Bellator’s Light Heavyweight Champion, Emanuel Newton, is known for his unorthodox striking style, and spinning attacks. Those skills were on display for his first title defense against Joey Beltran. After weathering the first two rounds, where Beltran looked impressive, he knock Beltran flat with a spinning backfist in the third round. It was discovered post-fight that the reason Newton struggled, was that he had decided not to eat the day of the fight.
Immediately after the fight he had a face-off with the winner of Bellator’s Light Heavyweight tournament, Liam McGeary, the idea being that they would battle for the title. Due to the rigors of the Tournament McGeary opted to take some time off to recover and Linton Vassell was chosen to be Newton’s next opponent.
I had a chance to talk with Emanuel about his upcoming title defense with Linton Vassell. This interview went very long and Emanuel opens up about his thoughts on life. I have included the entire audio of the interview in this link. It’s an interesting listen. Make sure to check it out.
Aaron Robbins: Emanuel, thank you for chatting with me. I had a chance to talk with you immediately after your fight with Joey Beltran. In the post-fight scrum you mentioned that you didn’t eat the day of the fight and that contributed to the struggle you had with Beltran. Could you explain in more detail?
Emanuel Newton: “It’s actually pretty interesting. I decided not to eat because I wanted to take the strain off of my body, and fight off the strength of my heart; the strength of my mind, you know. I thought most fighters eat the day of the fight, so I wanted to be different and not eat. I decided to only take a 30 For Life Shake. It’s a product that we just came out with. We are still finishing up the marketing, but it’s an all organic shake, and for every shake we sell we feed a child for a month in an impoverished country.
“Beltran was being very aggressive during the fight and it seemed that my legs weren’t underneath me. Half-way through the first round he came at me, and I threw a head kick. The kick landed under his chin and I was like ‘oh crap we are in trouble; maybe not eating wasn’t the best idea’. I decided that I would have to depend on the strength of my mind. When it comes down to it, I believe that fighting is 20% physical and 80% mental. You have guys who beat everybody’s ass in the gym and then they get in a fight and fall apart. It’s all in your mind, and I wanted to prove that against Beltran.”
AR: Were you surprised that Bellator put you back to work so quickly after your first title defense?
EN: “No, we asked for it. That’s what we wanted.”
AR: Liam McGeary was supposed to be your next opponent. I’ve heard that McGeary had to take some time to heal after the Light Heavyweight Tournament, is that correct?
EN: “Yes, I think his body was a little beat up. He said that he had taken some elbows. I know from fighting in the tournament that is can take a lot out of you. I don’t blame him; it’s tough to fight for a title immediately after that. I understand completely. He seems honest, he’s a gamer. I know it’s going to be a good fight, and he’s going to bring it.”
AR: So your next opponent is Linton Vassell. What do you know about him? Is there anything outstanding about his game that you are looking at?
EN: “He is a big guy. I know his cardio is good. He comes in shape and ready to fight. His ground is good; he is well-rounded. That’s what I expect to see at this point in my career. I expect to see well-rounded guys, but when it comes down to it this is my belt. It’s my time, I’ve earned it. I’ve done everything right.”
For Emanuel’s complete answer to the question above and many other insights into the fighter’s outlook on life please follow this link for the entire audio. It’s a little lengthy, but totally worth the listen.
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Main photo courtesy of Sherdog