“The Hardcore Kid” Emanuel Newton was once the Bellator MMA light heavyweight champion. He brought excited to the cage with his explosive knockouts and entertained the fans with his mosh pit like maneuvers. But after dropping his title and the following two fights, Newton explored employment in other mixed martial arts organizations. Tony Reid of MyMMANews.com caught up with the former champ for a fun question and answer session.
Tony Reid – If you could choose one fight from your career that every MMA fan should see, which fight would you choose and why?
Emanuel Newton – “Of course the spinning back fist victory against King Mo. Mo is an accomplished fighter and accomplished wrestler and he is such a trash talker. It’s always good when you can shut the mouth of somebody that runs it as much as he does. I think the fans enjoy that and it’s exciting for them, too.”
Tony Reid – You have a very unique, and self-described unorthodox and awkwardness. How did you develop that style and start to use it to your advantage?
Emanuel Newton – “It started after my motorcycle accident. I don’t have the best rotation in my, I right arm anymore. I had to change a lot of things. I was more of a grappler then and I wanted to take you down and ground and pound you out. That was my style. After the accident I had to adapt because I can’t hold singles and doubles like I used to. I had to adapt on my feet. I have a good chin. I am very athletic for my size. I move really well for my size and I move well in scrambles and it makes it more awkward for my opponents. My trainer, my striking coach, he’s the tall white guy in my corner when I fight, he has a Tae Kwon Do background and one night we were training and he told me to try a number of different things and I did them all and he was like ‘Whoa. That’s not stuff a guy your size should be able to do’. It’s just about repetition and practice and its really working out for me now.”
Tony Reid – After an IFL win you celebrated by buying a motorcycle and shortly after you were involved in the accident, going upwards of 150 mph. You had a broken arm, a number of surgeries and developed staph infection. How did you work through so many obstacles and everything you had to work through to reach the level you have reached today?
Emanuel Newton – “The accident was really tough. Having to spend all that time in the hospital, all the surgeries and all the antibiotics. It was a time many people wouldn’t be able to make it through. I know God has a plan and I had to go through all that to make me stronger. The life I was living at the time, I was living too fast and I just had the fight in the IFL. I was looking forward to getting to the UFC. I was partying too much, I was doing too much in many different ways. The accident was God’s way of telling me to slow down. If I would have never broken my arm I would have gone to the UFC with the same exact style, the takedown and ground and pound style. The wrestlers back then weren’t as good as they are now. Eventually these wrestlers would have stuffed my takedowns no problem and then I would have been in a world of hurt having to stay on my feet, having not yet developed the standup game. It was a blessing in disguise because without the accident I would have never had to develop the standup game and different style, it made me strong enough to win these fights now.”
Tony Reid – You mentioned that God has a plan for you. I assume part of the plan is to get back to the top of the heap in a large MMA promotion.
Emanuel Newton – “Yes. I will continue climbing and when I continue climbing more and more people will hear my story and then when they listen to my story they will ask how I overcame all this stuff. How did this man get through all these tough times and come out on top? It’s because of God because a living prophet, it’s not so much about religion or a fear of God, it’s more about a love of God and understanding how he wants us to live. We all have different fingerprints. Will work with all of use differently. Something you may go through it might break me or something I go through might break you. You just never know and that why we all have different energies. There are so many people going through tough times and have nothing to lean on. With me they can look at my story and see that through God and now it’s a matter of learning how to live properly under the rules of God and properly understanding your own walk and path.”
Tony Reid – What is the best thing nobody knows about you?
Emanuel Newton – “It used to be because that I’m black and I always like to skateboard. Now that Lil’ Wayne came on the scene everybody that’s black skateboards. I really enjoy swimming, surfing and spearfishing. I was raised around a beach city. I was a lifeguard right out of high school so I’m a water guy and most black guys aren’t the best swimmers.”
Tony Reid – Best advice you could give to a younger you?
Emanuel Newton – “I’m a strong, strong believer that everything happens for a reason. I would just say pay attention to the signs. There are signs around us all the time. God tells us to go there or walk this path but people are so blinded through cell phones, television and even food with all the junk food. People just want to grab a bag of Cheetos and concentrate on that. Look out for the little things and don’t get so lost in all the other stuff in the world. Pay attention to the signs. You can see and follow something that will take you down a better path.”
Tony Reid – What feels best, a knockout or submission victory?
Emanuel Newton – “A knockout for sure. Submission are cool but when you knock somebody out it takes a minute to kick in. With a sub you feel the tap. When you put someone out cold that always wins out.”
Tony Reid – Best way to get pumped before a fight?
Emanuel Newton – “I say Psalms 23 every time. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” I don’t know how many times I say that walking around the locker room.”
Tony Reid – Best cartoon character resemblance?
Emanuel Newton – “I have been getting punched in the face for most of my adult life so I get a lot of a young George Foreman crossed with Mike Tyson. I’m black so I guess that’s what you get. Now I have my own persona though.”
Tony Reid – Best guilty pleasure?
Emanuel Newton – “I like Coldstone Creamery. I eat it for a few days straight and then wonder what I was doing. I get the largest one with like brownies and chocolate and vanilla ice cream. It’s gone in three minutes. I have it eaten by the time I get the change handed back to me. I inhale it.”
Tony Reid – Best advice you have ever received?
Emanuel Newton – “Not to judge. I have learned that you can’t judge anybody because you don’t know what they have been through. Everybody has different fingerprints. Everybody has a different way of living, a different way they were brought up a different energy that was put into them by their parents and their parent’s parents…and on and on. You don’t know what their struggles are. Just not to judge and try to help everybody.”
Tony Reid – Best lesson life has handed you?
Emanuel Newton – “Don’t be prideful. You have to be humble. You have to know how to live in order for things to truly go your way. Many people now are about their pride and doing it on their own. You don’t have to do it on your own. You can’t do it properly on your own. I think pride is the downfall of man. Pride, vanity and lust are the downfall of man. Give up your pride and be a very humble person.”