White: Why Nick Newell is on DWTNCS
In 2011, UFC president Dana White was asked when women would fight in the UFC and offered a one-word reply.
“Never,” said White. Then he met Ronda Rousey.
In 2012, White was asked about Nick Newell fighting in the UFC, and began identically.
“Never,” 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.”
Then he met Nick Newell, who was born with a congenital amputation – his left arm stops just past the elbow. The sole loss of his 14-1 career was to Justin Gaethje in 2014, who has made a big, bloody splash in the UFC and is currently ranked #7.
During a UFC 225 media scrum, White was again asked about Newell, who had flown to Vegas to speak directly to White.
“We met face to face, and he told me how long he’s been in the sport, who he trains with, what he’s done,” said White, as transcribed by MMAjunkie. “And he’s like, ‘If you don’t believe me, if you don’t think I’m good enough, then at least let me try the Contender Series. So I said, ‘Fair enough.’ …
“They were very smart in flying out and meeting with me face to face. This kid’s been working his whole life, training, and he’s telling me that he can – this kid fought Justin Gaethje and went two rounds with Justin Gaethje when Justin Gaethje was on fire.”
“The big thing is, if anything ever happened to Nick Newell, if Nick Newell fights in the UFC, first thing they’re going to say is, ‘How could you let a guy with one arm fight in the UFC? You’re an idiot,’” said White. “I’m saying, what if something bad happened?
“‘Aren’t you guys supposed to be the best? All the best fighters in the world are in the UFC. So you’re going to throw a guy with one arm, fighting guys with two arms?’ You know what I’m saying. You guys know how to be negative. You know the negative stuff will happen if something bad happened. Might even be some of you to write it.”
“To be honest with you, I’m not doing this for me or for the organization or anything like that. I’m doing it for this kid. This kid came in and begged – this is his dream, this is what he lives for, and this is what this guy has worked his whole life to do.
“He wants it so bad. And I’m sitting there going, ‘This is crazy, man, but I’m going to do it. I’m going to give you your chance.’”
Week 1 of the eight week Season 2 of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series is tonight and streams on UFC Fight Pass:
Alonzo Menifield vs. Dashawn Boatwright at Heavyweight
Chris Curtis vs. Sean Lally at Welterweight
Greg Hardy vs. Austen Lane at Heavyweight
Montel Jackson vs. Rico DiSciullo at Bantamweight
Will Santiago vs. Kevin Holland at Middleweight
Sadly, there will be no Snoop Doggy Commentizzle. Former middleweight champion Michael Bisping and lightweight contender Paul Felder will alternate color commentary during Season 2, with Brendan Fitzgerald or Dan Helie doing play by play.