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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, March 02, 2013

No Holds Barred: Chris Thomas On Why Robot Combat League Is The Future of Combat Sports 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with our longtime colleague and correspondent Chris Thomas.

Based in Maryland, Chris has been involved both in MMA and traditional martial arts for many years in various capacities. He also is among those of us from the combat sports who are closely following the development of the new Robot Combat League, which had its debut show on Syfy in the U.S. Tuesday, February 26.

The Robot Combat League features 12 state-of-the-art robots engaged in a tournament where they fight each other. The robots are controlled by a human fighter known as a robo-jockey and an engineer known as a robo-tech. The first season of nine weekly episodes has already been filmed. Two of the 12 robo-jockeys, Andrew Montanez and Amanda Lucas, are professional MMA fighters.

The Nielsen ratings for the debut episode of the Robot Combat League showed it drew 1.351 million viewers, with just 1.143 million viewers for The Ultimate Fighter on FX on the same night but one hour earlier.

We spoke with Chris by phone Friday to discuss the significance of the Robot Combat League and review its first televised show.

"Coming out of the gate, Eddie, with drawing 1.35 million people on the debut night, it was pretty impressive," he said in this interview.

"It really gave a lot of people, I think, a glance at the future of combat sports. With the head injuries and the challenges of athletes getting bigger, stronger, and faster every single day, gosh, I can't say I hate to see it, but It could be the future of combat sports, these robots fighting with jockeys, so therefore there's no personal injury. Is it happening now? No. Do I hope it happens now? Not necessarily. But I sure did enjoy it."

We discussed what happened on this first episode, how apparently brains defeated brawn in the first televised fight, why we like the tournament format, what this sport might look like in the future, what improvements this show can make, and more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link doesn't work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on mobile phones and iPads through Stitcher.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

ONE Fighting Championship. ONE FC is Asia's largest and most prestigious mixed martial arts event. ONE FC features the best Asian fighters and has initiated the ONE Asia Partnership Network, which includes most of the major MMA promotions and MMA gyms in Asia. For more information, go to their web site, at ONEFC.com.

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American Top Team. Whether you're a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at http://americantopteam.com/.

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

No Holds Barred: Kevin Jackson on Iowa State Going To NCAAs and Big 12s, Saving Olympic Wrestling, and King Mo 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again speaks with Coach Kevin Jackson, the Olympic gold medalist and two-time world champion freestyle wrestler, who is the head wrestling coach for the legendary Iowa State Cyclones.

After a slow start to the 2012-13 college wrestling season, Iowa State reeled off eight wins in their final nine dual meets, with the team now ranked 20th in the nation. Several wrestlers are also individually ranked in the top 20, including redshirt sophomore Kyven Gadson, who is ranked seventh at 197 pounds.

"Were happy with the last few months," said Coach Jackson in this interview, which was recorded by phone Wednesday. "It's just the way our guys are competing. The wins are coming. The dominating performances are coming. The major decisions, the falls, the tech falls are all falling into place."

This all comes at the right time for Iowa State. The regular season is now over, with the Big 12 Duals and Championships slated for March 8-9 in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and the NCAA Div. I National Championships March 21-23 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Coach Jackson added, "We're still a young team. We have four sophomores and three freshman starting in our lineup. So we're really excited about our future. But also we think for a lot of these guys the future is now, and that there are great opportunities for them at the Big 12s next week, and then at the NCAA tournament a few weeks later."

While college wrestling in the U.S. prepares for these championship tournaments, the entire worlds of wrestling and sports were rocked by the recent decision of the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee to drop wrestling from the program of the 2020 Olympics. We also discussed this with Coach Jackson.

"I don't know exactly what went wrong, besides I think our leadership within our international governing body [FILA] was flawed, and we weren't staying ahead of the game," he said. "We weren't staying ahead of what we needed to do to show the IOC that we were worthy of being in the Olympic Games, and the great things that we have done throughout the history of the Olympic Games, and how we are an integral part of those Games. And I don't think our international governing body did that."

Besides going over what changes international wrestling needs to make and what we can do to help save Olympic wrestling, we also discussed the recent loss in the Bellator MMA organization by "King" Mo Lawal, who had trained for years in freestyle wrestling with Coach Jackson at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. Coach Jackson was also a professional MMA fighter in the 1990s in both UFC and Battlecade Extreme Fighting, so he offered some friendly advice to "King" Mo.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link doesn't work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on mobile phones and iPads through Stitcher.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

ONE Fighting Championship. ONE FC is Asia's largest and most prestigious mixed martial arts event. ONE FC features the best Asian fighters and has initiated the ONE Asia Partnership Network, which includes most of the major MMA promotions and MMA gyms in Asia. For more information, go to their web site, at ONEFC.com.

