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Sunday, February 10, 2013

No Holds Barred: Andrew Montanez of Robot Combat League and MMA Surge 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with Andrew Montanez, the host of the online video show MMA Surge.

Andrew Montanez has a strong background in the combat sports. He wrestled at Mineola High School in Long Island, New York, and then at Nassau Community College, as well as wrestling freestyle at the Empire State Games. He is currently a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Although he is not currently an active fighter, he has fought numerous times in professional MMA, including Strikeforce where he was 1-1.

His latest foray into combat sports, however, was something quite different: Andrew served as a robo-jockey for an eight-foot tall robot named A.X.E. in the first season of the new Syfy network TV series called Robot Combat League.

The Robot Combat League features 12 state-of-the-art robots engaged in a tournament where they fight each other. The robots are controlled by a human fighter known as a robo-jockey and an engineer known as a robo-tech. The first season of the Robot Combat League, which premieres Tuesday, February 26, on Syfy in the U.S., has already been filmed.

We spoke with Andrew Montanez about the Robot Combat League and its relation to combat sports by phone Saturday.

"That's the main reason why I did the show. I saw the same vision. The sport's getting violent. We kind of need something else," he said in this interview. "I know a lot of girls that can't watch MMA because they can't watch people getting hit. But I brought a couple of them to the robot fights and they were like, 'This is awesome.' Because no one's actually getting hurt."

He continued, "The main reason I did this show was because I saw the potential and I wanted to be part of it," and to "try to see if we could start a new combat sport."

He did caution that there will be many factors determining the success or failure of the Robot Combat League, including the editing of the show, how the audience reacts to it, and how the fights actually look on television. "It's going to be a little bit of a process."

Still, he, along with many other people, are optimistic that the Robot Combat League can establish itself as a successful venture, be it as a replacement for combat sports involving humans or as a show existing alongside them.

We discussed what his tasks were as a robo-jockey, how he had an advantage over other robo-jockeys because he could utilize his combat sports skills to control his robot, why he believes that many fans of combat sports will enjoy the Robot Combat League, and more.

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