Amputee Nick Newell added to World Series of Fighting 7 card
Undefeated lightweight and congenital amputee Nick Newell has been added to the World Series of Fighting 7 event on Dec. 7 at the PNE Agrodome in Vancouver, B.C., the promotion confirmed on Wednesday. The surging Newell (10-0), who's missing his left hand and forearm just below the elbow joint, will face Sabah Fadai (7-2).
The 27-year-old Newell made a strong impression with fans in his WSOF 4 debut in August, when he submitted Keon Caldwell (9-2) with a modified guillotine choke two minutes into the first round. Newell's bout and four others aired live on NBC Sports Network, earning the fledging promotion's biggest ratings to date with 268,000 viewers.
WSOF President Ray Sefo told SI that Newell has also attracted the most media interest of any fighter on the promotion's roster, which encouraged the organization to get him back in the cage sooner rather than later.
"It made sense for him to be on the next NBC Sports card," said Sefo, a kickboxing and MMA veteran himself. "I think viewers were just as surprised and amazed as I was at how fast he finished his last opponent. When Nick fights, I think people will tune in."
Newell, who trains at the Fighting Arts Academy in Springfield, Mass., has an additional two to three fights remaining on his WSOF contract, Sefo said.
The Iranian-born Fadai is a member of Mamba MMA, helmed by longtime Canadian fighter Kultar "The Black Mamba" Gill. Fadai also studies under Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt and One FC bantamweight champion Bibiano Fernandes.
The Las Vegas-based WSOF has been in operation since late 2012, and has become recognized in that time as a third-tier option for fighters not contracted by the UFC or Bellator MMA. Last week, the WSOF signed Japanese middleweight Yushin Okami following his release from the UFC, where he fought 18 times over seven years.
The WSOF has tentatively planned to promote 10 events in 2014, mostly in the U.S. and Canada, Sefo said. The promotion recently announced that it had signed a three-year agreement with IMG Media, a division of IMG Worldwide, for its global distribution. Sefo said the WSOF is currently fielding international opportunities in Australia, New Zealand and Mexico. The WSOF recently acquired feeder promotion Aggression Fight Championship, in conjunction with its upcoming debut in Canada.
In addition to Newell-Fadai, WSOF 7 will also include a light heavyweight bout between UFC veterans Anthony Johnson and Mike Kyle in its main event. WSOF 7 airs live on the NBC Sports Network on Dec. 7.