Nick Newell and WSoF at an impasse
Nick Newell headlined World Series of Fighting's debut on NBC in July, losing – for the first time – to Justin Gaethje in the main event via TKO in the second. He has one fight left on his contract, and is at odds with WSoF matchmaker WSOF matchmaker Ali Abdel-Aziz about the direction of his career.
Abdel-Aziz and Newell's manager Angelo Bodetti are currently in a stalemate; Newell has not fought since July.
“The thing I care about now most — more than anything — is I just want to fight,” said Newell to Marc Raimondi for MMA Fighting. “It's not sitting well in my stomach this last fight. I'm ready to just show the real me and make a statement.”
Newell, 28, wants a big fight, like Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante, while Abdel-Aziz wants to build him back up.
“He's an expensive guy,” said Abdel-Aziz. “And to be honest with you, I want to give him a fight to get back on track and normally when you have one fight left on your contract, a promoter gives you a fight you can lose. I don't want to play this game with Nick.”
“If I match him up to rebuild him, most likely I'm going to give him a good fight. He'll have a chance to win. It has to make business sense for both of us. If I was his management, you've gotta be smart. I would get Nick Newell to three wins or two wins and after that, he'll start making his money back again.
“To fight for more money, you've gotta fight top guys. You can't fight lower-tier guys. You have to have a strategy to build your brand back up.”
“If I give Nick Newell a fight and he loses again, there's not going to be too many people that care about Nick Newel. But if Nick Newell gets two, three wins, people are gonna be like, 'Wow, I want to see Nick Newell fight again.'”
For his part, Newell is leaving the management up to his management, and just wants to fight.
“I just want to stay active,” said Newell. “I want to fight like five times a year. I know that's probably not going to happen, but whatever. I want to go wherever I can make the most money, too. That's definitely a motivating factor. Obviously, the UFC is a great opportunity to make that and prove how good I am, too. Anywhere they have elite competition and I can get paid well is cool.”
“I tried to get in (to the UFC) when I was 9-0 with eight first-round finishes and some big wins and they said no. Then they let guys with 1-1 records in there. It makes no f—ing sense to me. Being in the UFC is not as cool as it used to be if they're just letting anyone in. I don't know what the deal is. It's like you think you can win all these fights and they'll let you in. They just have to like you and I'm not gonna beg for anyone that didn't see anything in me to hire me and give me a fight. WSOF wanted me and that's where I went and that's where I've been. I'm not bitter.”
Newell is a congenital amputee – he was born without one hand.
Late in 2012 UFC president Dana White was blunt about Newell getting into 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? … 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.”
Since White spoke Newell has been licensed in Florida and California, both leading commissions. Licensing is not an obstacle. The craziness is not considering Newell.
However, back in 2011 White was asked when we could see women in the UFC and his answer was identical – “never.” He rethought that one and the result is two new divisions and arguably the sport's biggest star. Hopefully rethinks this one, immediately.