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MMA HALL OF FAME Nominee » Carlos Newton

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Carlos “浪人” Newton • Class of 2006 • Debut 26 April 1996 vs. Jean Riviere.
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by Uri Thompson

Ronin: (noun); a master-less Samurai; Journeyman warrior.

Born on the Caribbean island of Anguilla in 1976, and transplanted to Canada as a boy, Carlos has become one of the most well-liked, well received, honored, and honorable fighters and coaches in the mixed martial arts. His unique approach to martial arts is deep rooted in both his respect for humanity, and the cultures from which the various arts are derived. It is this that has made him a fan favorite as well as a fighter favorite, since his entrance into world class competition in 1996.

The stage was Extreme Fighting 2 in Montreal, where at age 19, Carlos would enter "no holds barred" competition for the first time. His opponent was Jean Riviere, a Judo champion and Kyokushin Karate practitioner fresh off a 19 second KO of Mestre Hulk. Despite giving up four inches in height and one hundred pounds in weight, Newton wowed the crowd, getting the better of Riviere on several occasions with superior jiu-jitsu transitions and head-butts, before succumbing to his own exhaustion late in the bout.

Carlos would earn his first victory, via 1st round armbar, over legend Eric Paulson at Vale Tudo Japan 1997. This win earned him the title of Vale Tudo Japan World Champion. Carlos celebrated the Canadian New Year in 1998 by revisiting the win column in Israel, beating Haim Gozali via 1st round armbar, at Israel Fighting Championship’s “Israel vs. Canada” show. Two months later Carlos would return to Japan again defeating his opponent via 1st round armbar at Shooto.

Newton then received a well-deserved invite to the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s middleweight tournament, the last ever tournament style format the UFC would hold on American soil. The invitation was confirmed as legitimate - Carlos beat his first opponent Bob Gilstrap, by way of triangle choke, just 54 seconds into the fight. Legends Frank Shamrock and Jeff Blatnick would commentate the next fight, as the winner was expected to fight Frank Shamrock for the UFC middleweight title.

Two newcomers and future legends entered the cage - Dan “Hollywood” Henderson and Carlos “The Ronin” Newton. In what many consider one of the great fights in the developmental years of the sport, Greco Roman Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, and boxing were displayed with fervor, and time itself was fast forwarded to the modern day martial artist. This intense fight could not be finished in a round, and was given an overtime. As the final bell rang, it was Henderson’s hand that was raised in a razor-close split decision, stunning many, including announcers Blatnick and Shamrock.

Newton again would participate in one of the great technical fights of our time, as he returned to Japan In Pride 3 to face future legend and fan favorite Kazushi Sakuraba. Puzzling to many was the absence of strikes through much of the fight, as both men seemed to follow an unwritten code of honor, preferring to finish the fight with superior grappling. And superior grappling was exactly what took place, with Sakuraba winning in the second round by kneebar, in what is considered one of the great, honorable fights in MMA history.

Newton would then reel off five straight victories before another defeat.

At UFC 31 in 2001 Newton submitted legend Pat Miletich to become the UFC Welterweight Champion. In his forst title defense, Newton faced future Hall Of Famer Matt Hughes. In the second round, 'The Ronon' put Hughes in a tight triangle choke, and Hughes lifted Newton to the top of the cage, and passed out as he slammed him to the ground, knocking Newton out cold. Although Hughes was at least partially unconscious from the choke, he recovered faster than did Newton, and was declared winner and new UFC Welterweight Championship.

Carlos would return to his “home away from home” at Pride 19 opposite Chute Box legend Jose “Pele” Landi-Jons, and return to the win column as well, with a first round arm bar in a spectacular back and forth fight that would become an instant classic.  With this victory he earned a rematch with Matt Hughes at UFC 38, and a chance to retake the Welterweight belt. Newton ultimately fell short, losing to Hughes in the fourth round, this time without controversy.

Newton would return almost immediately at UFC 40 facing the dangerous striker Pete “The Secret Weapon” Spratt, and earn yet another first round submission, this time by way of Kimura. Four months later Carlos would return to his adopted roots at Pride 25, and face yet another future legend and Hall Of Famer in up and coming Chute Box fighter Anderson Silva. Newton looked to be on his way to victory, getting Silva to the ground in seconds, and fully mounted unleashing powerful strikes in under a minute. Silva eventually scrambled to guard and both men stayed active, but the referee stood the fight up and Silva was given a yellow card, both actions coming as a surprise. Silva took full advantage landing a powerful flying knee KO to Newton, and setting back Carlos’ aspirations of regaining a belt.

Although Carlos would return with a win over Renzo Gracie at Pride Bushido’s inaugural event, he would lose 7 of his next 10 fights before quietly retiring from MMA competition. Carlos would then continue his efforts coaching and mentoring the next generation of fighters, which will likely continue well into the coming decade. His accomplishments and dedication to the spirit of martial arts are a shining example of the honor sought in and throughout hand to hand combat.

Fighter, coach, and journeyman. Jiu-Jitsu master and Champion. Never has a nickname been more fitting, than to mixed martial artist Carlos “The Ronin” Newton.

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