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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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    Thursday, October 15, 2015

    No Holds Barred: Doug Merlino on "Beast: Blood, Struggle, and Dreams at the Heart of Mixed Martial Arts" 

    On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with author Doug Merlino.

    His highly-acclaimed new book was released this week, called Beast: Blood, Struggle, and Dreams at the Heart of Mixed Martial Arts.

    This book chronicles the recent events in the lives of four American Top Team MMA fighters: Jeff Monson, Steve Mocco, Daniel Straus, and Mirsad Bektic. From 2012 to 2014, Doug Merlino followed them from fight to fight, training camp to training camp, and country to country, and ably and candidly recorded what happened in this book.

    We spoke with him at a book launch party Monday in New York.

    Breaking down many myths about MMA fighters, he said, "A lot of these guys don't make much money." While "Tito Ortiz is making money," he noted "but the Pat Currans and Daniel Strauses don't get paid a lot, especially for the amount of risk and dedication it takes."

    For Daniel Straus, "I know it's a frustration because he comes from a humble background, and people who he grew up with see him on TV and assume that he's rich. And they want some money from him or whatnot, and he doesn't have it."

    And he said, "That's kind of what part of what the book is about, is, this is the way the guys actually live, not what you're seeing on TV."

    We discussed Daniel Straus's struggles with money, how Jeff Monson has become a big star in Russia, why Monson has been fighting too long, Steve Mocco's relatively late transition from wrestling to fighting, why despite the numerous problems in MMA the fighters are the ones who deserve great respect, and much, much more.

    My recommendation: This book is a must-read for anyone interested in MMA, combat sports, and the lives and struggles of athletes in general. While discussion of the early history of MMA could be better done, the book succeeds in starkly recreating with words and a few photos the actual day-to-day lives of these fighters. It is easily the best book on MMA that I have ever read.

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    No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

    MMA World Expo. The mixed martial arts community comes to New York City December 12 and 13, 2015, for the sixth annual MMA World Expo, featuring two days of the Renzo Gracie Open 2015 no-gi and gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournaments, MMA fighters, seminars with world-class trainers, vendors, panel discussions, catch wrestling competition, and much more. The MMA World Expo takes place Saturday, December 12, and Sunday, December 13, 2015, at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.

    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 AmericanTopTeam.com.

    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 DefenseSoap.com.

    Gracie Tournaments, featuring regional, national, and world competitions in submission-only Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. For more information, go to GracieWorlds.com.

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