Celebrated one-armed fighter inspires local youth at Boys & Girls Club

Youngsters at the Boys & Girls Club of Milford were thrilled to meet Nick Newell, an undefeated professional mixed martial arts fighter and one of the top-ranked lightweight fighters in the Northeast.

Newell is well known in sports circles as the “one-armed fighter,” with his left arm ending just after the elbow, meaning he has no left hand and does not have most of his left forearm.

Newell, 27, grew up in Milford. He was born with a condition called congenital amputation — his arm only extends a few inches past his elbow.

But that didn’t stop him.

He made his pro debut in 2009 and last year was the Mixed Martial Arts Xtreme Fighting Championships lightweight champion of the world.

Newell told MMA Fighting before becoming its first one-armed champion:

“My goal is to prove that people with disabilities can go out and win. It’s more of a message I’d like to send, that if you have a goal, go out and do it. Try it, whether it’s fighting or something else.

“Whether you want to be the best at your job, or at sports, just do your best. Give it everything you have. Winning is very important to me, but at the end of the day, even if I lose, as long as I know I gave it everything I had, there’s no shame in that.”

Newell’s 53 wins his senior year at Jonathan Law High School, when he wrestled a state-high 63 matches, was best in the state record books upon graduation and still ranks him third.

Law coach Matt Schoonmaker said last year:

“To see him win a world championship was just amazing, to see the impact that he has had on so many young peoples lives as well as those who are older than him is just awesome.

“Nick’s not afraid of working hard, having a dream and when he got knocked down or had a setback he didn’t give up. He just reapplied himself and continued to work and strive to become better.”

He currently has a multi-fight contract with the World Series of Fighting.

“It was great meeting the members of the club,” Newell said after meeting with boys and girls in Milford last week. “It was a lot of fun getting to know them and speaking with them about never giving up on their dreams, no matter what challenge lies in front of them.”

Newell is heavily involved with the Lucky Fin Project — a non-profit that serves kids who were born like him. He has also spoken at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and for the Helping Hands Foundation.

Newell not only inspired the youths at the Boys & Girls Club, he inspired the adults.

“He is an inspiration to all, members and faculty alike,” said Boys & Girls Club of Milford Program Director Jill DeWerdt.