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, June 11, 2009

No Holds Barred: Igor Gracie, Melvina Lathan 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman focuses on several issues involving the battle for mixed martial arts to become organized like a true sport.

After over a decade of opposing the sport, the New York State Legislature is now in the process of considering legislation to legalize mixed martial arts and place it under the regulation of the New York State Athletic Commission. While a bill to that effect was recently passed in a key Assembly committee, the exploding political crisis in the New York State Senate, which was actually closed down this week due to spiraling in-fighting among the politicians, has jeopardized the passage and enactment of that, and all, legislation.

To get some perspective on what would be required by the New York State Athletic Commission to regulate mixed martial arts, we spoke with its chairperson, Melvina Lathan.

We also outline some of the key ups and down in the checkered history of this commission, as well as explain why the failure of combat sports promoters, then and now, to work together to self-regulate their own events made intervention by the politicians inevitable.

This Friday night, June 12, the Bellator Fighting Championships has its eleventh show in its 12-week series, with this one being held at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. It will be televised in the U.S. the following night, June 13, on the Spanish-language ESPN Deportes network.

The main event features the two finalists in the Bellator eight-man welterweight tournament, Lyman Good and Omar De La Cruz, fighting for the Bellator welterweight title. On the undercard, another member of the legendary Gracie family, Igor Gracie, takes on a fellow Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, Vagner Rocha.

We had a chance to speak with Igor Gracie Wednesday afternoon at the Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in New York, where he is a lead instructor and also trains. We spoke about this upcoming fight as well as his plans to compete regularly in mixed martial arts.

In addition, we offer commentary on some of the positive and negative lessons of the first season of the Bellator Fighting Championships, as well as criticize those in the so-called mixed martial arts "media" who have either downplayed or plain ignored this important organization.

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