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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

No Holds Barred: Jeff Monson on MMA and May Day 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again speaks with American Top Team MMA fighter and two-time ADCC champion Jeff Monson.

Jeff was originally scheduled to face Magomed Malikov on April 9 in the M-1 Heavyweight Grand Prix quarterfinals, but a pectoral muscle tear forced Jeff to undergo surgery and postpone that fight. He is recovering from this injury, and this fight is now scheduled to take place June 7 on the M-1 card in the Republic of Ingushetia, Russia.

We spoke with Jeff by phone Monday night about this fight, his career, why he is a self-described anarchist, and how he views the sport and business of MMA.

Our discussion took place right before May 1, or May Day, also marked around the world as International Workers' Day.

Asked what his May Day message would be to MMA fighters, Jeff replied, "My message would be solidarity. My message is, 'Be together.' We're all in this whether, like I said, whether you're trying to be a professional fighter or whether you're well-established or at the top of your game. It's the same sport. We're all in it together."

He also quoted the old saying associated with the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World), "'An injury to one is an injury to all.' And it really is."

We discussed numerous topics, including how this fight with Malikov may be "a classic grappler vs. striker match," why he likes M-1's new six-sided ring, how he has become a celebrity in Russia, his fascination with the country and people of Russia, the reaction to his politics, and the need for a fighters' union.

He also pointed out the "shameful" conditions facing MMA fighters, including no such union, no pension, no health insurance, no job security, no retirement, and often low pay, which is even less than boxers get, while they are still fighting. While the formation of a fighters' union is far from imminent, he stated, "It's going to happen," adding that more education of the fighters is needed and that he hopes to take an active role in this struggle.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link doesn't work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on mobile phones and iPads through Stitcher.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

ONE Fighting Championship. ONE FC is Asia's largest and most prestigious mixed martial arts event. ONE FC features the best Asian fighters and has initiated the ONE Asia Partnership Network, which includes most of the major MMA promotions and MMA gyms in Asia. For more information, go to their web site, at ONEFC.com.

Beezid.com - Penny Auctions. Your #1 source for exciting auction shopping and outstanding deals on just about anything! Top rated, most trusted auction site online. Where do you shop? Beezid.com - Penny Auctions.

American Top Team. Whether you're a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at http://americantopteam.com/.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

No Holds Barred: Coach Hero Triumphant At MidwoodMania IV Tag Team Wrestling 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman and our colleague and correspondent Malaak Shabazz provide coverage of the main event of MidwoodMania IV, which was held Saturday, April 27, at the Campus Road Gymnasium of Midwood High School in Brooklyn, New York.

MidwoodMania IV featured ten wrestling matches under American folkstyle and freestyle rules. The last three matches for the first time were tag team folkstyle matches, with three, four-minute periods and only one tag allowed per period, and only during a break.

In the main event, the 55-year-old Midwood Coach George Hero scored a last-second takedown over Anthony Chu to lead his team, along with Chris Amro, to a 13-12 come-from-behind victory over Chu and Brian Anderson. Amro, Chu, and Anderson are currently college wrestlers for NYU.

Right after the final match, along with Malaak Shabazz, we spoke with Coach George Hero, Anthony Chu, Brian Anderson, Chris Amro, NYU assistant wrestling coach Mike Torriero, and several others about their experience at this event.

Coach Hero paid tribute to Anthony Chu.

"Let me tell you, Anthony is powerful. He can move for a big man. It was the first time in my career that I was actually outweighed," said Coach Hero. "So this was a new experience."

We discussed the successful debut of real, tag team folkstyle wrestling, and how that increased the action and scoring in the three matches held in that format. We discussed the need for more wrestling programs both for women and alumni wrestlers, the need for innovation and creativity in marketing and advertising wrestling, and much more.

Some photos of MidwoodMania IV can be seen here.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link doesn't work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on mobile phones and iPads through Stitcher.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

ONE Fighting Championship. ONE FC is Asia's largest and most prestigious mixed martial arts event. ONE FC features the best Asian fighters and has initiated the ONE Asia Partnership Network, which includes most of the major MMA promotions and MMA gyms in Asia. For more information, go to their web site, at ONEFC.com.

