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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 22, 2015

No Holds Barred: Kevin Jackson on Iowa State Wrestling 2015-16, Mental Toughness, and Character 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with Kevin Jackson, the Olympic gold medalist and two-time world champion freestyle wrestler, who is starting his seventh season as head wrestling coach for the legendary Iowa State Cyclones.

The 2015-16 college wrestling season is about to start, with Iowa State having their first dual meet by hitting the road to face Virginia Tech Saturday, November 7, at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Virginia.

We spoke with Coach Jackson by phone Tuesday.

While 2015 NCAA champion Kyven Gadson has graduated, this season's Cyclone wrestling team has a number of holdovers. But there will be some changes, as redshirt senior Tanner Weatherman, a two-time Big 12 runner-up, will be moving down to 165 pounds, and redshirt junior Lelund Weatherspoon, a 2014 Big 12 champion, will be moving down to 174 pounds. Senior Earl Hall at 133 pounds, a 2014 All-American, is another wrestler expected to have an outstanding season.

"I would have to say it's not a rebuilding year anymore," Coach Jackson said. "We're past the rebuilding stage. I think we have everything in place to take the necessary steps to do what we're capable of doing," he said. "I think we have a lot of the pieces in place to really make some noise."

We also discussed the likely starting lineup at each weight, including those weights where the starter remains to be determined by wrestle-offs.

Wrestling is a unique sport, and in this highly quotable interview, Coach Jackson shared some of his observations on it.

"People think that wrestling builds character. I think that's been said several times. But really, wrestling reveals character. A wrestling match, especially a collegiate match, will tell who you really are, what you've really been doing every single day in your day-to-day life," he said.

"It is a direct reflection of life. That's the beauty of our sport, how it carries over to life."

A large part of wrestling involves mental toughness. We discussed that at length, with Coach Jackson explaining that skillsets can easily be taught, but that some of mental toughness is "ingrained" in people. The mind can control the rest of the body, he said, with success both on and off the mat being "based on the decisions you make in life."

We also discussed what lies in the future for Kyven Gadson as he trains to make the 2016 Olympic team, the expansion of the Big 12 Conference for wrestling, the proper equipment needed for new wrestlers, 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.

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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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

No Holds Barred: Wallid Ismail on Rizin and Jungle Fight 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu legend Wallid Ismail, who is the founder of the Brazilian MMA promotion Jungle Fight Championship.

Jungle Fight 82 takes place Saturday, October 24, 2015, in Clube Sírio in São Paulo, Brazil. The main event is Ciro "Bad Boy" Rodrigues vs. Eric "Parrudo" Barbosa. Jungle Fight shows are televised on the Band broadcast network in Brazil and ESPN Deportes in the U.S.

Beyond Brazil, Jungle Fight is gaining more international recognition. Wallid has just returned from Japan, where he was part of the inaugural press conference held October 8 introducing the newest Japanese MMA promotion, the Rizin Fighting Federation.

This new organization was founded by former executives of the Pride Fighting Championships, which from the late 1990s to the mid-2000s had been the largest and most important MMA promotion in the world. Unlike other organizations, Rizin will work with many other companies around the world, without requiring fighters to sign exclusive contracts with them and leave their promotions. Jungle Fight is one of those companies.

We spoke with Wallid Ismail by Skype this past Tuesday.

Speaking of Rizin and its head, Nobuyuki Sakakibara, he said, "I think it's going to be great for the sport. It's going to be great for Japan, because no matter what, to doing good in Japan needed to be a Japanese. Because he understands the market, he understands everything about the TV deals, the sponsorship deals in Japan, is very different [from] the United States."

Unlike many others, however, he does not see Rizin as competing with UFC.

"UFC do a great job all over the world. And I think Rizin's coming to help the sport," he said. Rizin is "going to be another organization can help the sport, especially in Asia and Japan." He thus described UFC as sort of a "World Cup" of MMA, while Rizin will be a "World Cup of Clubs." And he said he and Jungle Fight plan to continue working with UFC as well as now also working with Rizin.

Much of the fight card for Rizin's debut show, the Rizin Fighting World Grand-Prix 2015, a three-day extravaganza scheduled for the week of New Year's Eve from December 29 to December 31, remains to be finalized. But he plans to have fighting on that show the Jungle Fight bantamweight champion, Maike Linhares, as well as also possibly a heavyweight.

We also discussed how Jungle Fight's ratings dramatically increased when its shows moved to broadcast TV on the Band network in Brazil from cable, plans for an English-language telecast aimed at the U.S., how many fights on Jungle Fight's cards end in knockouts or submissions and have lots of action, 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.

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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Sunday, October 18, 2015

No Holds Barred: Steve Mocco on 'Beast' 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with Olympic wrestler and American Top Team MMA fighter Steve Mocco.

He is one of the fighters extensively profiled in Doug Merlino's new highly-acclaimed book, 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 Steve Mocco at a book launch party Monday in New York.

"I think Doug did a very good job capturing the highs -- and the lows," he said. "Some of the stuff in the book, it was hard to read, but it was hard to live, too. I think he did a very good job capturing the energy, and the highs and the lows of not only me, all the guys in the book, that we all went through."

He added, "And it's kind of neat to see now to have that in front of us and see that part of our lives in a book form. You don't usually see that too often. For me I thought it was kind of cool. I really enjoyed it."

The book chronicles his first five MMA fights, in which he won the first four but dropped a decision in his fifth fight. He has since returned to action, picking up another win in April 2015. We discussed his decision loss in his February 2014 fight with Smealinho Rama, and what he learned from that fight.

A two-time NCAA Div. I national college wrestling champion and a 2008 U.S. Olympian in freestyle wrestling, he discussed his transition from wrestling to MMA when his wrestling career was over.

"I'm definitely a wrestler that's in MMA," he said. His style of fighting is based on grappling and wrestling, while he is evolving as a fighter and even scored a ground-and-pound TKO win in his last fight.

We also discussed how MMA has been "great" for former wrestlers, how his judo background has helped in both wrestling and MMA, how he still is more comfortable on the ground than in standup fighting, his current recovery from injuries, how he will return at some unspecified time to fight again for the World Series of Fighting, his training at American Top Team and with Ricardo Liborio, and 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.

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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