Nick Newell gets a chance to prove his doubters wrong.
ESPN has learned that Nick Newell, an MMA fighter who was born with a congenital amputation on his left arm, will debut in the UFC this June. Dana White, the current president of UFC, has faced accusations he is not an "equal opportunity" promoter, his reticence even questioned by Nick Newell dating back to 2013, after toiling as the XFC Lightweight Champion.
Newell's level of discouragement led to him prematurely retiring from the sport in 2015 after losing his World Series of Fighting belt to current UFC fighter Justin Gaethje. Since returning to the sport, Newell has improved his record to 14-1, and based on aggregate ranking systems he legitimately fits in the UFC talent pool based on results and the level of his competition. Nick Newell is by no means a novelty act.
Newell will make his debut on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series this summer. The announcement coincides with White's decision to broadcast his events through the ESPN+ digital streaming platform, barring failure to secure a winning bid. A partnership with ESPN+ would undoubtedly create a larger demand for new fighters, and an opportunity for individuals like Newell to prove ableist attitudes and practices false, once and for all.