Beezid.com - Penny Auctions. Your #1 source for exciting auction shopping and outstanding deals on just about anything! Top rated, most trusted auction site online. Where do you shop? Beezid.com - Penny Auctions.

American Top Team. Whether you're a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at http://americantopteam.com/.

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Some Photos from MidwoodMania IV 

Here are a few photos from MidwoodMania IV, which was held Saturday, April 27, at the Campus Road Gymnasium of Midwood High School in Brooklyn, New York.

              First tag of the tag team matches, between Matt Eulau and Sean Billings
Coach Geroge Hero and Anthony Chu


 
Anthony Chu gets Coach Hero on the mat


 
                   Coach Hero and Brian Anderson   
  

         
Brian Anderson gets Coach Hero on mat


 
Coach Hero and Anthony Chu standing


 
Coach Hero gets Anthony Chu on the mat


 
Coach Hero and tage team partner Chris Amro


 
Coach Hero on top of Brian Anderson on the mat


 
Coach Hero and Chris Amro win, 13-12


 
Eddie Goldman, Malaak Shabazz, Coach Hero, and Midwood wrestling manager Michelle Zak


 
Malaak Shabazz and Coach Hero in "scandalous" photo


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Thursday, April 25, 2013

No Holds Barred: How Not To Waste Your Time This Weekend 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman begins by commenting on why the four major main event fight scheduled for this weekend -- Sergio Martinez vs. Martin Murray, Danny Garcia vs. Zab Judah, Amir Khan vs. Julio Diaz, and Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen -- are all largely unappealing and are essentially designed as showcase fights.

There are also lesser-known but likely more entertaining events, such as MidwoodMania IV featuring real tag team wrestling, Saturday, April 27, at Midwood High School in Brooklyn, New York. And there is also an important benefit seminar for leukemia patient Jeremy Montes Jr., featuring veteran grapplers Dave Camarillo and Lana Stefanac, at Kaijin MMA in Santa Cruz, California, on Sunday, April 28. Also, transsexual athlete Donna Rose will be competing at the beach wrestling nationals at Carolina Beach, North Carolina, also on Saturday, April 27.

The commentary continues with an analysis of some recent developments involving the tangled web between the UFC, the State of New York, the Culinary Union Local 226, and legislative opposition to legalizing MMA in New York, including some of their new tactics. Also mentioned is the recent study by Sarah Banks, PhD, of the Cleveland Clinic's Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, on structural and functional brain changes in boxers and mixed martial arts fighters.

Next up is commentary on the decline of TV ratings for the season (and maybe series) finale of the Robot Combat League, more problems in wrestling, the race for the SportAccord presidency and the importance of that organization, the growth of influence of international judo, the proposal for a new event with a united world championships every four years for Olympic and non-Olympic sports, and upcoming jiu-jitsu and catch wrestling events.


You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link doesn't work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on mobile phones and iPads through Stitcher.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

ONE Fighting Championship. ONE FC is Asia's largest and most prestigious mixed martial arts event. ONE FC features the best Asian fighters and has initiated the ONE Asia Partnership Network, which includes most of the major MMA promotions and MMA gyms in Asia. For more information, go to their web site, at ONEFC.com.

Beezid.com - Penny Auctions. Your #1 source for exciting auction shopping and outstanding deals on just about anything! Top rated, most trusted auction site online. Where do you shop? Beezid.com - Penny Auctions.

American Top Team. Whether you're a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at http://americantopteam.com/.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

No Holds Barred: John Perretti on How the Dinosaurs Ruined Wrestling 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again speaks with our longtime colleague and senior correspondent John Perretti.

The sport of wrestling, the oldest in the world and an original Olympic sport, is on the verge of being kicked out of the Olympics. Many of us have been warning the lords of wrestling for years that they had to start promoting, marketing, and popularizing the sport properly, and with up-to-date methods, lest the sport would die.

Now with the International Olympic Committee's Executive Board voting to drop wrestling from the Olympic Program in 2020, and the closing down of college wrestling in the U.S. continuing, this current era of wrestling may be coming to a close (although IOC meetings in May and then September may give Olympic wrestling a stay of execution).

"I warned those guys at USAW [USA Wrestling] so many years ago that this was going to occur," said John Perretti in this interview, which took place by Skype Tuesday (Monday New York time, as he is now in Japan).

