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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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    Monday, September 22, 2014

    No Holds Barred: Ben Askren on Youth Wrestling, UFC, and ONE FC 

    On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with the new ONE FC welterweight champion, Ben Askren.

    He won that title by defeating Nobutatsu Suzuki with a ground-and-pound TKO victory at just 1:24 of the first round at the ONE FC show in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, August 29.

    We spoke with Ben Askren by phone Sunday night. He was in California, helping run a youth wrestling camp.

    "Youth wrestling is growing all over America," he said. In recent years, he noted, there have been "a lot of high-level coaches going back to the youth level," including himself and his brother Max Askren, also a former NCAA Div. I champion. Both Ben and Max Askren are co-founders of the Wisconsin-based Askren Wrestling Academy.

    As for the use of wrestling in sports like MMA, he said, "Wrestling is a sport that, now we've seen at the highest level, works, works in real hand-to-hand combat. It's the most effective martial art."

    But Ben Askren has also been a center of controversy in MMA, most recently when he was abruptly cut off during an interview on the "Inside MMA" TV show just when he was getting to an explanation of his criticisms of UFC. As of now, no plans for them to have a follow-up interview have been announced.

    He is far from alone in voicing criticisms of how UFC treats fighters. Recently MMA legend Wanderlei Silva released a video both announcing his retirement from MMA and slamming the UFC owners and management.

    He has seen that video, and commented, "I think that anyone who really follows the sport closely, all the things that Wanderlei Silva was saying, they're not really a shock to anybody." He added that the way UFC treats fighters, "at most times they don't have the fighters' best interests in mind."

    Needless to say, Ben Askren was not cut off in his comments on No Holds Barred, and we discussed more on this issue, why he considers UFC to be a monopoly, and how the "media" have been covering such issues.

    While he continued his criticisms of UFC, he said he was quite happy fighting for ONE FC in Asia. We discussed his views on that, when he might fight next, his future plans in wrestling, and much more.

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