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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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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

No Holds Barred: John Perretti on Ethics, Combat Sports, Injuries, and Weightlifting 



On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with the ex-pugilist, lifelong martial artist, former UFC and Battlecade Extreme Fighting matchmaker, TV commentator, and our senior correspondent, John Perretti.

Following up on our previous episode of No Holds Barred with Stephan Kesting of Grapplearts, on MMA, brain damage, concussions, and CTE, we continued to explore these issues. We began with the ethical considerations about participating in and supporting combat sports with striking, where head injuries and brain trauma are necessary results of way those sports are conducted.

We spoke with John Perretti by phone Monday.

"I can keep it short and simple: If you get hit, you get hurt," he said. "And that's not a belief. That's not something that is just beloved of me. That's a fact."

He stated, as he has said before, that he is no longer interested in watching fighters "getting battered," even though he was one of the founders of modern MMA, came up with the basic framework of rounds, gloves, and weight classes used today, and even was using the term "mixed martial arts" as far back as the 1970s.

While he does watch some boxing and other dangerous sports like American football at times, he has lost interest in MMA.

"I just do not care to watch that anymore," he said. MMA, he added, with the growing emphasis on striking both standing and on the ground, has become "a lot more dangerous than it was" when many of us had argued that MMA was safer than boxing. And the main appeal of MMA these days, especially in the U.S., he said, is to those who are "attracted to the violence." It is turning more into a cult or even a "religion," he added.

In fact, partially due to his influence, his two teenage sons, Lucca and Enzo Perretti, no longer train in martial arts or play football, but instead focus on Olympic weightlifting. Both are among the top-ranked weightlifters in the U.S. in their age groups and weight classes.

Although weightlifting is widely practiced and respected, the Olympic weightlifting program is far from reaching its potential as a popular sport.

"Olympic weightlifting is really something that has been neglected," he said. While other sports are plagued with injuries about which we are understanding more and more each day, he said that according to medical studies, Olympic weightlifting has "the lowest injury rate of any sport in the United States of America."

Besides discussing the future of Olympic weightlifting in the U.S. and what it needs to do to popularize itself (hint: look at wrestling's continued failures), we discussed the potential for various styles of grappling and wrestling to grow, what the future holds for combat sports where there is head trauma, why he does not like to watch martial arts films, the great dangers to kids training in MMA, 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.

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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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Sunday, September 22, 2013

No Holds Barred: Stephan Kesting of Grapplearts on MMA, Brain Damage, Concussions, and CTE 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, lifelong martial artist, writer, and producer of grappling and jiu-jitsu instructional videos, Stephan Kesting of Grapplearts.

He has also trained MMA fighters, so a recent article he wrote concerning that sport has garnered much attention: "Does MMA Make You Stupid?"

This lengthy article details the dangers of head trauma and brain damage, including the development of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and various forms of dementia, from combat sports and training where there is striking to the head. This important article has received a mostly positive response, and is being widely discussed.

We spoke with Stephan Kesting by phone Saturday about these issues and the future of the combat sports.

In this interview, he outlined questions that aspiring and current MMA fighters must consider: "Am I willing to essentially have Alzheimer's symptoms at age 40 if I do this fight, if I start fighting, and I start sparring hard with kickboxers and boxers and putting in the hundreds and hundreds of rounds in the ring that I need to develop those striking skills? Am I willing to pay that price?"

We discussed how MMA has evolved to emphasize striking more and more over grappling, the resulting short-term and long-term dangers to the fighters from this change, the need for fighters to make informed decisions about these risks, how this may affect the future of the various styles of grappling and wrestling as well as all the combat sports, how doping complicates the problems of head and brain injuries, 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/.

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