"They laughed at me, and then stabbed me in the back," he said, referring to their failure to do what they promised when he worked with them in 1997 on "The Contenders" grappling show.

"The writing was on the wall a long, long time ago."

While the existence of the current international styles of wrestling is in peril, many styles of grappling are continuing to grow.

"I hope that things like grappling move further along and maybe to the Olympics."

But the future is not bright for wrestling.

"You can see that more and more control is going to be pushed towards mixed martial arts, and they are going to lose 99.9 percent of their talent, like I said, especially with there being no Olympics to work towards."

And he stressed, "You can't wake up these dinosaurs," adding, "Once they're fossilized, like they are, they're immovable and impenetrable. They are no longer extant. And wrestling might be that."

We also discussed how the IOC's potentially dropping wrestling represents a decline in the importance of physical culture in the West, for whom wrestling's demise will be a tragedy, how the new leadership in wrestling is making the same old mistakes (and some new ones, too), and much more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link doesn't work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on mobile phones and iPads through Stitcher.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

ONE Fighting Championship. ONE FC is Asia's largest and most prestigious mixed martial arts event. ONE FC features the best Asian fighters and has initiated the ONE Asia Partnership Network, which includes most of the major MMA promotions and MMA gyms in Asia. For more information, go to their web site, at ONEFC.com.

Beezid.com - Penny Auctions. Your #1 source for exciting auction shopping and outstanding deals on just about anything! Top rated, most trusted auction site online. Where do you shop? Beezid.com - Penny Auctions.

American Top Team. Whether you're a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at http://americantopteam.com/.

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Monday, April 22, 2013

No Holds Barred: Robot Combat League Finals, Catch Wrestling in New York, Boston Bombings, Beautiful Boxer 




On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman discusses the finals of the Robot Combat League, the return of catch wrestling to New York, the relation of the Boston bombings and the combat sports, and the wonderful film "Beautiful Boxer".

The finals of the first season of the Robot Combat League will be telecast this Tuesday, April 23, with Crash, with Amber and Dave Shinsel at the helm, taking on Steampunk, with Ashley Nunes and Kyle Samuelson at the controls. This show, which was prerecorded, will air on Syfy in the U.S. and the Space channel in Canada. The future of this show is uncertain, and little promotion of it by the network, which owns it, is evident, so the fate of this series may depend on the reception (and ratings) the final fight receives.

Also on Tuesday, April 23, the first of three historic catch wrestling matches, recorded February 17, 2013, at the MMA World Expo in New York, will air on the Kristal Hart Show. The first match has Jorge Martinez taking on Mike Robinson. There are also interviews with the catch wrestlers aired on this show. This show is on Manhattan Neighborhood Network at 9 PM, on Time Warner Cable channel 56, RCN channel 83, and Verizon FiOS channel 34. It can also be viewed online at http://www.mnn.org.

The bombings this past week in Boston have been pinned on two brothers who were combat sports athletes, Golden Gloves boxer Tamerlan Tsarnaev and high school wrestler Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Both of them had some success in their athletic careers, although what they actually did or didn't do in these bombings, and their motives, are still open to question. Discussed are what lessons you do and do not get from the combat sports, and why these sports should neither be blamed for, or viewed as barriers to, such activity as these bombings.

Also, the discussion over the role of transsexual athletes in the combat sports has renewed interest in the story of transsexual muay Thai fighter Parinya Charoenphol, also known as Nong Toom. The wonderful film "Beautiful Boxer" was reviewed in 2005, and this article is reposted on the No Holds Barred blog.

The movie is also now available on YouTube.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link doesn't work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on mobile phones and iPads through Stitcher.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

ONE Fighting Championship. ONE FC is Asia's largest and most prestigious mixed martial arts event. ONE FC features the best Asian fighters and has initiated the ONE Asia Partnership Network, which includes most of the major MMA promotions and MMA gyms in Asia. For more information, go to their web site, at ONEFC.com.

Beezid.com - Penny Auctions. Your #1 source for exciting auction shopping and outstanding deals on just about anything! Top rated, most trusted auction site online. Where do you shop? Beezid.com - Penny Auctions.

