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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Sunday, March 31, 2013

No Holds Barred: Mark Setrakian on Robot Combat League 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with robotics expert Mark Setrakian, who designed and created the robots on the Robot Combat League.

Five of the nine episodes of the Robot Combat League have already aired on Syfy in the U.S. and on Space in Canada. The shows are now featuring the quarterfinal round of the 12-robot tournament.

On the fifth episode, Team Scorpio, with Diana Yang and Chris Hardouin at the controls, sliced in half yet another robot to gain a knockout victory over Team A.X.E., with MMA fighter Andrew Montanez and Ross Mead at the helm.

We spoke by phone Friday with Mark Setrakian about the past, present, and future of robot fighting.

"This show, this season, is my attempt to kick off a whole new genre of fighting: motorized fighting," he said in this interview. Unlike other combat sports, this is "a motor sport of fighting," he said, with "weapons that you cannot use in human fighting."

He stressed, "What we're entering into is a level of combat that you cannot do with human beings but you can do it with robots, because at the end of the day, nobody's hurt. The robots are wrecked, but the human fighters, apart from their egos, are fine."

We discussed what happened on episode five with Scorpio's victory, why he "wouldn't change a thing" about how the robots were designed, the future of Robot Combat League, why robot fighting is the future of combat sports, why he believes that there will be more seasons of this show, the need to keep human athletes controlling the robots, the buildup to the semifinals and finals of this tournament, and much more.

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