Nick Newell: The UFC's Loss Is World Series of Fighting's Gain

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Nick Newell: The UFC's Loss Is World Series of Fighting's Gain
photo courtesy of George Ruhe/New York Times

Ever since Nick Newell decided to become an MMA fighter, he had dreamed of making it all the way to the big leagues of the UFC.

Newell is well known throughout the MMA world because he was born with only one arm after he was diagnosed with a condition called congenital amputation. Instead of letting the situation discourage him from pursuing athletic goals, Newell just pushed that much harder, as he was a successful wrestler before transitioning to MMA.

Once he made it to the fight world, Newell quickly proved that he wasn't in the sport just to test himself—he wanted to get to the top of the rankings as well. Newell has proven that time and again while amassing an undefeated record of 9-0 with only one fight thus far in his career making it out of the first round.

Quickly, after building up his record to that impressive status, Newell began campaigning for a shot in the UFC, but his hopes were dashed when UFC president Dana White said they didn't have much interest in him, according to MMA Weekly.

"Never, no," White answered when asked if they would have interest in Newell. "It's hard to fight here with two arms. It's tough. There's guys that we bring in that are considered top guys on The Ultimate Fighter that don't ever really pan out and make it."

White went on to question if major athletic commissions would even license Newell to fight given the fact that he does only have one arm.

Well, leave it to Newell to take that negative and turn it into a positive, because like he was reciting the character John Locke from Lost, don't ever tell this man what he can't do.

If the UFC avenue wasn't open to him, Newell would find another suitable home and that's what he did by signing a multi-fight deal with upstart promotion World Series of Fighting where he will make his debut this weekend against Keon Caldwell.

"I was very excited," Newell told MMA's Great Debate Radio about the chance to compete in World Series of Fighting. "The stakes are high and the league is one of the biggest leagues in the world, and they've got a lot of great things going on and a lot of great people running it, and I'm very excited."

Newell can't deny that there was always a part of him that wanted to be in the UFC, but the chance to compete in World Series of Fighting is a dream come true as well.

"I'm not complaining, I'm not begging to be in the UFC. I was a free agent and they had their chance, and they didn't give me an offer," Newell said. "It's World Series of Fighting's gain and I'm extremely happy. I've got four fights on my contract and I can't wait to fulfill all of them."

Newell would love to keep the focus on his fight career, which has a chance to really take off if he can beat Caldwell this weekend and move onto some of the other tough matchups available at lightweight in World Series of Fighting.

The promotion houses a slew of former UFC and Strikeforce lightweights, and Newell is champing at the bit to test himself against all of them. Of course Newell knows his accomplishments will always come with attention about his arm, but he's hoping the performances he puts on in the cage will be the real headline grabber.

"People are always going to talk about my arm or whatever, I've kind of come to terms with it. It's a part of me, it's one of the first things you notice when you see me fight as a new viewer, and I like that I can inspire people and do stuff like that," Newell stated. "At the end of the day, I started fighting because I love it, not to prove anything to anyone or show how tough I am. It's just something I enjoy."

Newell will look to make an immediate impact in World Series of Fighting this weekend when he competes on the main card airing on NBC Sports Network starting at 10:30pm ET/7:30pm PT.

Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

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