Emanuel Newton is in a bit of strange place with this Bellator 1-night, 4-man light heavyweight tournament. Of all the competitors, he’s the only one to ever actually hold the 205 lb strap previously. And while he’s also far and away the most experienced fighter stepping into the cage among them, he’s also one of the youngest. The extra mileage doesn’t seem to be worrying him, as he told Bloody Elbow that he feels like he’s in the best shape of his career and has really re-dedicated himself to the sport, but it does give him a lot of perspective on just what he’s looking to get out of the whole experience.
Newton spoke to Bloody Elbow about Bellator Dynamite and its one night tournament. First and foremost, how he hopes to show that he’s really turned a corner in his approach in the gym and in his mindset for fighting in general:
“I’ve really acted on my last loss.” Newton said, speaking of both losing the title to Liam McGeary back in February and receiving a suspension for marijuana after the fight. “I really had to sit down and re-vamp my mindset and my way of thinking. And I know this is what really allows me to show who I am, to open up people’s minds to a different way of thinking. It also allows me to take care of the ones that I love. So, I have to have a new passion for this sport, I have to have a new love for this sport, and I’m going to show that Saturday.
“I’m definitely looking forward to this. One thing about MMA, it’s always about challenging yourself. And so, sometimes when you have easy fights or the opponent’s gonna be easy, they say, “Oh, you’re going to win for sure. You’re the favorite by 1 to 10,” I feel that it can make a person complacent and make a person not be hungry anymore. I’m the hungriest I’ve ever been. That’s why I want this win, not just for myself, but for the ones that I love. And also, the fans can grow into a new experience with me too. I’m very excited for this one night tournament and I think it’s going to be an awesome adventure.”
The winner of that tournament has been promised a shot at the title, currently held by Liam McGeary. Newton explained why getting the belt back isn’t so important to him in terms of the hardware, but for the platform it affords him:
“For me, it’s just a belt, man.” Newton explained when asked, what the title means to him. “To be honest, I put the time in, I’ve got multiple championships. But, obviously, holding a belt is what gets you the recognition, gets the eyes to watch, and gets you the big paydays. So, I definitely want to get that belt back, just so I can show the world how to be different, how to think different, and how to love themselves more. Because, there’s so many people that are lost and confused and beating themselves up every day with their thoughts alone. So, I feel by having that belt it definitely gets more eyes on me so that I can help more people that are around me.
“100%, If you’re on top of the mountain, you gotta look up. Everyone’s gotta look up. When I stand back on top of that mountain people are going to want to climb and get where I am. Whether it be a way of thinking, or their way of acting, or just their way of loving.”
As for just how long he’s going to make use of the platform fighting affords him, Newton seemed less sure of that. At the moment, Dynamite is in front of him and the title shot is out ahead, but over the long term?
“To be honest, I know that I have been in the sport for a while.” Said Newton, speaking of his eventual goals after MMA. “What I want to do eventually is just train fighters. We’ve got so many other guys like AJ McKee, like Bubba Jenkins, one of our wrestling partners right now, who is a monster, is Joey Davis. These are guys I want to train and give my skills to. There’s a lot of things that I can show, that I don’t even do in the cage, that might work for somebody else. So, I definitely want to be able to move on to something different, something new. But, like you said, this is the platform that I need to be able to do that. I want to go out on top instead of going out mid-way or any other place like that.”
Newton is something of a rare figure in MMA in that, as a US based light heavyweight fighter with a long and successful career, he’s never fought for the UFC, or any other of the various Zuffa owned promotions. He went from the regionals to MFC, to Shark Fights, to Bellator, where he’s stayed. As such, he seemed like the perfect person to ask to get a feeling of just how much recent moves by the UFC are being felt by fighters on the outside, especially ones who have been around the sport for a long time:
“You know man, it’s really nowhere near me. If anything, the only fallout I’ve really seen is the better talent coming around, like Phil Davis. Because, they’re obviously not taking care of him on one side. So, I sure to hell thank God that there’s an organization like Bellator, where guys can come over and continue their career, continue to not have to change their way of living, because of financial situation. I don’t feel it, because I don’t fight for UFC, so it works out perfectly for me.
“I feel bad for them, I saw the payout from sponsors that some of the UFC fighters got and I was like, ‘What!? Huh?’ It just blows my mind, you know. It’s almost like the UFC is trying to become some ‘one world order’ kind of organization. You can only wear this, you can only think this, you can’t say this, you can’t do that. What happened to the whole freedom of speech, what happened to the whole… I understand, don’t badmouth the organization you fight for, but whatever happened to just being able to speak your mind. Sucks, like constitutional rights being taken away, even in MMA now.”
And finally, since he’s best known for his unusual striking style in the cage, and this is a co-kickboxing card, it seemed only right to ask whether we might see Newton with a pair of boxing gloves on the next time Bellator put together a Dynamite event:
“I think it’d be cool to try a kickboxing bout. I’m an unorthodox striker and I think to able to put that together and kickbox would be very awesome. And to not have to worry about the takedown, I can stand a little more straight up and be able to just work on my striking. I think that’d be really cool, I’d be down for that 100%.”
You can follow Emanuel Newton on Twitter @Emanuel_Newton
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