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 26, 2011

No Holds Barred: Steve Nelson on USWF, UWFi, and Catch Wrestling 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with Steve Nelson, the founder and owner of the USWF (Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation).
In the 1990s, the USWF ran a series of successful events, mainly in Amarillo, Texas, using shoot wrestling rules which allowed open-handed strikes, submissions, kicks, and knees. In essence, it was a real style of pro wrestling, having been derived from the worked style seen in Japan in companies like the UWFi. Steve Nelson, who had wrestled at Oklahoma State, won two world silver medals in sambo, had a judo background, came from a family of pro wrestlers, and fought in MMA, had also participated in UWFi and trained in real catch wrestling prior to founding the USWF. Steve is also the longtime head wrestling coach for both the boy's and girls' wrestling teams at Palo Duro High School in Amarillo.
We spoke with Steve by phone Monday afternoon about the history of the USWF and the lessons from it which we can utilize today. He explained how he positioned the USWF to be a real sport which promoted the athletes as role models and not trash-talkers. We discussed with Steve why the USWF produced such exciting events, including his historic rematch with Ralph Gracie at USWF 11 on August, 22, 1998, a great fight which earned Fight of the Year honors.
We also discussed the potential for a revival of real catch wrestling, what it must do to become popular once again, who would be its initial base of fans and participants, and more.
The videos from the USWF shows are also available on DVD on the USWF web site.
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