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Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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    Saturday, August 31, 2013

    No Holds Barred: Ernie Ciaccio on Founding of Agon Wrestling Championships 

    On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Ernie Ciaccio, the associate director of the newly-founded Agon Wrestling Championships.

    Using a blend of American folkstyle and freestyle wrestling rules, the Agon Wrestling Championships is planning a series of shows featuring real professional wrestling.

    The first event, named Agon 1 - The Revolution, will take place at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sunday, October 27, 2013. The main event will feature the undefeated Bellator MMA welterweight champion, two-time NCAA champion, and 2008 U.S. Olympian, Ben Askren, against another two-time NCAA champion and four-time NCAA All-American wrestler, Quentin Wright. More matches are set to be announced, starting at their kickoff news conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Saturday, August 31.

    A live Internet pay-per-view of Agon 1 - The Revolution is also being planned to be shown on FloWrestling.org.

    We spoke with Ernie Ciaccio by phone Friday night about this new organization and their plans.

    "The pinnacle of wrestling should be a professional world champion," he said. "If we can create that system, it will protect the Olympic dream, the collegiate dream, and high school wrestling and wrestling at the grassroots."

    He added, "That's what we believe. It's our conviction, and we're going to execute on it."

    We had a lengthy discussion on the highlights of the rules for this new event.

    "This is going to be a style unique to itself," he said. "It's going to take the best of folkstyle and the best of freestyle and combine them, and take the worst part of those styles and throw them out the window."

    In the Agon Wrestling Championships, a takedown is worth two points, but requires control, as in American folkstyle. There are no points for escapes.

    Getting back exposure, like in freestyle, will be worth two points, with extended exposure such as in a near-fall worth an additional point. The push-out rule will also be kept.

    After the action goes to the mat, the offensive wrestler will have 30 seconds to score. If there is no scoring, then the wrestlers are returned to their feet.

    Pins are called after one-half second.

    A system for dealing with stalling is being worked on, with the possibility of having a yellow card system, similar to the one Pride FC had, although that is not set.

    Each match is three periods of three minutes each. If the score is tied at the end of three periods, there is an unlimited, sudden victory overtime, with no time limit.

    "These rules easy for fans to understand," he said, while also guaranteeing action.

    We also discussed the philosophy behind the establishment of the Agon Wrestling Championships; why creating an event which showcases role models for the youth is key; why they want to develop a "quality show" which learns from the best parts of how MMA has been promoted; the need for getting the best personnel and building a self-sustaining enterprise; why they are developing this independently from the "wrestling bureaucracy"; how they can avoid the mistakes which led to the downfall of previous attempts at building real professional wrestling organizations; and much more.

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