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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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Friday, November 29, 2013

No Holds Barred: Fallon Fox, Thomas Krever, Brendon Ayanbadejo on 2013 Emery Awards 


(Photo of Hudson Taylor, Fallon Fox, and Brendon Ayanbadejo receiving 2013 Emery Awards, courtesy of Fallon Fox)

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Fallon Fox, the first openly transgender MMA fighter; Thomas Krever, the CEO of the Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI); and Brendon Ayanbadejo, a three-time Pro Bowl NFL player, a member of the world champion Baltimore Ravens who won Super Bowl XLVII, and a long-time advocate for equal rights.

What they have in common is that they all were involved in the 2013 Emery Awards, presented by the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a professional provider of social support and programming for at-risk lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning (LGBTQ) youth. These awards were presented at an event in New York on Wednesday, November 13. Fallon Fox and Brendon Ayanbadejo were among the athletes receiving these awards, as well as Hudson Taylor, a three-time All-American wrestler at the University of Maryland who is now a volunteer assistant coach for the Columbia University wrestling team and is the founder and executive director of Athlete Ally, a nonprofit organization focused on ending homophobia and transphobia in sports by educating allies in the athletic community and empowering them to take a stand. Also receiving awards were Chelsea Clinton, vice chair of the Clinton Foundation, and several other individuals.

The Emery Awards are given to individuals and corporations that exemplify HMI's mission of providing a safe and supportive environment for all young people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

We spoke with Thomas Krever and Brendon Ayanbadejo right before the awards event on November 13, on the red carpet outside Cipriani Wall Street. We spoke with Fallon Fox by phone Wednesday, November 27.

Saying that she had a "wonderful time" at this event, Fallon Fox, in our discussion, raised some of the issues involving the combat sports and the LGBT community.

"I don't think mixed martial arts is very big within the LGBT world. I think it's getting bigger with myself in mixed martial arts and a few other athletes who are lesbian, open lesbian," she said.

There are "LGBT athletes in every sport. We've always been there and always will be. But it's a good thing that a lot of us are coming out now," she said.

And she added, "I hope there's going to be a male gay athlete that comes out in the future."

We also discussed her plans to return to action next year after suffering her first loss in MMA, her plans to go on the public speaking circuit, 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:

LenneHardt.com, the web site of the world's greatest ring announcer, Lenne Hardt. Need a unique and cool combat sports-related gift? At LenneHardt.com, you can order personalized messages, wedding calls, ringtones, phone answering messages, and more, all recorded by Lenne herself, in the style of your choice. For more information, go to LenneHardt.com.

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.

GrappleGnostic, sponsored by Defense Soap. Where the will to win meets the power of knowledge. Features, interviews, analysis, health tips, and information on wrestling, grappling, jiu-jitsu, and all the grappling arts, written by some of the best writers and experts in the world. Check out their web site, a http://defensesoap.com/grapplegnostic.

Defense Soap, an effective, deep penetrating body soap with natural antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial soap ingredients. Defense Soap is the best cleansing body soap for men and women athletes who are involved in contact sports such as MMA, wrestling, grappling, jiu-jitsu, and judo, to help their antifungal, anti-ringworm, anti-jock itch strategy. Check out their web site, at http://defensesoap.com.

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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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

No Holds Barred: Nick Garone on Second Annual Grapple at the Garden on December 1 




On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Nick Garone, the president of X-Cel Worldwide.

The main topic of our discussion was the second annual Grapple at the Garden.

This event will be held Sunday, December 1, at the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden in New York.

For the first time in almost 94 years, when Joe Stecher defeated Earl Caddock on January 30, 1920, to win the world heavyweight wrestling championship, there will be real professional wrestling at Madison Square Garden.

In the main event of Grapple at the Garden 2, four-time NCAA Division I national champion Kyle Dake, the only wrestler to win these championships in four different weight classes, will take on another former NCAA Division I national champion, Bubba Jenkins, who was also a freestyle wrestling junior world champion and is currently a professional MMA fighter. This match will be held under freestyle wrestling rules and is being promoted in association with X-Cel Worldwide.

The co-main event, just announced, is a match between Frankie Edgar, a former UFC lightweight champion and Division I All-American wrestler at Clarion, and Phillipe Nover, who is the current Ring of Combat MMA lightweight champion and will represent the Renzo Gracie Academy.

The card also has numerous college wrestling dual meets, involving Army, Bloomsburg, Boston University, Cornell, Drexel, George Mason, Hofstra, Illinois, Maryland, Penn, Princeton, and Rutgers, as well as four local wrestling programs including Stevens Institute of Technology and NYU in an NCAA Division III matchup, and a match between NCWA men's club teams from Stony Brook University and Westchester Community College.

