Lightweight fighter Nick Newell will compete on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender series this summer after weeks of campaigning for a shot at the UFC.
Nick Newell’s campaign for a spot on the UFC roster is one step closer to completion as it has been announced that he will participate on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series this coming June. It is expected that should he perform well, he will be brought into the organization.
First reported by Brett Okamoto, it was announced Wednesday would be competing on the Fight Pass series after having met with the company. Newell, 32, has made headlines in the past several years for being a congenital amputee who competes at the professional level. A professional since 2009, Newell is best known for his run in the former World Series of Fighting where he went 4-1, suffering the only professional loss of his career in a tough effort against Justin Gaethje.
“Notorious” chose to retire in 2015, citing numerous injuries as his reason for stepping away from active competition. When he returned in March, he stated it was because of his continued passion for the sport and desire to prove he was one of the best fighters in the world. He needed just two minutes to return to winner’s circle, stopping Sonny Luque by neck-crank under the LFA banner.
Since his victory, Newell has received incredible support from pundits and fighters alike in support of seeing him display his abilities inside the Octagon. Previously, UFC President Dana White had said that MMA was “difficult enough with two hands” and that he did not want to “see him get hurt.” It would appear Newell’s performance and the public support has softened his stance.
UFC president Dana White told me he met with Nick Newell and his agent Ali Abdelaziz yesterday in Las Vegas. "Obviously his dream is to fight in the UFC. I told him I would give him an answer by tomorrow." Newell is still in Vegas today, flies home tomorrow morning.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) April 24, 2018
Per ESPN’s Okamoto, Newell had met with the UFC yesterday and the company would be making a decision about whether or not to move forward within the day. While many thought it would mean an immediate move to the UFC, Newell’s participation figures to be a huge move to grow the successful program. Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series (DWTNCS) became hugely popular last year and has been rumored to be one of the focal points in the UFC’s search for a new broadcast partner after 2018. Currently exclusive to the Fight Pass app, it is speculated that networks are looking to air DWTNCS to the extent that it could replace established staple The Ultimate Fighter. Featuring Newell will provide an incredible boost in ratings as the UFC enters a critical period in negotiations for a broadcast partner.
Nick Newell is currently 14-1 in his career and it will be difficult to deny him a UFC opportunity if he should clear the final hurdle in June. So far only airing in the summer, DWTNCS has already helped launch the UFC careers of a handful of fighters, most notably young upstart Sean O’Malley. The program will feature several cards throughout the summer with the first to air on June 12. No word yet on whether or not Newell will appear on this card on another later in the summer.