Nick Newell Is The Man

April 14, 2012 — 9 Comments

That was insane.

I just got back from a bar where I watched MMA up-and-comer Nick Newell win his fight to remain undefeated. 7-0, baby. And honestly, I don’t know how he did it. How he got out of the second round and managed to actually win the third is mind-boggling. The win was a true testament to Nick’s training, endurance, stamina, skill and determination. So proud of him.

Right after the win.

Let me tell you about watching the fight, too. It was hilarious. I was at a bar, just watching the fight by myself. Between me and the TV was a group of seven dudes playing darts and Golden Tee. None of them realized I had one arm. Finally, one of them noticed Nick and yelled, “That dude has one f***in’ arm!” They all started watching and making comments (“They prob’ly don’t let that dude wear a hook in the ring”), not knowing I was right behind them. Then one guy came over during the second round and was like, “Do you see this guy?? F***in’ amazing.” He still had no idea I had one arm. After the fight, he came back over and said how impressive Nick was and I told him I kind of know Nick. Then I gave him a LOH business card. He looked at the card, furrowed his brow, then looked back at me…and then it clicked. “Oh sh**, well now it makes sense. Awesome, man.” I couldn’t help but laugh.

What I noticed was that even though they were making comments about Nick’s arm (none of them really derogatory, just…uninformed?), none of them said anything to the effect of, “He’s really good for having one arm.” They were surprised at how good he was given his short arm, for sure, but he transcended his difference and got props simply for being a great fighter; not a great one-armed fighter. I know Nick will like that.

Great fight. Great night.

Congrats, Nick!

(Follow Nick on Twitter or “like” his Facebook page!)


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9 responses to Nick Newell Is The Man

  1. Ivor (England) April 14, 2012 at 9:15 am

    True .. Ryan

    And that is how it should be everywhere all the time .. accepting folk as they are and for who they are

  2. This guy is a great fighter and all. I think he’s getting too much credit about “one armed” and the handicap of being one-armed. He’s not one armed: he’s 1 1/2 armed. There’s a big difference.

    First, he can actually use his partial arm effectively in many grappling holds b/c of where it’s cut off at. Second, he can use it for ungloved strikes to the head. Idk how damaging it is compared to gloved or elbow strikes. Someone with a missing arm can’t do any of this.

    At least he has his aggression, reflexes and coordination. Those of us with asperger’s lack these. We can’t will them to work either: it comes and goes and almost never 100%. So, I’m speaking from experience of what a true handicap is. I often can’t properly execute an attack or defense regardless of training level, etc. That part of my brain just shuts off midfight or looses attention at a vital point. I did fine in karate, but I’d loose any fight on an “off” day in MMA unless I was lucky. (like in karate…) Cuz i’m handicapped for real rather than somewhat limited in attack/defense options.

    • You make some good points, Nick. Nick has actually said in interviews that he isn’t one-armed. He (and I) agree with you on that point. Although, in my opinion, you’re comparing apples and oranges here. Your condition doesn’t make Nick’s any less of a “handicap.” For every so-called advantage he has because of the length of his arm, there’s a disadvantage of equal or greater value. Saying he’s getting “too much credit” is absurd. He’s 7-0. He deserves all the credit he gets. Thanks for sharing your opinion, Nick!

  3. Hmmm…wonder if the dudes comments would have been different if they realized you “matched” earlier? Anyway, props to you Ryan. Lately I have started to embrace the difference a little more but am kind of reluctant to share a lot with family and friends because it has been such a non-issue for so long. It feels kind of weird. Got to work on this because being interested in what other one-handed people are doing is natural and people like Nick are doing incredibly amazing things that everyone should support! Sorry I missed the fight- I’ll have to get my karate friends together for the next one even if it means stepping outside my comfort zone. Keep up the great posts!

  4. As to Nick’s comment- I’d love to hear your views on the word “disabled”. Do you check the box?

  5. @ ryan

    I appreciate your reply. Let me address some of the points.

    “Your condition doesn’t make Nick’s any less of a “handicap.” For every so-called advantage he has because of the length of his arm, there’s a disadvantage of equal or greater value.”

    Oh, I wouldn’t dare say me having a condition means others practically don’t. I’m judging his on the specific effects. The main effect is that he can’t do certain moves at all and others involving the arm are harder. There are plenty that will largely be unaffected, especially a reliance on legs (see Cro Cop). Hence, he has to try harder at certain things and change moves in other areas.

    Many handicapped people CANNOT do this in a fight due to the nature of their handicap. There’s many conditions that would lead to consistent no-win scenarios. My previous comment is that many people treat Newell like he’s that kind of “handicapped,” when he’s far from it.

    Now, to be clear, I’m not trying to take anything away from his win record or the sheer amount of effort he put into it. My imagination helps me understand about how difficult various things would be to do in his case. I know he’s worked incredibly hard and deserves credit for winning at a handicap. It’s just quite less of a handicap than many media make it out to be. Contrasting situations would be an epileptic not seizing at an arena, a true ADD BJJ fighter maintaining focus for 15 minutes, or an autistic fighter’s reflexes working properly a whole fight. Or not and they win anyway, consistently.

    Many handicaps require a person to do what’s typically considered impossible by doctors to succeed. Newell’s does not, although many talk like that. I’m just illustrating that difference. He’s still an incredible person & I root for every one of his fights. I’m just intending for people to stay objective on this and give him credit for what he’s actually accomplishing.

    • Ivor (England) April 16, 2012 at 9:23 am

      I think you are making a good point here, Nick.

      Be interesting to see if Ryan agrees with you.

      Can anyone remember the “onr-armed” New Zealander runner, Murray Halborg who won Gold in the Olympics in 1960. He was described as “one-armed” but in fact he had both arms, although one had been paralysed in a rugby accident, I seem to recall?

      Whatever, the other Nick is to be admired and I wish correspondent Nick well too ..

      • Yeah, I think you’re getting the point. There’s kind of a range of handicap and disadvantage, from least to most difficult to overcome. The amount of credit and respect should be given in proportion to the amount of effort. As for the New Zealander, it’s a good example b/c it’s both misreported and possibly a non-disadvantage in running.

        (Esp if the arm was strapped to the chest or waist. One less limb to coordinate or think about. An advantage, possibly.)

        Well, I figure we’ve covered most points on various aspects of this discussion. I wish everyone well and the best at their endeavors.

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