The card also includes the Renzo Gracie Academy vs. Team Joe Warren, with numerous MMA fighters such as "King" Mo Lawal and Joe Warren himself wrestling; top USA Wrestling senior clubs from the New York Athletic Club and the Titan Mercury Wrestling Club; a team USA vs. team Canada in two women's freestyle wrestling matches with 2012 world champion and three-time world medalist Adeline Gray of the U.S. vs. Canadian World Team member Erica Wiebe, and 2012 world silver medalist Helen Maroulis of the U.S. vs. Canadian World Team member Jillian Gallays; the finals of the Beat The Streets PSAL Thanksgiving Dual Meet Invitational in high school wrestling; and the finals of the inaugural Grapple at the Garden middle school championship, produced in association with the Metropolitan Wrestling Association.

The full card, which of course is subject to change, can be seen here.

We spoke with Nick Garone by phone Sunday.

"One of the things that is so exciting about this opportunity is the venue," he said. "The venue is just second to none. It's the Mecca. It's the most famous arena on earth, in the world. People know it from all around the world, from China, to London, from California to Maine, everybody knows Madison Square Garden."

The event is also aimed at a broad audience.

"We really don't want to attract just wrestling people," he said. "Wrestling fans are going to be into it. Wrestling fans are going to come out and they're going to support. We really want people to appreciate the great athletes that this sport produces."

As for the athletes, he added, "This is giving them an opportunity to make a little money in their own sport, give the sport publicity, and as well be a good will ambassador for their style of wrestling."

We also discussed that while many Division I college wrestling programs have been dropped in recent years, there has been an actual growth of the number of college wrestling programs overall, that the sport of wrestling is growing in the U.S. on the grassroots level, 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:

LenneHardt.com, the web site of the world's greatest ring announcer, Lenne Hardt. Need a unique and cool combat sports-related gift? At LenneHardt.com, you can order personalized messages, wedding calls, ringtones, phone answering messages, and more, all recorded by Lenne herself, in the style of your choice. For more information, go to LenneHardt.com.

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.

GrappleGnostic, sponsored by Defense Soap. Where the will to win meets the power of knowledge. Features, interviews, analysis, health tips, and information on wrestling, grappling, jiu-jitsu, and all the grappling arts, written by some of the best writers and experts in the world. Check out their web site, a http://defensesoap.com/grapplegnostic.

Defense Soap, an effective, deep penetrating body soap with natural antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial soap ingredients. Defense Soap is the best cleansing body soap for men and women athletes who are involved in contact sports such as MMA, wrestling, grappling, jiu-jitsu, and judo, to help their antifungal, anti-ringworm, anti-jock itch strategy. Check out their web site, at http://defensesoap.com.

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, November 25, 2013

No Holds Barred: Dr. Margaret Goodman on Concussions, CTE, Dementia, and the Future of Combat Sports 



On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Dr. Margaret Goodman, a neurologist, the former chair of the Medical Advisory Board of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, and the president and board chairman of VADA, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association.

We spoke with her by phone Sunday, mainly about one of the many health issues facing the combat sports: concussions and the subsequent risks of dementia and diseases like CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy).

"You can generalize, and you can say that what we know today is, getting hit in the head in any kind of sport, whether it be football, baseball, boxing, or MMA, is not good for the brain," she said.

"How good it's not for the brain hasn't really been established as far as how much trauma can someone sustain before they're predisposed to a condition like chronic traumatic encephalopathy. And those factors are still unknown."

However, she cautioned, "But what we do know is concussions or trauma to the head is additive. So the more punishment you take to your head, especially over a shorter period of time, often in the short time of a career of an MMA fighter or a boxer, has a whole bunch of risks as far as predisposing someone to a dementing illness."

We discussed how trauma to the head can lead to serious brain diseases even in young athletes and especially children, why children are more predisposed to these diseases than adults, and how many in the combat sports are turning "one blind eye to what's going on."

All the studies about the dangers on concussions and the prevalence of CTE in former NFL football players "should be a wakeup call" to those in combat sports where striking the head and trying to score a knockout are key, legal parts of the sport.

We discussed the old saying from the 1990s that "MMA is safer than boxing," and whether or not that can still be said to be true, assuming it ever was.

She was especially critical of the regulators of sports like boxing and MMA, who are largely "ignoring what is happening to the NFL." She said, referring not just to bad scoring, but to health and safety issues, "We're not regulating these sports properly." We also discussed the dangers of rapid weight-cutting, and what might be changed in order to minimize these dangers.

