By Nick Newell
Unfortunately due to some circumstances that are out of my control I will not be able to make my Shark Fights debut on September 10th. I have a staph infection on my face that will not heal in time to be cleared for combat. This is my first experience with staph and it couldn’t have come at any worse of a time.
Having wrestled in high school and college I am no stranger to the existence and possibility of skin infections, but I have never experienced anything like this. I always make sure to shower immediately after practice and regularly clean my gear. None of my training partners have staph so it truly is a mystery as to how I got it. I used a complementary pillow on a recent airline fight and I believe that may have been the culprit.
It all started on Saturday, August 20th. I was experiencing ear pains, my skin itched and my head was sensitive to the touch. I decide to take action and get it checked out as soon as possible. My regular doctor was away on vacation so I went to the walk-in clinic (big mistake). The doctor gave me a pill to fight infection and a cream to fight fungus. The head and ear pains went away and my skin stopped itching so bad, I was under the impression that I would be all cured in about a week. I was wrong. The entire week I avoided any contact to my face. I focused solely on cardio exercises, strength training and hitting pads. I avoided all wrestling, grappling and sparring as to not spread my infection on myself, to my partners and to allow it to properly heal.
Saturday night one week later, just as the winds started blowing and the rain started pouring for Hurricane Irene, my face began to feel funky and the cream the walk-in doctor gave me began to burn when I applied it. I woke up Sunday morning with no power and my face had broken out badly. I continued to take my medication as prescribed. I was powerless to leave my house as Hurricane Irene was causing all kinds of havoc outside. By Monday the storm had subsided, trees were down everywhere, many of my family and friends’ houses had been flooded (thank God nobody got hurt), the power was out everywhere and my face was even worse. I was not able to get an appointment on Monday anywhere as they scrambled to get power back and get operations back in order.
I was able to get an appointment with a dermatologist first thing Tuesday morning and he hit me with the bad news. I had a severe case of staph all over my face and neck. The kind of infection I have had become resistant to the medication the walk-in doctor gave me and the cream he gave me was useless from the get go and actually caused a reaction that made the staph break out worse.
He informed me that it won’t go away for at least two weeks and will still be apparent by the time the fight doctor sees me, and he would not clear me to fight. He put me on new medication and informed me that the infection will spread with any physical contact. This meant three weeks of no wrestling, grappling or sparring before a fight that I wouldn’t get medically cleared to compete in anyways.
Even though I knew the dermatologist was right, I went to my doctor for a second opinion and he just reaffirmed everything the dermatologist had told me. Out of respect for Shark Fights and my opponent Jesse Zeugin I must respectfully bow out of my fight on September 10th in Independence, Missouri.
I would like to apologize to Shark Fights, Jesse Zeugin, CagePotato.com, Break.com, and all the fans who supported me to get this far. The Proving Ground contest was awesome and the promo video was absolutely amazing. I have trained long and hard to get where I am today. Fighting is my life and I love it more than anything else I’ve ever done. I work a full time job to pay the bills and dedicate absolutely all my time outside of that to training and becoming a better martial artist. I hardly see my friends and family. I truly know I have what it takes to make it to the top of our sport and I hope that Shark Fights will still provide me with the opportunity to prove it. I hope to get on their October 15th card in NV and show everybody what I’m truly capable of inside the cage. Thank you for your time, I am sorry for all the commotion and I hope this will all work out and I can fight next month.