Emotional Nick Newell retires after WSOF 24 win due to mounting injuries: “I want to have a future”

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

The inspirational run of one armed MMA fighter Nick Newell came to an end on Saturday night, but you might not have known that while watching the WSOF 24 broadcast on NBCSN. Newell announced to the crowd at Foxwoods after his win over Tom Marcellino that he was retiring from the sport, an apparently emotional farewell that the WSOF and NBCSN not only failed to show live, but failed to acknowledge on the broadcast whatsoever.

Announcers Todd Harris and Chael Sonnen moved on after a commercial break, and it only began making the rounds on social media because of those live in the arena. The WSOF interviewed Newell for an online exclusive video, and an emotional Newell explained his decision, choking up as he explained why injuries were taking him out, but there was nothing featured on the broadcast whatsoever.

“I’m only 29-years-old, but I want to have a future, I want to be able to have a good body when I get older. One day, I’d like to have kids and be able to play with them,” Newell began. “I know that’s kind of an extreme thing, but I didn’t get to where I am today by just being a natural; I’m sorry, this is very emotional for me. I got to where I am from hard work, and that takes a toll on your body. These past couple training camps have been really hard for me, and just really hard on my body. You know, it’s just…it’s just my time.

“I don’t want to be a guy that just fights for a (choking up)… I don’t want to be a guy that just fights for a paycheck,” he continued. “I want to be a guy that fights because he loves it. I don’t want to cheat myself of my best performances, and I don’t feel like I’m the fighter I could be, because my body is just not reacting the same way it used to. I just don’t have it in me anymore, so this is my last one, a hometown fight that I won. It wasn’t the most beautiful thing in the world, but I didn’t really get to train much for this fight. It was injury after injury. I had terrible luck, and it’s time.

“I’ve done this for my past three camps, with injuries all through the whole camp. I came in 20 pounds over the day before weigh-ins and had to lose it all because I couldn’t train. It’s very rough on me. It’s just very rough on my body. I want to have a good life when I get older, and I can’t be fighting anymore. Thank you to everyone that’s supported me. I don’t want to give you guys a second rate Nick Newell. I want the best Nick Newell there is and his days are over. It’s time to move on and do something new and share my knowledge with other people.”

Newell was born with a congenital amputation of his left arm, but found success in a combat sport with a slick submission game. He would win 13 of his 14 career fights, suffering his sole loss against WSOF Champion Justin Gaethje in July of 2014.

Penick’s Analysis: This obviously caught the organization off guard, and caught the fans in the crowd off guard, but they made a serious mistake in giving it no play on the broadcast at all. I don’t understand how they fail to at least acknowledge that it happened during the break when they come back. They still wouldn’t have given it the spot it deserved, but they could have at the very least mentioned that it happened. Regardless, Newell had a very inspiring run in the sport, but it was going to be tough for him to make that next move up. With how much injuries were hampering him, he’s making the right move for himself and his health, though clearly he’s having a tough time with the reality of the situation.

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