The talented one-armed mixed martial arts (MMA) sensation left behind his championship belt to seek greater challenges, the first of which will come later tonight (Sat., Aug. 10, 2013) against Keon Caldwell at WSOF 4, which takes place at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California.
However, his former boss, XFC President John Prisco, would not let him leave quietly.
"He's a hothead," Newell explained recently as a guest on Darce Side Radio. "It's just how he is. He likes to yell at people and cause a scene and have drama and stuff like that. I'm not really into that."
Prisco went as far as a press release saying that Newell was being stripped of his belt, and that he thought Scott Holtzman (his planned opponent) would have defeated him.
"That was just him being bitter, and trying to make his guy look better because they were going to have to have a new champion at the weight class," Newell explained. "He didn't strip me of the belt, I vacated it. I said ‘sorry I'm moving on, you can have your belt.'
"All of a sudden I was scared to fight and I was going to get killed? As a promoter, why would you put on a fight with someone if you knew they were going to get killed? After I beat Eric Reynolds, he told me ‘Wow, I never thought you were going to win that fight.'"
The undefeated fighter was at the end of his three-fight deal with XFC, with the option for two more if he chose to stay with the promotion. He broke down his reasoning for moving on.
"If I stayed with XFC and I beat Holtzman, I would've had to fight the winner of Eric Reynolds and Kevin Forant ... and Eric Reyonds won. I had literally just fought him under a year ago, and it wasn't even a competitive fight. So, I just thought there was more for my career in World Series of Fighting."
Newell continued, "They never really treated me like family there. It wasn't hard leaving," providing one last reason WSOF was more alluring over staying with XFC.
"World Series of Fighting has a deeper division and more talent and more eyes on it," he said. "XFC and WSOF, their last two shows were on the same day and everybody was talking about Josh Burkman and no one was really talking about Scott Holtzman."
His opponent, Keon Caldwell is relatively unknown, and has fought on the regional circuit in the state of Georgia. Newell says it will be a "tough fight" and he listed some of Caldwell's attributes
"He's a good athlete, very explosive, good striker ... His wrestling, he doesn't look the most technical, but he looks really powerful," Newell said. "He's big. All of his fights have been at 170. It's his first fight at 55."
"Notorious," as he is known, has brought in former All-American wrestler Leon Davis and Justin Torrey -- who have both fought in higher weight classes -- to work with him during this fight camp. In addition to that he also cross trains at American Top Team.
"He may be bigger, but I'm so strong, that I never really worry about anyone's strength," Newell said after being asked if Caldwell's size was a concern. "Even though I'm not the biggest 155'er, I still cut down from about 180. I'm very strong for the weight class."
A graduate of Western New England, with a degree in communications, the 27-year-old fighter's road has "been tough" he admits. In fact, several fighters would refuse to fight Newell because of his congenital amputation condition, claiming they wouldn't stand to gain much from a victory.
"I had five fight camps, and out of those five fight camps, I actually only had one camp, when I was fighting regionally," said Newell, recalling the days he first started. "I had to take a lot of vacation days from work and really dedicate a lot of time and the guys would not show up to weigh ins or pull out the day before, the week off and it was tough."
The former master-control operator for The History Channel is often asked about his disadvantages. This time he was asked about the opposite.
"Yes, I have some advantages," Newell admits. "Nothing remarkable, but it also has some disadvantages, too. As with anyone you have to weigh your advantages and disadvantages you have on body type.
"I don't think it's enough to really make a big deal of it. If anything, I would say it has more disadvantages, but I have a way of finding out how to make things work ... and I made it work for me."
Newell has made it happen for himself at a fast pace in all of his fights, save for one, finishing eight out of nine matches inside the first round.
"Don't be surprised if you see a quick finish," he says. "I can't wait to put on a show."