With a first-round submission victory at Bellator 225, Nick Newell may have just found a new fighting home.
The veteran lightweight who came up short in his bid to earn a UFC contract in 2018 was given a one-fight contract to compete for Bellator near his home in Connecticut last month. Newell, who is a congenital amputee with a left arm that extends just past his elbow, made the most of his opportunity and now Bellator president Scott Coker hopes to stay in business with him on a long-term basis.
“Absolutely,” Coker answered when asked by MMA Fighting if he wants to keep Newell on the Bellator roster. “I’ll tell you honestly it’s the first time I’ve ever sat down and really talked to Nick and I really loved not just his story but the work and the perseverance and the indominable spirit and all the character development that he’s learned through this journey.
“I just want to help him continue to be successful and continue to drive for his ultimate goal, which is a title shot of some kind. So after meeting with him, it completely changed my mind on the entire situation.”
In the past, UFC president Dana White was hesitant to give Newell the chance to fight there out of fear that he wouldn’t be able to hang with the top competitors in mixed martial arts.
White eventually gave Newell a chance to earn a contract as part of his Contender Series but he came up short in a decision loss to Alex Munoz.
Now Newell has picked up two more decisive victories including his first-round submission win in Bellator and Coker says the promotion is currently in talks to ink him to a long term deal.
“He’s a martial artist. I want to support him and give him the opportunity,” Coker said. “So we are talking about a multi-fight deal right now and I believe we will be in the Nick Newell business for many years to come.”