Emanuel Newton is happy to be in Bellator. And that extends all the way down to his preference of attire.
Starting in July, UFC fighters have had to wear Reebok for their walkouts, fights and during fight week promotional events. That kind of homogenization is definitely not "The Hardcore Kid's" style.
"I couldn't imagine myself just all Reebok'd out," Newton said. "I haven't worn Reebok since the old-school hardcore days back in like high school. Reebok is not my thing. And like I said, just looking around, everybody is dressed in the same thing, I feel like I'm part of a cult or something."
Newton meets Bellator newcomer and UFC veteran Phil Davis in the semifinals of a one-night, four-man tournament at Bellator MMA: Dynamite 1 on Sept. 19 in San Jose. Muhammed Lawal and Linton Vassell will face off on the other side of the bracket. Newton is happy to have someone like Davis in Bellator and he believes other UFC fighters will follow him in light of the Reebok deal taking away things that are near and dear to fighters.
"Any MMA fighter you meet, we're all gonna have really different personalities," Newton said. "We're all gonna be a little weird, a little different. To do what we do, you have to be. When you take that away from a fighter, you take away the individuality. You can say we all have different fingerprints; nobody has the same fingerprint. We're not all meant to be the same. When you do that to people, it can mess up the whole feng shui of everything."
Newton (25-8-1) won seven in a row and held the Bellator 205-pound title before losing to Liam McGeary back in February. Against Davis, one of the top fighters in the division regardless of promotion, he has a chance to prove people wrong who might have doubted him as an elite-level light heavyweight.
"I think Phil, he's gonna bring a lot more light, a lot more eyes on the 205-pound division of Bellator, for the fans and for the people watching," Newton said. ... "Having a guy like Phil that has a name like Phil is very important to the growth of the organization, so I'm happy he's here."
Bellator's Dynamite show is an idea that borrows from hybrid Japanese shows of the past. Not only will there be a one-night tournament that will likely weed out the next light heavyweight title contender, but there will also be GLORY kickboxing bouts on the same card. In addition, McGeary will defend his title against Tito Ortiz in the main event of the stacked event and Josh Thomson will make his Bellator debut.
Newton believes Bellator, under president Scott Coker, heading in the right direction is running in correlation to the UFC's Reebok deal and controversies surrounding the UFC's firing of popular cutman Jacob "Stitch" Duran and Twitter rants by UFC president Dana White.
"I'm excited for the growth of Bellator and I thank UFC for continuing to do this, because more fighters are going to come over to us and we're going to continue to grow even more," Newton said.
Reebok need not apply.
"It's almost like some One World Order thing ready to happen," Newton said of the UFC. "You're looking up on stage and they're all wearing Reebok. It's kind of like hmm? There's no individual personality anymore. I think the fighters are gonna see that."