Nick Newell: I’d like my equal opportunity too
XFC lightweight champion Nick Newell, who is missing a portion of his left arm after a congenital amputation as a child, appeared Monday on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour. On the show he advocated forcefully for the equal treatment he has earned.
After the pre-fight press conference for UFC 155 in December, White threw cold water on the idea of ever giving a UFC contract to a one-handed fighter despite Newell’s obvious progress in the sport.
Last month UFC president Dnaa White emphatically said he did not think Newell should be in the UFC.
“Never, no,” said White. “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. Will the state of Nevada let him fight? Will the state of California let him fight? Would some of these bigger athletic commissions let him fight? Maybe he can get away with that in some of these other states. I don’t know, fighting with one arm is just craziness to me.”
White stance is obvious, but uninformed. Newell’s record as well as the experience of fighters he has trained with all indicate he is at the level to be considered for a UFC contract.
“No matter how much I accomplish in this sport, it’s always going to be something that gets brought up. I’ve come to terms with that,” said Newell. “People will always look at me as being the guy with one hand.”
“As much as I would like to be known and looked at for my fighting skill, it will always be an issue like with the whole Dana White interview. It’s always going to be something that gets brought up.”
“I’ve already been licensed in Nevada, so that’s not really an issue. At all. It kinda disappoints me that someone that’s such a powerful figure in this sport feels that way or looks at me that way.”
“[The UFC] is where you can test yourself against the best guys in the world. I want to see where I stand among the world’s elite fighters and I feel like I’ve earned my shot. Anyone else with my track record would be getting looked at, but it’s due to outside circumstances.”
“I don’t get discouraged too much about things like that. I’m not going anywhere in this sport. I’m good. A lot of those guys in the UFC, just because they’re in the UFC doesn’t mean they can beat me. I think I match up really well with a lot of people in there.
“[White] wants to talk about how he wants to give people equal opportunity – to women, to gay fighters and stuff like that. Well, I’d like my equal opportunity as well.”
“The MLB gave a shot to Jim Abbott, he did great. Even that chick on The Bachelor. They’re giving her a shot.”