There’s a good chance the word “inspiration” is included
in every other article written about newly signed Bellator
MMA star Nick Newell.
And by every definition, he is. Newell is paired with Corey
Browning for his promotional debut at
Bellator 225. As he preps his game, here are five things you
might not know about the other fighter known as “Notorious.”
1. One of his biggest heroes growing up was a baseball
As a kid, Newell played baseball, mainly due to his admiration for
baseball star Jim Abbott. Newell was able to identify with Abbott
because like him, the Yankees pitcher was born without one hand.
Later on, however, Newell decided to shift his focus on another
sport, not because of him having only one hand, but because he felt
he was too small to play at a competitive level.
2. Young Nick was a fan of professional wrestling.
Nick was a huge fan of World Wrestling Entertainment, then known as
the WWF. His mother would bring him to WWF shows whenever the
organization visited New York or Connecticut. Like many American
kids, Nick and his friends would engage in scripted wrestling
matches in their backyard. Interestingly, this paved the way for
him to try wrestling at school. He was initially frustrated as
everyone seemed to beat him up in practice. This prompted him to
think about quitting wrestling, but his mother was against it. He
soldiered on and won around 300 matches in high school.
3. He was roommates with WWE star Curt Hawkins.
Back in college, Newell was roommates with Brian Myers (AKA
Hawkins in the WWE), and they would watch “Monday Night Raw”
together. Newell said Myers wasn’t much of an mixed martial arts
fan, but it was him who introduced Newell to “The Ultimate
Fighter,” which further roused his interest in the sport.
4. He started MMA as a hobby.
When Newell tried MMA, it wasn’t like he had dreams of fighting
someday. He just wanted to learn and get better. But just the same,
he remained dedicated to training so that if the time comes when he
decided to get inside the cage, he was well-equipped. And when he
began attending local events, that’s when he realized he could and
wanted to do it.
5. He debuted at XFC “by accident.”
Newell had a very good friend named Abi Mestre,
whom he considered as one of his best buddies and training
partners. They tried out for Xtreme Fighting Championship together.
Newell was a semifinalist while Mestre made it to the finals, with
the latter earning himself an immediate contract together with
co-finalist Ryan Quinn.
Unfortunately, Mestre died in a motorcycle accident a few months
later. In his place, XFC president John Prisco handed the contract
to Newell. The promotion dedicated an entire show to Mestre and
named it XFC 15: Tribute to Mestre. This is where Newell made his