may prove to be a deal breaker. Dana White has already stated that he would not pursue Newell due to his disability, but White has altered his positions in the past (Dana White changed his mind on women’s MMA, and also added lower weight-classes to the UFC which was something he claimed he would never do).
Is this an appropriate decision from the UFC? This seems like a lose-lose situation for the UFC. If they sign him, and he gets dominated in the UFC, this would inevitably lead to bad-press with the media criticizing the decision to let an amputee fight in the UFC. If the UFC doesn’t sign him, it would be considered discriminatory not to allow him to fight in the organization. Personally, I feel that the signing of Newell is a huge liability but it would be hard to deny him a shot in the UFC should he continue winning fights dominantly. Newell would only strengthen this argument with a win over Sabah Fadai on Saturday.
What do you guys think? Should Newell be given the opportunity to fight in the UFC?