American Top Team. Whether you're a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at http://americantopteam.com/.

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

"BEAUTIFUL BOXER": BEAUTIFUL STORY, BEAUTIFUL MOVIE 

Note: The issue of transsexual athletes in the combat sports is still being debated, especially among their most backwards sector, North American MMA circles. This controversy has been covered in depth on No Holds Barred, with recent interviews with transsexual athletes Fallon Fox, Alaina Hardie, Ryka Aoki, and Donna Rose, as well as a commentary supporting Fallon Fox's right to fight in women's MMA.

But this issue is neither new for combat sports nor for my coverage of them. Back in 2005, for the now-defunct and dearly departed BoxingRanks.com site, I reviewed the movie "Beautiful Boxer", about transsexual muay Thai fighter Parinya Charoenphol, also known as Nong Toom. Since that site has totally closed down, I actually had to use the Internet Archive to retrieve it, here.

And since that time, the entire film "Beautiful Boxer" has been uploaded on YouTube, at http://youtu.be/ibZMW6AKe4o.

Take the time to watch it, and you will feel rewarded.

Below is the text of the original article I wrote in 2005 on the film "Beautiful Boxer", minus the links at the end to sites about the movie since they seem outdated as well. Just remember that it was originally written for the audience of what was then a major boxing web site, and that the article also received praise and appreciation from those involved in that site.

"BEAUTIFUL BOXER": BEAUTIFUL STORY, BEAUTIFUL MOVIE
by Eddie Goldman (March 6, 2005)

The fight game is once again emerging as the undisputed champion of cinematic drama. The Clint Eastwood film "Million Dollar Baby" made a big haul at the 2005 Academy Awards, winning four Oscars. The highly-acclaimed documentary "Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story" will debut on the USA Network on Wed., April 20, after a run at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. Another boxing movie called "Black Cloud" is set for its national debut on March 11.

And now from Thailand comes "Beautiful Boxer," a very different kind of story about a different kind of fighting and a different kind of fighter.

If you are expecting "Raging Bull," "Requiem for a Heavyweight" (my personal favorite), "Rocky," or any other of the traditional boxing films, this one is something quite different.

"Beautiful Boxer" is a dramatization of the story of Thai kickboxer Parinya Charoenphol, also affectionately known as Nong Toom. Thai boxing, or muay Thai as it is known internationally, is a brutal form of kickboxing that combines punches, kicks, elbows, fighting while clinching, and even some throws to the mat. And that's just the legal stuff. "Beautiful Boxer" is partially subtitled in English with most of the dialogue in Thai and some in English as well. Once you get past all that, you will find a very human story that will be hard to forget.

The reason is that Parinya Charoenphol, or Nong Toom, was a champion Thai boxer, and a transvestite who eventually had surgery to become a woman.

The film starts with the telling of Nong Toom's life story through flashbacks. Nong Toom is played by Asanee Suwan, himself a champion muay Thai fighter.

As a young boy Nong Toom was brought up to face a very hard life with dirt poor parents. Yet even then he was attracted to girls' clothing.

In an array of seeming contradictions, at least to prevailing stereotypes about gender, he ends up going to a fighting camp to learn muay Thai, and does very well. As his career develops, he starts to fight competitively and win almost all of his fights. An exception is a hometown decision given to a fighter whom he sliced and diced in the ring. Yes, corruption in boxing knows no bounds either of country or style of fighting.

While building a reputation as a top fighter in this brutal combat sport, he also remains gentle on the inside. This film is filled with his strikingly sensitive and haunting observations, with statements made in an increasingly feminine-sounding voice like, "I don't like to hurt strangers. But in the ring you have no choice." If you don't react to these types of statements, and the way they are delivered in this film, then you have a smaller heart than the tin man in "The Wizard of Oz."

Soon it is made clear that Nong Toom's main motivation for fighting as a professional is to earn enough money to pay for what is clinically known as sexual reassignment surgery, or more popularly as a sex change operation.

By this time Nong Toom is taking female hormones and openly appearing at his fights as a transvestite. He comes into the ring wearing women's makeup. This only adds drama to the matches, and many regard this, incorrectly, as simply a gimmick to add heat to the matches.

