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Video: Nick Newell Gives Heartfelt Retirement Speech Following WSOF 24 Win

It’s been a hell of a journey for WSOF lightweight, Proving Grounds winner, and friend of the Potato, Nick Newell — one wrought with obstacles to overcome, occasional setbacks, and triumphs that most of us could only hope to achieve. Chief among those triumphs, this picture. I mean, seriously, how awesome is this thing? Sure, all the awards and titles and recognition and all that stuff is great, but how many people get to take a free shot at Danny Trejo and live to talk about it? The answer: Nick Newell, and *only* Nick Newell.

An inspirational figure in more ways than one, Newell kicked off his professional MMA career with 9 straight victories (8 of them finishes), capturing the XFC lightweight title in the process and signing with the World Series of Fighting shortly thereafter. While Newell would suffer his first (and last) professional defeat to lightweight champion Justin Gaethje in 2014, he would spend the next two years getting himself back on the path to a title shot.

At WSOF 24 last weekend, Newell took on Tom Marcellino (a local fighter from where I grew up, coincidentally) in a back-and-forth battle that saw “Notorious” awarded a unanimous decision victory. In a shocking moment immediately following the decision, however, Newell announced his retirement from the sport, stating his desire to go out with his wits still about him. It was a selfless, sobering moment that words simply fall short of describing.

Video after the jump. 

Newell’s emotional post-fight interview was posted to the WSOF Facebook page yesterday evening.

You know, I’m only 29-years-old, but I want to have a future, I want to be able to have a good body when I get older. One day, I’d like to have kids and be able to play with them. I know that’s kind of an extreme thing, but I didn’t get to where I am today by just being a natural. I’m sorry, this is very emotional for me. I got to where I am from hard work, and that takes a toll on your body. These past couple training camps have been really hard for me, and just really hard on my body. It’s just…it’s just my time.

I don’t want to be a guy that just fights for a…for a paycheck [obviously overcome with emotion at this point]. I want to be a guy that fights because he loves it. I don’t want to cheat myself of my best performances, and I don’t feel like I’m the fighter I could be, because my body is just not reacting the same way it used to. I just don’t have it in me anymore, so this is my last one, a hometown fight that I won. It wasn’t the most beautiful thing in the world, but I didn’t really get to train much for this fight. It was injury after injury. I had terrible luck, and uh, it’s time.I’ve done this for my past three camps, with injuries all through the whole camp. I came in 20 pounds over the day before weigh-ins and had to lose it all because I couldn’t train. It’s just very rough on my body. I want to have a good life when I get older, and I can’t be fighting anymore.

Thank you to everyone that’s supported me. I don’t want to give you guys a second rate Nick Newell. I want the best Nick Newell there is and his days are over. It’s time to move on and do something new and share my knowledge with other people.

It really puts the toll a sport like MMA takes on someone into perspective when a 29-year-old with just over a dozen professional bouts is already expressing concern for his future well being. So on behalf of everyone that once worked here at CagePotato — ones who knew Nick far better than I did — I’d like to thank Newell for all of his contributions both inside and out of this often great, often heartbreaking sport. It takes a truly humble and intelligent man to know when he can fight no more, and I can’t think of a better way for Newell to have gone out.

Thanks, Nick.

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