(Los Angeles, Calif.) – Martial Arts movie producing legend, Mark DiSalle, and co-producer, Hollywood rising star, Howard Burd, have been inspired to focus their next project, Notorious Nick, on the incredible true story of Notorious Nick Newell, the one-handed MMA Champion fighter. DiSalle, who discovered Jean-Claude Van Damme and produced iconic martial arts movies like Bloodsport, Kickboxer, and Perfect Weapon, and co-producer Howard Burd, recently produced two films together including the inspirational sports drama, 4 Minute Mile, and the touching holiday comedy, Mother’s Day, directed by Gerry Marshall. Their next co-producing project will be a film about the unbelievable true story of “Notorious” Nick Newell, MMA’s XFC Champion fighter with a unique underdog story of overcoming the odds as a congenital amputee. Fighting in the cage with just one hand, Newell was able to take on some of the most powerful competitors in the sport, and win. Newell retired from the sport in October 2015 as a champion with a 12-2 record. The script for Notorious Nick was written by the box office writers who created JJ Abrams’ $71M smash hit 10 Cloverfield Lane.
Synopsis – Champions are sometimes born versus made, even if they don’t know it until they are pushed to see their challenges as an advantage. Nick Newell, MMA champion fighter, ruled the cage once he was able to find opponents to fight. Born a congenital amputee, Nick was born with only one hand. He was an unexpected force in the sport who found his biggest challenge was finding fights whether it was in high school wrestling or in professional fighting. Even as a high school wrestler, other fighters didn’t want to be seen as losing to or even beating a fighter with one hand. That challenge continued into his early years as a professional. Nick had a large support group that included his coach, family members and his hardscrabble mother, a fierce single mom who would never let him see his differences as a disability but as an advantage and a catalyst for motivation. Who would expect him to be a formidable opponent? They always knew he could be a champion and once he believed it, he was unstoppable.
“I’ve been involved in the martial arts world for more than 30 years. There are a lot of tough competitors in the sport and as many great stories but Nick’s stood out because of how he turned his unique challenge into his secret weapon. And, his mom was a huge part of shaping that mindset when he was still a child. Their inspirational story needs to be shared with the world,” explained DiSalle.
“I love to bring inspirational stories to the big screen; it’s why I got into this business,” explained Burd. “Nick’s story struck a chord with me from the beginning. His tenacity and determination were unbelievable for such a brutal sport. I can’t wait to share his story on the big screen with his fans.”
Newell’s story will be produced into a film by DiSalle and Burd who have decided to fund the main production budget through the popular crowdfunding website Indiegogo, a platform that has raised several million dollars for other notable independent films including Super Troopers 2 and the Amell brothers’ Code 8. “We decided to go the route of crowdfunding for this project because it gets Nick’s fans involved in the making of his movie as well as being a part of the filmmaking process” Says Burd.
The Indiegogo campaign will launch in September and will consist of a number of incentives or “perks” ranging from $10-$50,000 including on the set experiences and actual acting roles in the movie. The production team plans to use the Indiegogo campaign to keep “backers” updated on the progress of the filmmaking and to ensure accountability of where the funds are being used.
A “Coming Soon” page on Indiegogo has been created for anyone who would like to be notified when the crowdfunding campaign launches.