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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, June 05, 2015

No Holds Barred: Declan Hill on the FIFA Scandal and the Need for a World Anti-Corruption Agency for Sport 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with investigative journalist, academic, and expert on match-fixing in international football, Declan Hill.

We have just seen the arrests on corruption charges of numerous top officials of FIFA, the international governing of football, the world's most popular sport, which is known as soccer in North America and elsewhere. More arrests and indictments are expected, all of which has led to the resignation of FIFA president Sepp Blatter, just four days after having been re-elected for a fifth term.

The ongoing public exposures of FIFA's wrongdoing and the subsequent arrests have raised the questions of where else in sport is corruption so rampant, and what needs to be done to fight it.

To discuss all this, we spoke with Declan Hill by phone Thursday.

"We definitely need an international anti-corruption agency for sport," he stated.

A number of combat sports athletes in recent years have said they have been approached to fix fights and matches "for large sums of money" but have turned these attempted bribes down, he said.

"But they've almost inevitably never gone forward, because they don't trust the authorities in their own sport, not to either be behind it, or who would in some ways try to punish them for blowing the whistle," he noted.

"We need an agency where good, honest fighters can go and report what's happened, where an honest administrator working for a sports organization can go and blow the whistle on something. And also an agency that can set the standard, set the standards of transparency, say, 'This is what a good sports organization should do. Here are the basic protocols, just the basic business practices, here's the basic guidelines of what a true sporting organization should do.'

"It's not all that difficult. There have been a lot of studies on it. There have been a lot of reports and a lot of stuff. But this is what needs to happen."

We discussed more on the "surreal" story of FIFA's widespread corruption scandal and the arrests last week; the crucial role of freelance and independent journalists like Andrew Jennings and Jens Weinreich in relentlessly exposing FIFA's corruption, and the failure of the mainstream media in this regard; the "desperate" need for an international anti-corruption agency for sport; the crisis in SportAccord and the pressure from the IOC which led to the resignation of SportAccord president Marius Vizer, also shortly after being unanimously re-elected; the crisis in world sport, which is reaching a boiling point where open rebellions are taking place against sporting institutions which were once viewed as untouchable and revered; and much, much more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link doesn't work, please try another.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

You can also listen to No Holds Barred via Stitcher through iOS or Android devices or on the web, at http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/no-holds-barred-with-eddie-goldman.

The PodOmatic Podcast Player for iOS is available for free on the App Store.

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:

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.

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Wednesday, June 03, 2015

No Holds Barred: Robert Guerrero, Aron Martinez, Dominic Breazeale, Yasmany Consuegra, PBC on NBC 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with boxers Robert Guerrero, Aron Martinez, Dominic Breazeale, and Yasmany Consuegra, who will be featured on the PBC on NBC broadcast this Saturday, June 6.

In the main event, the veteran Guerrero (32-3-1, 18 KOs) takes on the underdog Martinez (19-3-1, 4 KOs) in a welterweight bout scheduled for ten rounds. In the co-feature, two unbeaten heavyweight prospects, U.S. Olympian Breazeale (14-0, 13 KOs) and Cuban native Consuegra (17-0, 14 KOs) face off, also in a bout scheduled for ten rounds.

This card takes place Saturday, June 6, at the StubHub Center In Carson, California. It will be televised live and for free in the U.S. on NBC, starting at 3 PM EDT/noon PDT. This is the latest card in the Premier Boxing Champions series, which airs on several TV networks.

We spoke with Robert Guerrero, Aron Martinez, Dominic Breazeale, and Yasmany Consuegra on a media conference call Tuesday.

We also comment on how the PBC series, with some exceptions, has been putting on many competitive match-ups, how they have featured several high-profile upsets and fights which have developed in unexpected ways, how their plan is to build the stars of the future through exposure on free TV rather than through the much smaller audiences watching premium cable networks, and why the PBC cards overall have become must-see television.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link doesn't work, please try another.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

You can also listen to No Holds Barred via Stitcher through iOS or Android devices or on the web, at http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/no-holds-barred-with-eddie-goldman.

The PodOmatic Podcast Player for iOS is available for free on the App Store.

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:

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.

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Sunday, May 31, 2015

No Holds Barred: Ernesto Aguilar on MMA, Labor, Inequity, and the Reebok Ripoff 



On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Ernesto Aguilar.

He is a writer and the program director of Pacifica radio station KPFT in Houston, Texas, and serves on the board of directors of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, the oldest community radio network in the United States.

This past week, an article he wrote for the Guardian of the U.K. was published, called "Ronda Rousey makes $3m a year but most UFC fighters don't get what they deserve".

We spoke with Ernesto Aguilar by phone Friday.

"I've been a follower of mixed martial arts for a long time, and I think from the time I started to watch, I began to have some questions about it," he said.

"I grew up as a boxing fan here in Texas. Houston has been a big fight town for many, many years. George Foreman is of course from here, and so I've always been a fan of combat sports. And when I got into MMA, I was curious about what the outcomes and the futures for fighters were. It was something that's always been in the back of my mind. And thinking about the sponsorship deal and just some of the fallout of that, seeing the issues that so many mixed martial arts fighters are facing, not just post-career, but during their careers and having to figure out ways to make ends meet, and also just realizing frankly that when these deals end up happening, as we saw with the Eddie Alvarez contract a few years back, and that was a pretty lucrative contract, these contracts seem to tend to favor the promoters."

All these types of conditions have led to a brewing MMA fighter rebellion. This is seen in many ways, including numerous fighters filing class-action lawsuits against Zuffa's anti-competitive practices, and a torrent of public statements and interviews by fighters condemning UFC's new multimillion dollar sponsorship deal with Reebok as robbing the fighters of thousands and thousands of dollars of sponsorship money which up until now they have relied upon to a great degree as income, especially with the small percentage of overall revenue going to the fighters, a percentage which is far less than in other comparable sports, and even less than the historically corrupt sport of professional boxing. This Reebok ripoff has been a turning point in this incipient fighter rebellion, and there is now open talk of fighters banding together to form some type of union or association.

"You brought up this thing about class struggle, and about fighters getting organized," Ernesto Aguilar said. "This also is going to require, I guess in my opinion, that fans more actively push promoters to see the benefits of fighters being organized as well."

While fighters may rightly have a fear of retaliation from the promoters for trying to protect their long-term interests and organizing, fans do not.

"We as fans need to be pushing that envelope, pushing promoters to more actively step up and provide the labor protections that they should. And if they're not willing to, we need to ask representatives and politicians to get involved," he said.

We discussed the legal fiction that these MMA fighters under exclusive contracts are individual contractors; how there are comparisons between this fighter rebellion and the grape boycott and strike activities of farm workers organized by Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers union; why the UFC-Reebok deal is "a very bad deal for fighters"; the issue of traumatic brain injury in combat sports and how a relatively more dangerous style of fighting has been emphasized by MMA promoters than in the past; the role of many members of the media as shills for promoters; and much, much more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link doesn't work, please try another.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

You can also listen to No Holds Barred via Stitcher through iOS or Android devices or on the web, at http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/no-holds-barred-with-eddie-goldman.

The PodOmatic Podcast Player for iOS is available for free on the App Store.

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:

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.

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