Written by @NickRiznerMMA
On Saturday, October 17th, Nick Newell entered the cage for the final time.
The departure was unexpected. The announcement was not televised. But those in attendance had the chance to witness history. Make no mistake about it. Nick Newell is a legend.
Ignore the record. Pay no attention to the names of his opponents or the logos on the mat. What Nick Newell accomplished reaches far beyond his credentials as a fighter.
His legacy is inspiration.
The true measure of a man’s life can be found in his impact on those around him. Personal achievements are experienced and treasured, but they’re only part of the story. The true importance lies in the ripple effects of one’s actions.
Saturday may have marked the end of Nick Newell’s fighting career, but his journey as a martial artist is just beginning. Truthfully, it was never just about the fighting anyway.
Nick Newell has changed the lives of so many; more than any of us will ever know. Born with a congenital amputation of his left arm, Newell was presented with a bigger decision as a child than most of us will face in our entire lives. Become a role model or play the victim. To Nick, the answer was obvious.
His circumstances were going to attract attention. There was no choice in this. But what he did with this attention was entirely up to him. Never one to look at his situation as a limitation, Newell took an interest in wrestling – and later martial arts – failing at first, yet working until he was great at it. To paraphrase the man himself, he was never a natural, simply a hard-worker.
No matter what obstacles stand in your way, hard work will allow you to overcome and succeed. Find your passion and pour your heart into it.
These are the lessons that Newell will pass along for years to come. In this way, the MMA community is not losing a fighter, but gaining a teacher, a mentor, and a coach.
He walked away on top. Thirteen wins. One loss. A history of exciting fights and first round finishes. The knowledge gained through his experience as a fighter – both inside and outside the cage – is invaluable and irreplaceable. He will now be spreading that knowledge full time. This is his biggest victory among a slew of impressive wins, and it’s one that we can all share with him.
Support this man. Support Lucky Fin Project, the non-profit charity for children with limb differences that he has worked so closely with throughout the years. Support the fighters he trains with and the fighters he will undoubtedly coach over at FAA and throughout the New England area. Support Matteo Urella, a close friend of his and an outstanding writer who recently got an article published in Sports Illustrated due to his brilliant portrayal of Nick Newell’s story. Support people with ‘impossible’ dreams and those who dare to prove the naysayers wrong.
Honor Nick Newell in this way and his legacy will last forever. Thank you, Nick, for being a part of this world. You are a true martial artist, in every sense of the term.