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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Monday, December 20, 2010

No Holds Barred: Mike Thomas, Mixed Martial Arts Pioneer 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with Mike Thomas, the founder of First Nations Tae Kwon Do Mixed Martial Arts in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake, Quebec, Canada, and the former president of the International Fighting Championships (IFC).

Mike Thomas is a pioneer in mixed martial arts. He played the lead role in getting the province of Quebec to sanction the sport and adopt a set of rules to govern it in 1998. The Quebec rules were later basically adopted by California and New Jersey in 2000, which opened the door for the adoption of the unified rules of mixed martial arts in 2001, which were also based on all those rules.

Mike Thomas was also the on-site promoter for Battlecade Extreme Fighting 2, held April 26, 1996, in Kahnawake. The day after that event, eight participants were arrested in Montreal for supposedly participating in an "illegal prizefight," charges which were later thrown out.

It was our privilege and pleasure to speak by phone with Mike Thomas on Monday afternoon. We reviewed his own path which led him to the world of martial arts, which included some detours, and how martial arts allowed him to overcome many problems in life. We discussed at length the events leading up to the Battlecade Extreme Fighting 2 event, the relations between the Mohawk community and the governments of Quebec and Canada, the arrests after Battlecade Extreme Fighting 2, the vindication of those charged, and the eventual agreements which led to the adoption of the Quebec rules and the legalization and sanctioning of the sport in Quebec.

We discussed the importance of the combat sports to the culture and spirit of the people in Kahnawake, and why these sports remain so important today. We explained the pioneering role in mixed martial arts played by organizations including IFC and Extreme Fighting, and key individuals including John Perretti, Larry Hazzard, Paul Smith, and others. We thus clarified much of the early history and nature of mixed martial arts, about which so much misinformation and confusion has been spread.

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