(Tampa, FL) Abi Mestre was on his way to making a name for himself as a professional fighter. After some success wrestling at American International College in Massachusetts, Mestre began training at Fighting Arts Academy where he met another rising prospect, Nick Newell. Together the two pushed each other everyday to get to the next level and quickly became close friends.
Hoping to further their career, both men attended the XFC open tryouts in Danbury, CT last January. With over 100 other competitors vying for the XFC contract, Mestre along with Ryan Quinn, were selected as co-winners at the tryouts. In addition to the two winners, Mestre’s teammate and close friend Newell emerged as a semi-finalist and caught the eye of XFC President John Prisco as well. But at the end of the day it was Abi and not Nick that earned a contract and was awarded a five fight deal by the XFC. Even though he didn’t come out on top, Nick Newell couldn’t have been more happy for his friend.
This past April at the tender age of 28, Abi was killed in a tragic motorcycle accident in Massachusetts. In the early morning hours of April 11th Abi lost control of his bike and crashed into a utility pole and was killed instantly.
A few weeks ago while working on XFC 15, John Prisco, the President of the XFC, was trying to think of a way to honor Abi at the event. The XFC owed it to Abi’s memory to do something special and by awarding his contract to his teammate Nick his legacy will live on through his friend.
“I’m very happy to award Abi’s contract to his teammate and good friend Nick Newell,” said Prisco. “I want to honor Abi at the event and I feel by letting Nick fight in his place we are doing that. These two guys were like brothers. It broke my heart to hear about the accident and I saw how close those two were. Abi won the contract but Nick was right there during the competition. Nick is a great athlete and a tremendous fighter. It’s bittersweet but I’m excited to have Nick on the show.”
The tragic loss of a close friend and training partner is a lot to overcome but Newell has been overcoming obstacles his entire life. Newell was born with a condition called congenital amputation and his left arm doesn’t extend past his elbow.
Despite his handicap, Newell has excelled as a high school and collegiate wrestler and is now 5-0 as a professional fighter. ‘Notorious’ has lived up to his nickname by finishing all of his fights in the first round. In June he caught Anthony Kaponis in an armbar forcing the tap in just over a minute to pick up his fourth straight submission win.
“Nick is a tremendous fighter and is very well rounded,” said Prisco. “He’s shown that despite his handicap he can go out there and finish fights. He truly is an inspiration to not only me but a lot of people. I’m thrilled that he is a part of the XFC. He is a great example of what hard work and dedication is all about. I’m really looking forward to seeing him in the XFC cage in December.”
Newell will make his debut at XFC 15 on December 2nd at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa live on HDNet.
“I’m really excited to be working with a company like the XFC,” said Newell. “They’ve given me a great opportunity to fight on a consistent basis, to prove myself against some of the best competition in the country, and they’re doing a great job of honoring my friend Abi Mestre and all that he meant to his friends, family, and teammates.”