In the film, the underlying contrast of his success at this seemingly male and brutal style of fighting and his increasingly female appearance and psyche is highlighted, all the while decking and staggering preconceived notions about the nature of masculinity, femininity, and gender as effectively as Nong Toom's punches and kicks are stopping his opponents in the ring.

Eventually Nong Toom's success earns him a fight in Bangkok's famed Lumpinee Stadium, the Madison Square Garden of muay Thai. Despite his growing success as a fighter, he never loses sight of his main goal: To earn enough money for a sex change operation.

Nong Toom continues to take female hormones as part of that transition, while also continuing to fight. Yet the female hormones begin to transform his body and sap his muscle power. Now, as he is growing breasts and has to wear a bra into the ring, he starts losing fights to male opponents.

Women are banned from this style of fighting in Thailand. Even before his surgery, Nong Toom is shown the door from the muay Thai ring.

Yet he still needs cash for his surgery. So he goes to Japan in 1988 to participate in what is essentially a freak show match to face female pro wrestler Kyoko Inoue in the Tokyo Dome. The movie portrays their encounter as a real fight involving mixed styles. In the film, Kyoko Inoue plays herself, and performs various moves from the fake pro wrestling that are not known to work in real fights. In both the film and in the real fight, however, Nong Toom wins by a TKO as Inoue is cut and bleeding from his many blows. According to Tadashi Tanaka of Japan and Dave Meltzer of the U.S., both expert journalists in pro wrestling and the mixed martial arts, this was indeed a real fight and not a fake or staged one, even if it was very strange.

A key scene in the film takes place after this fight. A cute female groupie camps out by Nong Toom's hotel room awaiting him. When he arrives, she tells him that she believes that all this transvestite stuff is merely a gimmick, like some fictional pro wrestling persona. In his room she begins to disrobe and throw herself at him. He tries to be polite, but looks distraught and is obviously not sexually interested in her. At no time in the film do we see Nong Toom having sex or expressing sexual interest in anyone, male or female, but this scene touchingly makes clear that the direction he is heading in is as real as real can be.

Eventually Nong Toom has the sex change operation and becomes a woman. The real Parinya Charoenphol, who is now a successful model and actress in Thailand, makes a cameo appearance as a makeup artist in the film, as a sort of a visual endorsement of the authenticity of this dramatization.

In the U.S., "Beautiful Boxer" has made the rounds at some gay film festivals as well as some independent movie theaters. The fact that it is not an easy movie to pigeonhole, as a gay movie or a martial arts movie or what, led a reviewer in the Village Voice to complain that "some fences just can't be painlessly straddled."

Yet "Beautiful Boxer" is beautiful precisely because of its universality. It transcends all those social barriers that segregate transgender people from everyone else. Nong Toom could be the kid next door, or the fighter on the card you just watched, or anyone else. And that is precisely its point, that it is as natural for transgender people to be who they are as is the grass that grows underneath all our feet.

You will undoubtedly root for Nong Toom as you watch this film. Hopefully it will instruct you, if you didn't already realize it, that the issue of gender needs to be approached with reason, science, logic, history, and compassion, and not superstition, fear, ignorance, prejudice, and hatred.

Do you want a parallel? Look at how Black people were characterized just a century ago, as documented in "Unforgivable Blackness." Race and gender, of course, have very different histories and natures. For one thing, we know that race is not even a scientific category. For another, slavery, apartheid, segregation, and racial discrimination have a different social significance and history from gender discrimination. But the ideological prejudices are similar. The justifications of the persecution and oppression of all these groups use similar religious fundamentalist texts, which support the buying and selling of slaves, and the suppression of anything other than heterosexual relations.

This beautiful movie, "Beautiful Boxer," begins to break down these barriers with this dramatization of this real-life story. It is but one of countless real-life stories which demonstrate that the path taken by Nong Toom is not some "lifestyle," and not a mere "choice," but as natural as the sun that shines above us all.

Only the most heartless, the most prejudiced and bigoted, and the most empty- headed religious fanatics will fail to empathize with the very human dilemma which faced Nong Toom. And only the densest and most closed minds will fail to notice the contradiction between Nong Toom's brutal profession and his gentle and pacific nature.

