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Evolve WMMA Show #71 With Nick Newell

Updated: Mar 15, 2023

Evolve WMMA Show Hosted By Shelley Devine | “Notorious Nick” The Inspiring Story of MMA Fighter Nick Newell

Life sometimes can be difficult to figure out. We all have dreams of what we would like to do or be, but weather or not we are successful in accomplishing those dreams is a whole other thing. Often there are obstacles and adversity along the way…For some of us the adversity is self created yet for others, they are born into it.

These people who come into the world with what most would perceive as a physical limitation or handicap, yet go on to achieve incredible success beyond what we could conceive for them or even ourselves, grab our attention in ways that leave us wondering what is it that’s holding us back from our own dreams.

Notorious Nick is such a story. It’s the inspiring story of MMA fighter Nick Newell, who was born with a partial left arm due to a congenital amputation. His arm ends just below the elbow and from a young age he learnt to grasp things by using his stump like a hand. Regardless of the obstacle, the Connecticut native had an inner drive to excel athletically and evolve beyond what conventional thinking might have deemed him capable.

When he joined the high school wrestling team and wanted to quit because it was too hard, his mom wouldn’t allow it. She didn’t treat him any different than any of the other kids, because of it he decided to work hard from then on. He idolized and was inspired by former Yankees pitcher Jim Abbott, who has no right hand. Nick loved the WWE as a kid and when his college roommate former WWE wrestler Curt Hawkins got him to watch TUF 1 (The Ultimate Fighter) with Diego Sanchez vs Kenny Florian in the season finale, he was inspired to get into MMA, because he loved Sanchez’s work ethic as a fighter.

Step by step Nick’s dream unfolded, he turned doubters into believers with coaches and friends along the way that could see the obsession in him to succeed. During that time it was hard for Nick to get a fight, because no one wanted to lose to a one-handed man. In 2009, he stepped into the cage in Plymouth MA at CFX Rumble in the Jungle making his pro debut winning via TKO. He went on to win 10 more fights consecutively with 8 fights being finished by submission. His first loss was during a lightweight title fight against Justin Gaethje at World Series of Fighting 11.

Around this time Nick’s manager was contacted by the producer of Bloodsport who wanted to make a movie about his life. Little did he know that his dream to become a MMA fighter would lead to a Hollywood movie.

Newell is now (16-4) and under contract with Bellator MMA in the lightweight division, with his last two fights losses via split decision. He is married with 2 kids and owns Fighting Arts Academy in Connecticut.

When asked what his 3 keys to success were, he said;

  1. “There’s value in hard work, training while others were on break. The best people aren’t always training because they’re the best…they’re the best because they’re always training!”

  2. “When you want something you have to dedicate yourself to it…fall into it!”

  3. “Not only spend time but make the most of your time while you’re there. Be dedicated to progress to evolve (out do) yourself!”

Have you ever wondered what exceeding others expectations would be like when the odds are stacked against you? In this episode my guest defied the odds against him, went against conventional thinking to what was physically possible to become the only professional MMA fighter with one hand! Now his story is being told in the Lionsgate movie “Notorious Nick” starring actor Cody Christian playing Nick Newell.


On Friday, Aug. 6, 2021 Lionsgate released the new film Notorious Nick, which chronicles the true story of Newell’s life.


Even though he was born with a partial left arm, Nick Newell played by Cody Christian, dreams of being a fighter. After wrestling in high school, Nick becomes a fierce competitor when his best friend, Abi Mestre, introduces him to mixed martial arts. Suddenly, a tragedy provides Nick with an unexpected opportunity, but to succeed he must commit to becoming the fighter he always hoped to be. Elisabeth Röhm (American Hustle) and Kevin Pollak (The Usual Suspects) also star in this thrilling underdog tale based on an inspiring true story. From a producer of Bloodsport, Kickboxer, and Death Warrant.

*The movie was made independently, which means it wasn't funded by studios - it was funded by individual contributors.

Notorious Nick is available on demand and through most online streaming services.


Better yet check out my latest interview with Notorious Nick!

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