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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.

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/.

The First Annual Liberty Bell Classic East Coast King of Catch Tournament, organized by the North American Catch Wrestling Association in conjunction with Scientific Wrestling. This catch wrestling tournament will take place Saturday, August 31, 2013, at the Klein JCC, 10100 Jamison Ave., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19116. No points! No politics! Only submissions and pins win! For more information, go to http://nacwa.weebly.com.

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

No Holds Barred: Steve Dawson on ONE FC Fall Schedule and Boom in Combat Sports in Asia 




On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with the Singapore-based Fox Sports presenter, a writer. and a commentator on the ONE FC MMA telecasts and webcasts, Steve Dawson.

Steve regularly visits New York, so we sat down to talk with him Wednesday at a Chinese restaurant in uptown Manhattan in Washington Heights, near the George Washington Bridge.

We of course discussed the phenomenal growth of ONE FC, the king of MMA in Asia, and how MMA is becoming a mainstream sport in Asia and is appealing not just to fight fans and martial artists, but to the general public.

"Many Asian markets are just not into sport the way we are in the West, and the mainstream sports that we see in the West," he said. "So I think that the combat sports that have been around for such a long time are an easier fit for people to enjoy in Asia."

After visiting New York and attending many sporting and other events, he will return home next week to face a very busy schedule. as ONE FC is holding back-to-back shows. Their next show will be called ONE FC: Champions and Warriors, and will take place Friday, September 13, at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia. They return the following month, with ONE FC: Total Domination on Friday, October 18, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore. Two more shows are slated for 2013, with details to be announced shortly, and an even busier schedule planned for 2014 and beyond.

We also discussed more on the culture in Asia and the attitude there to the combat sports and the martial arts as compared to the West, the changing media landscape since Fox purchased the half of Star Sports from ESPN which it did not already own, and much, 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/.

The First Annual Liberty Bell Classic East Coast King of Catch Tournament, organized by the North American Catch Wrestling Association in conjunction with Scientific Wrestling. This catch wrestling tournament will take place Saturday, August 31, 2013, at the Klein JCC, 10100 Jamison Ave., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19116. No points! No politics! Only submissions and pins win! For more information, go to http://nacwa.weebly.com.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

No Holds Barred: Victor Cui on ONE FC Sept. 13 in Jakarta and Oct. 18 in Singapore 




On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with Victor Cui, the CEO of ONE FC.

The king of MMA in Asia, ONE FC is getting ready for back-to-back shows. Their next show will be called ONE FC: Champions and Warriors, and will take place Friday, September 13, at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia. They return the following month, with ONE FC: Total Domination on Friday, October 18, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore.

ONE FC: Champions and Warriors on September 13 will be headlined by a flyweight bout between Shinichi Kojima of Japan and American Andrew Leone, who fights out of Thailand. The co-main event will have former ONE FC lightweight champion Kotetsu Boku of Japan facing Vuyisile Colossa of South Africa. There will also be fights involving fighters from or having roots in Indonesia, including separate bouts featuring Vincent Latoel and Vincent Majid.

ONE FC: Total Domination on October 18 will feature a bantamweight title unification fight between current champion Soo Chul Kim, who is returning from an injury, and interim champion Bibiano Fernades. Also on that card, Hong Kong native Eddie Ng faces Peter Davis of Malaysia, and Tatsuya Mizuno fights Rafael Silva.

Both these shows will be televised live in Asia on Star Sports, and streamed live as an online pay-per-view, at www.onefc.livesport.tv.

We spoke with Victor Cui by Skype Tuesday about these cards and the significance of running yet another MMA event in Indonesia.

Besides having the fourth largest population in the world and a rapidly growing economy, Indonesia has a special connection to MMA.

"Indonesia is actually a huge hotbed for MMA," said Victor Cui. He estimated that there are "over 30, maybe even over 40 MMA gyms just in Jakarta alone."

He added, "They actually have a very deep talent pool of MMA fighters with professional records because they used to have a professional event there several years ago."

So Indonesia has "a lot of people that know the sport, a big fan base, a lot of gyms, great support from the grassroots level. And you're talking about a culture that loves martial arts."

We also discussed ONE FC's plans to run events once a month for the rest of this year, their plans for 2014 and beyond, 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/.

The First Annual Liberty Bell Classic East Coast King of Catch Tournament, organized by the North American Catch Wrestling Association in conjunction with Scientific Wrestling. This catch wrestling tournament will take place Saturday, August 31, 2013, at the Klein JCC, 10100 Jamison Ave., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19116. No points! No politics! Only submissions and pins win! For more information, go to http://nacwa.weebly.com.

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

No Holds Barred: Concussions, the Media, and the Bubble of Combat Sports 



(Photo of (L-R) Arash Usmanee, Mike Tyson, and Argenis Mendez, by Tom Casino / Iron Mike Productions)

(Image credit for PBS Frontline's "League of Denial: The NFL's Concussion Crisis" courtesy of Nick Veasey / Getty Images)

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman discusses the concussion crisis in contact and combat sports, the coverage given it in the sports and general media, and the bubble in which the combat sports in particular live on this issue.

This past Friday night, August 23, ESPN's Friday Night Fights aired as a main event an exciting but brutal fight, where IBF junior lightweight champion Argenis Mendez (21-2-1, 11 KOs) retained his belt with a controversial majority draw with challenger Arash Usmanee (20-1-1, 10 KOs). This took place at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, and was promoted by Iron Mike Productions in association with Greg Cohen Productions, with Mike Tyson prominently sitting ringside.

Earlier that day, the entire credibility of ESPN's journalism had been called into question. An article in The New York Times, entitled "N.F.L. Pressure Said to Lead ESPN to Quit Film Project" by James Andrew Miller, reported that ESPN had pulled out of a collaborative effort with PBS's "Frontline" series on a documentary film called "League of Denial: The NFL's Concussion Crisis". According to "Frontline", this two-part documentary, which will begin airing October 8 and 15, would examine "whether -- as thousands of former players allege -- the NFL has covered up the risks of football on the brain." The Times' article said that after 15 months of collaboration with "Frontline", ESPN pulled out of the project Thursday after a "combative meeting" involving four top executive from ESPN and the NFL. While ESPN later denied that it had caved in from pressure from the NFL -- whose "Monday Night Football" on ESPN is the highest-rated show on cable TV in the USA -- few were buying this story, and a furor erupted online over ESPN's commitment, or lack thereof, to independent journalism.

Interestingly, as if to counter this outpouring of criticism, ESPN did air a brief discussion Friday afternoon on "Outside the Lines" about a new study published in the American Academy of Neurology's journal "Neurology" about these issues. The study, authored by Robert A. Stern, PhD, a professor of neurology and neurosurgery at Boston University School of Medicine, said that chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and repeated head injuries, including concussions and subconcussive trauma, in athletes, may adversely affect their memory, mood, and behavior. Dr. Stern was interviewed on "Outside the Lines".

The combat sports world, and in particular what calls itself its media, generally continued on, as if none of these controversies had taken place.

The bubble in which the combat sports live is thus discussed, including its seemingly inevitable bursting.

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/.

The First Annual Liberty Bell Classic East Coast King of Catch Tournament, organized by the North American Catch Wrestling Association in conjunction with Scientific Wrestling. This catch wrestling tournament will take place Saturday, August 31, 2013, at the Klein JCC, 10100 Jamison Ave., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19116. No points! No politics! Only submissions and pins win! For more information, go to http://nacwa.weebly.com.

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