It will indeed be a shame if this movie gets labeled as simply a gay movie. It is a movie for everyone -- everyone that is compassionate and open-minded, that is. Bigots can stay home and hate themselves as well as everyone else.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

No Holds Barred: Alaina Hardie on Transsexual Athletes, Grappling, and Robots 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with grappler Alaina Hardie.

Based in Toronto, Canada, and a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Alaina Hardie has been well-known for competing in numerous grappling and BJJ events in North America. Although a knee injury will likely prevent her from competing in these tournaments again, she continues to train and attend numerous events.

She is also friends with Fallon Fox, the female transsexual MMA fighter who has recently been the center of much controversy.

Alaina took to her Facebook page to post in support of Fallon Fox, and then, along with a recent photo of the two of them, wrote: "My friend Fallon Fox has been in the news recently because she came out as a trans MMA fighter. I have been very vocally supportive, and have tried to help spread good information. I have spent a long time investigating the issue. I feel, deep down, that it is fair for Fallon to fight. The reality is that trans athletes are everywhere. In fact, you know one personally: me."

Although those close to her and some others knew about it, this was the public coming out by Alaina Hardie as a transsexual woman.

We spoke to Alaina Hardie by Skype Wednesday about the status of transsexual athletes and her own situation.

"I am, like Fallon, a transsexual athlete," she said in this interview. "I met Fallon when we both did the ADCC Trials in 2009. And at the time I had no idea she was transsexual, and she had no idea I was, either. I just thought she was like every other non-trans female grappler out there."

After adding each other on Facebook, she and Fallon didn't stay in touch that much, until she saw the news in March of this year that Fallon had come out.

"Immediately I e-mailed her and was like, 'Look, girl, I totally got your back. I'm also a trans athlete.' And we had a little, brief conversation about it at that point. But I became a very outspoken advocate."

Our discussion also examined some of the scientific issues involving transsexual athletes, as Alaina describes herself as a "science nerd". She mentioned the positive support she has received since coming out as a trans athlete from so many people in the jiu-jitsu and grappling communities, how there is no scientific evidence that transsexual athletes have unfair advantages over other athletes, why if someone came up with the money for a long-term study of trans athletes "I would run it myself", the neurological differences between those who desire to become transsexuals and those who do not, her brief experience as a transsexual amateur boxer in Ontario, her experience coming out on Facebook, her work with robotics and why "robots are awesome", her support of the citizen science movement, and much more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link doesn't work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on mobile phones and iPads through Stitcher.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

ONE Fighting Championship. ONE FC is Asia's largest and most prestigious mixed martial arts event. ONE FC features the best Asian fighters and has initiated the ONE Asia Partnership Network, which includes most of the major MMA promotions and MMA gyms in Asia. For more information, go to their web site, at ONEFC.com.

Beezid.com - Penny Auctions. Your #1 source for exciting auction shopping and outstanding deals on just about anything! Top rated, most trusted auction site online. Where do you shop? Beezid.com - Penny Auctions.

American Top Team. Whether you're a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at http://americantopteam.com/.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

No Holds Barred: Coach George Hero on MidwoodMania IV: Tag Teams and Titans 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with Coach George Hero, the legendary coach and founder of the Midwood High School wrestling team in Brooklyn, New York.

On Saturday, April 27, Midwood High School will be the scene of this year's edition of what has now become an annual tradition, MidwoodMania IV. The event runs from 11 AM to 3 PM, at the Campus Road Gymnasium of Midwood High School, 2839 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, New York 11210, right across the street from Brooklyn College.

While MidwoodMania IV will see a full slate of wrestling matches in folkstyle, freestyle, and Greco-Roman wrestling involving Midwood alumni, coaches, wrestlers, and their rivals, this year there will be a major difference from previous years: Three of the ten matches will be tag team matches.

"We were thinking about doing something a little bit different," Coach Hero said in this interview, which was recorded by phone Tuesday. "One of the things that slows down a lot of wrestling matches is, it is very, very physically demanding." Many wrestlers, he noted, "get kind of tired by the third period, and things really tend to slow down a lot. And I thought what might be an interesting idea would be to create freestyle, folkstyle, real wrestling tag teams."

