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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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    Tuesday, October 06, 2015

    No Holds Barred: John Perretti on A Life Of Concussions 

    (Photo of Adrien Broner and Khabib Allakhverdiev by Stephanie Trapp/Showtime. Photo of Lucas Matthysse and Viktor Postol by Tom Hogan/Golden Boy Promotions.)

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

    We spoke with him by Skype Tuesday Japan time (Monday New York time).

    John Perretti's fighting career mainly focused on kickboxing, where he took "a lot of damage," and also included competition in karate and taekwondo, as well as rigorous training in grappling, judo, and wrestling, he said. This resulted in "16 verifiable concussions" and a few more "accidental" ones along the way.

    After he had retired as an active fighter but still was training and coaching, at about the age of 40 he started having cognitive problems.

    He illustrated what this meant for him: "For myself, that was the real beginning of not knowing where I was, even though I was probably 50-60 feet down a driveway in the Hampton Bays, and getting lost, I mean physically lost, and having to pull the car over and not know where I was for an hour or two."

    As time went on, he said, having scar tissue on the brain and other brain injuries made him susceptible to other diseases. And he knows many fighters and ex-fighters with similar problems.

    What upsets him to no end today is seeing parents encourage and even steer their children into training and competing in sports where inflicting head trauma resulting in brain injuries is common and often legal within the sport's rules.

    "Parents have to take responsibility," he argued, when it comes to having their children participate in sports like rugby, American football, boxing, and MMA.

    We discussed how many parents are attached to a "macho" culture which ignores health and safety, why he recommends only sports which are "low impact" and have a relatively low chance of head trauma, how even non-contact sports today are becoming "really physical," and much, much more.

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