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American Top Team. Whether you're a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at http://americantopteam.com/.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

No Holds Barred: Carlos Carvalho on 2013 ADCC North American Qualifier 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with Carlos Carvalho, the executive officer of the USA ADCC Federation.

The most important grappling tournament of 2013 in North America is about to happen: the final North American qualifier for the 2013 ADCC World Submission Fighting Championships. This is the last chance for North American grapplers to qualify for the 2013 ADCC World Championships. This qualifier will take place this Saturday, March 2, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio, as part of the annual Arnold Sports Festival.

The winners in both the five men's weight classes and the two women's weight classes will receive official invitations to compete in the 2013 ADCC World Submission Fighting Championships, which will be held later this year at a date and location to be announced.

We spoke with Carlos Carvalho Wednesday by Skype about this important event.

"It is such a big event. You can't imagine," he said in this interview. The logistics involve bringing competitors from the 48 ADCC Federations around the world, plus the officials and staff, to the event.

"The ADCC is the Olympics of grappling, because we are as big as the Olympics. I don't see any other organization that runs something like this big, except the Olympics."

We discussed the international growth of the ADCC Federations especially in Europe, the high level of athletes who will compete in the North American qualifier, the ADCC rules, and more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link doesn't work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on mobile phones and iPads through Stitcher.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

ONE Fighting Championship. ONE FC is Asia's largest and most prestigious mixed martial arts event. ONE FC features the best Asian fighters and has initiated the ONE Asia Partnership Network, which includes most of the major MMA promotions and MMA gyms in Asia. For more information, go to their web site, at ONEFC.com.

Beezid.com - Penny Auctions. Your #1 source for exciting auction shopping and outstanding deals on just about anything! Top rated, most trusted auction site online. Where do you shop? Beezid.com - Penny Auctions.

American Top Team. Whether you're a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at http://americantopteam.com/.

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Monday, February 25, 2013

No Holds Barred: Zee Vjesalicu on Ronda Rousey and Women in MMA 


(Photo: Esther Lin/Strikeforce)

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with women's MMA pioneer Zee Vjesalicu.

With a background in judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Zee Vjesalicu turned to MMA in the 1990s, won the International Fighting Championships' women's light-heavyweight title, and had a record of 7-0 with seven submissions (and one no contest) before retiring as a fighter. Along with Becky Levi, Zee is one of the true pioneers of women's MMA in North America. She now lives in Brazil, where she trains people in self-defense and protection, including professionals in that field.

Zee also still follows MMA, and watched Saturday night's fight between Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche at UFC 157, won by the unbeaten Rousey by first-round arm bar. Based on what she saw, while she is impressed with Rousey, she believes that she can be beaten.

"I think anybody can," she said in this interview, which was recorded by Skype Sunday. "The thing is, you got to study the videotape. You got to sit down, you got to pick apart all the videotapes. Everything I've seen, is, she rushes in, she gets you around the head, she hip tosses you, she gets on top of you, and she arm bars you." Key to defeating her, then, is "if you can defend the takedown."

Zee also stressed that there is a bad tendency for women fighters to be judged on their looks and not on their talent as athletes and fighters. "If I want to see a beauty contest. then I go to watch Miss America," she said.

We also discussed her career as a fighter, why a fight with the much bigger Becky Levi never happened, whether she would even be booked to fight today if she were still fighting, how a good judo player could beat Ronda Rousey, how she would train Liz Carmouche, the buildup of Ronda Rousey, and much more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link doesn't work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on mobile phones and iPads through Stitcher.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

ONE Fighting Championship. ONE FC is Asia's largest and most prestigious mixed martial arts event. ONE FC features the best Asian fighters and has initiated the ONE Asia Partnership Network, which includes most of the major MMA promotions and MMA gyms in Asia. For more information, go to their web site, at ONEFC.com.

Beezid.com - Penny Auctions. Your #1 source for exciting auction shopping and outstanding deals on just about anything! Top rated, most trusted auction site online. Where do you shop? Beezid.com - Penny Auctions.

American Top Team. Whether you're a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at http://americantopteam.com/.

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