“Notorious” Nick Newell is an inspiration to not only professional athletes across the world, but also to those who watch him compete. While fighting with just one arm, Newell has proved that anything is possible, which caused his popularity to grow at a very high rate. But this week, news came out that will put a temporary halt to his career.

Newell was stripped of his XFC lightweight title after reportedly (according to a press release from the XFC) refusing to fight Scott Holtzman on June 14 at XFC 24. The two sides, Newell and the XFC, have parted ways as a result, making Newell a free agent.

XFC President John Prisco came out with comments criticizing Newell of ducking Holtzman, saying that Newell knew he would lose. Prisco even predicted how he saw the fight going—a first-round stoppage win for Holtzman, who like Newell, is undefeated at 4-0.

However, Newell has fired back with his side of the story, saying he was technically not pulling out of the fight. The fighter stated on his Facebook page that the match-up never existed in the first place. He says he chose not to renew his contract with the XFC, meaning he never actually backed out of a title fight.

No matter which side of the story you believe, there are many questions that need to be answered.

First of all, how will this impact the XFC promotion? Newell was the face of the organization and helped get the promotion’s name out to casual MMA fans who had never heard of it. But with the former lightweight champion gone, how will Prisco be able to keep his promotion moving in the right direction to be considered one of the best?

Prisco has said in the past that the XFC will be one of the top-of-the-line MMA organizations in the world, but this news will certainly cause less viewers to tune in to the promotion’s shows, which air on AXS TV. The XFC roster a solid mix of up-and-coming talent, such as Holtzman, along with veterans of the sport, but the promotion has yet to take things to the next level. Other promotions featured on AXS TV, such as Legacy FC, Maximum Fighting Championships and Resurrection Fighting Alliance, have put on overall better events with names even casual MMA fans recognize.

XFC will need to acquire well-known fighters to make up for the Newell release, and that in itself may not be enough to fill the hole left by his departure.

There’s also the sticky situation created by how the XFC has handled all of this. If Newell’s side of the story is in fact true, the XFC has thrown him under the bus purely to save face. That won’t earn the promotion any kudos with fans or industry insiders, and it could even deal a major blow to XFC’s reputation and its ability to attract new talent.

Then, there’s the question of what is next for the former XFC lightweight champion, Newell.

Just like any mixed martial artist, Newell wants to fight for the UFC, but that’s just not going to happen anytime soon. The UFC has been cautious in approaching Newell, and with the latest details surrounding his relationship with the XFC, he will likely have to look elsewhere for immediate employment. There are many possible landing spots for Newell, but no clear front-runner. It will just depend on who is willing to sign him.

He wants to fight former UFC fighters who are now competing in other organizations, but that in itself brings a third question. Will veterans be willing to fight Newell? Even though it appears Newell’s past opponents haven’t had an issue fighting someone with one arm, it could still raise concerns. Newell has been brought along carefully up to this stage in his career, but what happens when he runs into opponents that can take him down and punish him from the top, as Prisco suggests Holtzman would do? And although opponents would never admit to it in a public setting, certainly some UFC vets have to be concerned about how they’d come out of such a fight were they to lose to an opponent with just one arm. It’s a problem Newell faced in finding opponents before landing with the XFC, and it could be a problem that arises again now that he’s parted ways with the promotion.

However, Newell has proven that he is a competitive and entertaining fighter. He will be signed by a mid-level promotion, but not the UFC just yet. Someone will step up and fight him, and as long as everything goes well, Newell will fight sometime this summer. If he continues to impress like he did in the XFC, he will earn opportunities against tougher competition and get the chance to prove to the world what he has said all along, that he is quite capable of fighting at the highest levels.

But in all honesty, the exit from the XFC isn’t a good move for his career. Newell was a champion on the verge of defending his belt for the first time. He would have gained the experience of being in five-round fights, but will now have to alter his progression. Wherever he signs, he shouldn’t be granted a title shot right away, so it’s just like he’s working his way back up again.

It’s unclear which side will be more impacted by the situation that occurred, as only time will tell. But in the immediate future, it appears that both sides lose more from this fractured relationship than either side stands to gain.

Photo: Nick Newell (Brian Siskind/XFC)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.