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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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

No Holds Barred: Larry Hazzard on the Continuing Evolution of MMA and Boxing 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with Larry Hazzard Sr. about the development of the combat sports of mixed martial arts and boxing.

Serving for over two decades as commissioner of the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board, Larry Hazzard played a key role in the establishment of unified rules for both boxing and mixed martial arts. He is now a senior official at the IBF (International Boxing Federation), with the title Personal Assistant to the President and Chairman of Officials Education, Development and Supervision. He also is the founder of C.O.M.B.A.T.T. - Community Organization Making Boxing Alternatives Today for Tomorrow, in Newark, New Jersey, which provides both boxing and fitness training along with educational and recreational activities for at-risk and inner-city youths.

With such a long history of accomplishments and being a pioneer in so many aspects of the combat sports, our discussion blended history with current analysis about boxing and mixed martial arts together.

Among the many topics in this lengthy discussion, we spoke about the key role he played in developing the unified rules for mixed martial arts in 2000 and 2001, and convincing the Nevada commission to sanction the sport in 2001. We discussed his role at C.O.M.B.A.T.T. and the importance of training in the combat sports for youth. We analyzed many of the problems in boxing which have led to its diminution into a niche sport. We talked about the issue of fighter safety in both sports, as well as his innovation in bringing instant replay to the combat sports.

After numerous other topics, our discussion ended with a breaking news story. The major boxing sanctioning organizations are seriously preparing for a summit to address jointly the problems in boxing and see if they can finally work together to start to solve them. The plan is now for this summit to be held in January 2010, and probably in Mexico, where the WBC is headquartered. As a top official in the IBF, Larry Hazzard stated that the IBF gives their full support to this effort, and that boxing "has to be fixed by us." We will definitely closely follow these important developments.

This is the kind of discussion which any real aficionado of the combat sports will really love, where we approach the issues in the combat sports of boxing and mixed martial arts together. They are much more interrelated than many people realize, and the contributions of Larry Hazzard to both sports are but one more example of that. It thus was one of the most enlightening discussions ever on No Holds Barred.

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