But with the growing body of scientific studies and literature on concussions and CTE, with these issues seeming only to mount in the combat sports, with increased public attention all the time on the effects of head trauma involving high-profile athletes like Georges St-Pierre, with no solution in sight to these problems, and with the likelihood of more tragedies and premature deaths facing these athletes, we had to ask some very tough questions, to which there are not easy answers.

Can the combat sports survive? Which ones are likeliest to go the way of smoking and becoming socially unacceptable and severely decline? Can combat sports with no striking to the head, like the various styles of grappling and wrestling, fill what may be a coming void? And what should those of us presently involved in various capacities with the combat sports do about all this?

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:

LenneHardt.com, the web site of the world's greatest ring announcer, Lenne Hardt. Need a unique and cool combat sports-related gift? At LenneHardt.com, you can order personalized messages, wedding calls, ringtones, phone answering messages, and more, all recorded by Lenne herself, in the style of your choice. For more information, go to LenneHardt.com.

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.

GrappleGnostic, sponsored by Defense Soap. Where the will to win meets the power of knowledge. Features, interviews, analysis, health tips, and information on wrestling, grappling, jiu-jitsu, and all the grappling arts, written by some of the best writers and experts in the world. Check out their web site, a http://defensesoap.com/grapplegnostic.

Defense Soap, an effective, deep penetrating body soap with natural antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial soap ingredients. Defense Soap is the best cleansing body soap for men and women athletes who are involved in contact sports such as MMA, wrestling, grappling, jiu-jitsu, and judo, to help their antifungal, anti-ringworm, anti-jock itch strategy. Check out their web site, at http://defensesoap.com.

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, November 24, 2013

No Holds Barred: Mike Van Arsdale on Training, Fighting, and Wrestling 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with trainer and former MMA fighter and wrestler Mike Van Arsdale.

Mike Van Arsdale had a distinguished career in wrestling, winning an NCAA Div. I national championship at 167 pounds in 1988 for Iowa State, and winning a gold medal at 97 kg in freestyle wrestling at the 1997 World Cup. In 1998 he began fighting in MMA, competing in Brazil, Mexico, and the U.S. until 2006.

Now 48 years old and retired as an active MMA fighter and wrestler, he is training fighters in strength and conditioning, wrestling, and wrestling for MMA. He is widely known as one of the most respected and sharpest coaches and trainers.

We spoke with him Friday while he was in New York cornering a fighter at the Glory 12 kickboxing event.

A lot of what he teaches is influenced by the old school training methods. Many trainers today, he said, just "make things up," which is not the best approach.

"What they're making up does not replace the real lifts, like the dead lift, or the pullup, or the dip," he said. "Going back to the old days and looking at their systems, some of them are good. Some of them are better than some of the stuff they have out right now."

Along with his business partner, the world-renowned strength and conditioning coach Tim McClellan, he uses what he calls "a prime system".

This is based on "what really worked the best. We looked at everything, and we use what works the best, and it's just a matter of putting the sequence together in the proper order."

We also discussed some of the many problems associated with training, including overtraining, as well as the growing concern in all contact and combat sports with head trauma, brain injuries, concussions, and CTE, and how that is affecting the future of these sports.

In addition, we discussed the recent revival of real professional wrestling in the U.S. He noted that in order for this to be successful, a tournament format is needed, along with new and better leadership in wrestling to organize these events. And we discussed why so many wrestlers have turned to MMA, how his view of wrestling compares to that of the many other combat sports, 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:

LenneHardt.com, the web site of the world's greatest ring announcer, Lenne Hardt. Need a unique and cool combat sports-related gift? At LenneHardt.com, you can order personalized messages, wedding calls, ringtones, phone answering messages, and more, all recorded by Lenne herself, in the style of your choice. For more information, go to LenneHardt.com.

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.

GrappleGnostic, sponsored by Defense Soap. Where the will to win meets the power of knowledge. Features, interviews, analysis, health tips, and information on wrestling, grappling, jiu-jitsu, and all the grappling arts, written by some of the best writers and experts in the world. Check out their web site, a http://defensesoap.com/grapplegnostic.

Defense Soap, an effective, deep penetrating body soap with natural antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial soap ingredients. Defense Soap is the best cleansing body soap for men and women athletes who are involved in contact sports such as MMA, wrestling, grappling, jiu-jitsu, and judo, to help their antifungal, anti-ringworm, anti-jock itch strategy. Check out their web site, at http://defensesoap.com.

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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