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Wednesday, April 11, 2007
On this edition of NO HOLDS BARRED, host Eddie Goldman speaks with Kevin Jackson, a 1992 Olympic gold medalist and two-time world champion in freestyle wrestling. Now based at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., he is the head freestyle coach for the U.S. national team, which competes in Olympic and international competition and is part of USA Wrestling. He also is a Distinguished Member of the U.S. National Wrestling Hall of Fame and an inductee in the International Wrestling Hall of Fame established by FILA, the international wrestling federation.
Kevin also had success as a mixed martial arts fighter in 1997 and 1998 in the Extreme Fighting, UFC, and Extreme Challenge organizations. He compiled a record of 4-2, including winning the UFC 14 middleweight tournament.
While remaining in his position as freestyle wrestling coach, he will be returning to the world of mixed martial arts, for this week at least, by serving as the interim coach of the Portland Wolfpack of the International Fight League (IFL). The Wolfpack take on the New York Pitbulls, coached by Renzo Gracie, this coming Friday, April 13, at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Matt Lindland, the head coach of the Wolfpack, will be in Russia where he will be fighting heavyweight standout Fedor Emelianenko on the BodogFight pay-per-view show Saturday, April 14, so Kevin is filling in for him.
In our lengthy discussion, Kevin explains and elaborates upon why he is returning, if even briefly and as a coach, to mixed martial arts; his views on the IFL and its team concept; the inclusion of sombo and grappling, two styles of wrestling which include the use of submissions, in the programs of USA Wrestling and FILA; the relation between the wrestling and MMA communities; some highlights and controversies of the U.S. National Wrestling Championships, which were held this past weekend in Las Vegas; who are some of the top wrestling hopefuls for the 2007 World Championships and 2008 Olympics; the prospects of mixed martial arts ever becoming an Olympic sport; how he sees the Wolfpack-Pitbulls matchup going; and some interesting news about the Real Pro Wrestling organization.
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