Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast and the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog.

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Monday, March 11, 2013

No Holds Barred: Devonric Johnson of Robot Combat League 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with robo-jockey Devonric Johnson.

The second show of the Robot Combat League, shown in the U.S. on Syfy and in Canada on Space on March 5, saw his robot, Brimstone, which he controls with robo-tech Russell Tait, defeat Thunder Skull by second-round disqualification. This win, in their first fight, means that they now move on to the second round of competition on this show, whose nine episodes have already been filmed.

In a sense, Devonric Johnson's background is similar to that of other athletes from the combat and contact sports. Growing up dirt poor and living in a shack in Terrell, Texas, he was adopted at the age of 13, became a model student, found success in the sport of football, and then was a star linebacker at Southern Methodist University.

But in another sense, his athletic career took another turn which is also becoming more well-known in these sports. He suffered a concussion in one of those college football games, ended up with post-concussion syndrome, and suddenly, while still in college, his football career was over.

Later on he moved to Los Angeles to pursue careers in acting and modeling. It was there that he had another opportunity to participate in a new type of combat sport, which would not injure him, and on a new TV show: robot fighting on the Robot Combat League. And he is loving it.

"I personally think that there's going to be a future of it because there's nothing of its kind," he said in this interview, which was recorded by phone Saturday. "It's really cool to see these magnificent machines in action. If you were actually at the arena you would be like, 'Wow! This is crazy!' Because, imagine a thousand-pound pressure coming from a machine on each single punch, and watching these machines being maneuvered by people on these platforms. It's amazing. The technology is amazing. It's way ahead of its time and it's just going to get better."

We also discussed more about the future of robot fighting and its relation to human combat sports, what happened in Brimstone's fight that led to a controversial disqualification of Thunder Skull, and the issue of head trauma and concussions.

In addition, Devonric also is the founder of the non-profit organization Brothers By Choice, which assists at-risk youths. We discussed that important work, and much more.

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