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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, December 08, 2014

    No Holds Barred: Dr. Margaret Goodman On Her Novel 'Death In Vegas' 

    On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with the 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, Dr. Margaret Goodman.

    Stepping into yet another role, she is the author of the new novel, "Death in Vegas". This fictional story combines drama, romance, and intrigue in an expose of the many real behind-the-scenes facets of corruption in boxing. Written to appeal to both men and women, it is a page-turner with twists and turns, but a message to tell as well. It is an entertaining and worthwhile read for anyone interested in the many issues facing boxing and the combat sports as a whole.

    We spoke with Dr. Margaret Goodman by phone Sunday.

    "I love the sport of boxing, as I think you can figure that out from this book," she said. "I do love the fighters. I hate the corruption that goes on in the sport. I hate the fact that not enough is not being done. You yourself are an advocate for combat sports, and so that's what I try to be at all times in my career in boxing and MMA."

    Stating that it would be "impossible" for various reasons for her to write a successful non-fiction book, she said, "I wanted to use this opportunity to talk about all of the inadequacies in the sport, how the sport could be made so much better for the fighters, and I wanted to bring a new audience."

    We discussed more about the particulars of this story, and how its aim is to "give respect to all the fighters out there."

    But we also delved into many of the real issues raised in the book, including the need for some type of national commission to regulate combat sports like boxing and MMA, as well as the need for fighters to have their own union.

    Her former role as a ringside physician and present role in VADA have made her particularly aware that, even today, performance-enhancing drugs are, she said, "rampant" in the combat sports. The issues of head trauma, concussions and sub-concussive trauma, brain damage, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy as well as what age youth should start participating in these sports, including tackle football, were also discussed.

    One area that requires new attention is the level of damage caused by chokes in sports like MMA, jiu-jitsu, and various styles of grappling and wrestling. Dr. Goodman said much more study is needed, but suggested that just like medical suspensions are handed out for getting knocked out, perhaps it is time to start considering issuing medical suspensions for getting choked out. While short-term damage from chokes appears anecdotally to be relatively minor, asked whether it is scientifically known if there is long-term damage from repeatedly being choked out, she replied, we "don't have the answer yet.... We don't know."

    We also discussed more on the characters in the book, how she would like to write a novel in a similar vein on MMA, and much, much more.

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