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, April 30, 2009

No Holds Barred: MMA Comes to China, with Konrad Pi, Co-founder of Art of War Fighting Championship 

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  • On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with Konrad Pi, the co-founder of the Art of War Fighting Championship and president of the Adoria Entertainment Group in Beijing, China.

    The next show for the Art of War Fighting Championship, scheduled for May 23 at the National Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium in Beijing, will feature a full card of mixed martial arts fights, headlined by a main event with rising Chinese star Wu Hao Tian facing the up-and-coming Japanese fighter, Yutaka Kobayashi. Also fighting on this card will be Rolles Gracie Jr. of Brazil, as well as Malik Mawlayi of Sweden taking on Fransino Tirta of Indonesia, and many other fighters from Asia and around the world.

    This event will also be an international "coming out party for the Art of War Fighting Championship," said Mr. Pi in our lengthy interview. According to the Art of War, this show is being held "under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates." There is expected to be in attendance "a delegation of over 300 students, athletes, press representatives and martial arts fans from the United Arab Emirates."

    In addition, there will be a reunion of the first family of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the Gracies, who are also of course mixed martial arts pioneers. So far listed as confirmed to attend are Rickson Gracie, Royce Gracie, Renzo Gracie, and Royler Gracie. Other notables scheduled to attend this event are Demian Maia, Fabricio Werdum, Ricardo Liborio, Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiro, Bas Rutten, Josh Barnett, Renato "Babalu" Sobral, Tim Sylvia, Jeremy Horn, referees Yuji Shimada and Big John McCarthy, Stephen Quadros, Michael Buffer, Todd Hester, Luca Atalla, and yours truly, Eddie Goldman.

    The organizers of the Art of War Fighting Championship hope to use this event to begin to establish their promotion as not only the leading mixed martial arts company in China, the most populous country in the world, but also as one of the top world-class mixed martial arts events in the world. Accomplishing that, they are well aware, will take time, but this event is a major early step along that path.

    In a lengthy interview with Konrad Pi, we discussed this May 23 event, the overall plans for the Art of War Fighting Championship, the top fighters on this card, and the rules of this event, which are similar to the old Pride rules. We also discussed the role of martial arts in Chinese history and culture, the importance of both grappling and striking to the Art of War Fighting Championship, the growth of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in China, cultural differences and perceptions between many people in China and the West which cause them to look at many aspects of the combat sports in differing ways, the relationship of the Art of War Fighting Championship organization to the government of the People's Republic of China, prefight medical testing required by the Art of War Fighting Championship, and more.

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