No matter how much Nick Newell accomplishes as a fighter, he knows there always will be doubters.
“It started off as, ‘Can this guy even fight?’ Then it was, ‘Is he going to be able to beat a good guy?’ Then I beat a pretty good guy and it was, ‘Well, this guy’s not going to be able to fight pro.’ Then I fought and won as a pro and it was, ‘Yeah, but what about when he fights a really good guy?’ ” Newell said. “No matter what I accomplish, it’s going to be like that and I realize once I lose everyone’s going to say I suck.
“I don’t really care. You can think what you want to think. Whether I can compete with the top 10 in the world is something we’re going to have to find out, right?”
It’s hard to blame those who at first doubted Newell, a 27-year-old New Englander who was born without a left hand and much of his forearm.
Those who still feel the need to question whether Newell should be allowed to compete probably haven’t actually watched him fight.
Newell, an accomplished high school and college wrestler, improved to 10-0 as a pro in his national-television debut by submitting Keon Caldwell in only 2:07 on the World Series of Fighting card at Ontario, Calif., on Saturday night.
Newell was trending on Twitter and he said he received more than 1,000 notifications on the social media site, though he hadn’t had time to read them all.
Newell was emotional inside the cage and in the locker room after his fight.
“When I started wrestling, I was not very good. I really started from nothing. I’ve worked really hard and I really give this everything I have,” he said. “It’s fun for me, but it’s more than that. It’s a passion. I get so emotional because it means so much to me that when it’s finally over, it’s an indescribable feeling. I’m at a point in my career people dream of.
“I’m just really appreciative to come as far as I have and it’s just the beginning. This is the tip of the iceberg. I can’t wait for the next step in my career.”
Newell said he believes he can get to the point where he is one of the elite lightweight fighters in the world.
It will be a huge step when he can be seen as a fighter and not just the guy with one hand who fights. For now, Newell is at least comfortable being seen as an inspirational figure.
“It’s cool. I’m glad I can inspire people. I’m not like, ‘Hey, look at me. I’m an inspiration,’ ” he said. “If anything, don’t be inspired by me because I have one hand. Be inspired by me because I have a dream and I go out every day and work hard to reach it. I’m giving it everything I’ve got.”
Up next for Newell most likely is a spot in a four-man WSOF lightweight tournament to determine the organization’s first 155-pound champion. Newell said he’ll probably be an underdog, but expects to emerge with the belt.
■ FOX SPORTS 1 — Las Vegans with Cox Cable will be all set to go when the Fox Sports 1 network launches Saturday with a major UFC card airing live from Boston, in addition to the day’s scheduled NASCAR programming.
Viewers with DirecTV or Dish Network will need to closely monitor negotiations between their provider and the network this week.
Speed will become Fox Sports 1 and Fuel will change to Fox Sports 2 on Saturday.
For Cox customers, that means Fox Sports 1 will air on Channel 329 in standard definition and 1329 in HD. Fox Sports 2 will air on Channel 319.
While experts and industry sources seem to think a deal will be in place for a smooth transition for satellite customers as well, nothing was assured Monday.
“We hope that all major cable, satellite and telephone video services will offer Fox Sports 1 at launch on Saturday, giving it wide distribution,” said Lou D’Ermilio, senior vice president of communications for Fox Sports. “Specific channel information will be posted at FoxSports.com as soon as possible.”
A spokesman for DirecTV would only confirm negotiations are ongoing. Representatives for Dish Network did not respond to a request for comment.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at email@example.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.