5 Things You Might Not Know About Nick Newell

By Mark Raymundo Aug 21, 2019

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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 player.

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 Curt 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 promotional debut.
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