Friday’s XFC 15: Tribute event treated MMA fans to a rather impressive performance from a fighter that sets new standards for inspiration in the sport, ‘Notorious’ Nick Newell. Newell’s emotionally charged performance at XFC 15 was the result of years of dealing with adversity due to a congenital birth defect that left him without half of his left arm.
Nick has yet to provide his disability an opportunity to derail his drive or willingness to succeed, in any facet of his life. Newell’s path to becoming a professional mixed martial artist has been a wonderfully inspirational tale, and proves that anything is possible when a person refuses to give up or give in to preconceived notions.
To gain notoriety in MMA today is an accomplishment for anyone with full use of both of their arms, and on the surface one might think that someone with only one arm couldn’t possibly succeed in professional mixed martial arts. Newell’s past experience as an accomplished high school and collegiate wrestler paved the way for him to try his hand at MMA, and since becoming a professional he has gone undefeated in his first six fights, having yet to go the distance with an impressive five submissions and one TKO finish to his credit.
Nick’s road to the XFC was also unlikely and tragic, as he assumed the contract that was given to his friend last year (Abi Mestre) who was killed in a motorcycle accident. Mestre was a close friend and teammate of Newell’s who joined Nick last year at the open tryouts for the XFC. Fitting enough the 15th event’s name for the XFC in which Nick made his debut was changed to ‘Tribute’.
Nick was matched up against Denis Hernandez, who had finishes three out of his last four opponents, but Newell was undaunted by Hernandez’s skills or the scale of the fight as he finished Denis with an incredibly executed heel-hook submission hold to earn the 1st round victory.
Newell is truly an inspiration to us all and we have yet to see the best from Newell.
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