The three tag team matches at MidwoodMania IV will be held under folkstyle rules, but with some important modifications. Each match will be scheduled for three, four-minute periods. A wrestler can only tag out when there is a break or lull in the action, and must indicate this to the referee. Each team is allowed only one tag per period. Also, a pin ends the period, but not the match.

Coach Hero, who recently turned 55, will be wrestling in one of the tag team matches.

Our discussion with Coach Hero included many more details about MidwoodMania IV, his experience since returning to the mat, how events like this can be used to popularize wrestling, the possibility of the establishment of more tournaments for wrestlers who have finished their schooling, the absurdity of the decision to drop wrestling from the Olympic program, and more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link doesn't work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on mobile phones and iPads through Stitcher.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

ONE Fighting Championship. ONE FC is Asia's largest and most prestigious mixed martial arts event. ONE FC features the best Asian fighters and has initiated the ONE Asia Partnership Network, which includes most of the major MMA promotions and MMA gyms in Asia. For more information, go to their web site, at ONEFC.com.

Beezid.com - Penny Auctions. Your #1 source for exciting auction shopping and outstanding deals on just about anything! Top rated, most trusted auction site online. Where do you shop? Beezid.com - Penny Auctions.

American Top Team. Whether you're a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at http://americantopteam.com/.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

No Holds Barred: Ryka Aoki, John Amodeo 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with Ryka Aoki and John Amodeo, who were both featured writers at the Rainbow Book Fair in New York on Saturday, April 13. The Rainbow Book Fair describes itself as the "oldest and largest LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) book fair in the US, and America's largest LGBT book event".

One might think, according to stereotypes, that those involved with the combat sports and martial arts would be absent from such an event. Those people, however, do not know people like Ryka Aoki and John Amodeo.

Ryka Aoki is a novelist, a writer, a performer, a teacher, a judoka for almost four decades, and the head instructor of Supernova Martial Arts at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, whose mission is to empower LGBT youth through martial arts and self-defense. She is also a transgender woman.

John Amodeo is an author and an educator who has written several books, including biographies of former world heavyweight boxing champion Ken Norton and journeyman fighter Rayco Saunders. He lives in New York.

Admitting that his books on boxing "might be a tough sell" at this event, John Amodeo nevertheless said, "But people can relate to struggles in life. Especially with Rayco's story: coming out of Pittsburgh, and having his mother die of an overdose, and struggling through and getting incarcerated as a result of drug-dealing, and eventually turning his life around. It's a come-from-behind story."

In her interview, which was the lengthier of the two, Ryka Aoki also struck a theme of universality.

"Human life is messy. I think there are certain things that we can all honor. I'll put compassion up there. Treating each other with respect is up there. Fair play is definitely up there."

She continued, "I think that the constants in life should be justice, fair play, respect. These are things that don't change. These are things that don't change. A trans woman, a queer woman, a queer man, somebody you don't even know, a Martian with three heads -- there's still respect, there's still justice, there's still truth, there's still protecting the weak. There's still training to be your best. There's still improving to make the best use of the gifts that you have. In other words, all that stuff that we learned growing up in the judo dojo or the martial arts dojo or the MMA gym, all these things about perseverance and hard work and all of this stuff, these are the constants that I think we can hold onto. Even when the rest of the world is upside down, a pushup is still a pushup. Closed guard is still closed guard. These things don't change. I just wanted to toss that out. A good technique is always going to be a good technique."

This is the approach she is taking regarding the controversy over transgender female MMA fighter Fallon Fox, and the hateful and hurtful reaction she has received from some in the MMA community.

"Really, we can talk about medicine. We can talk about these things. I'm no doctor. I'm just a judoka. So I don't know what these hormones, or strength is. I can tell you from experience my strength levels are quite a bit reduced from back before I was taking hormones. But these questions really obscure the point that this is just bullying and mean-spiritedness. There are intelligent, logical ways to address these things," she said. "I think it's natural to have questions. However, there are good and bad ways to ask and to seek these questions out."

While she has spend time teaching college, performing in many locales, and speaking at book fairs such as this, her work as a martial arts instructor at the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center regularly brings her into contact with young people who are not likely to be at such places.

"I spend most of my time teaching youth," she said. "I teach at-risk LGBT youth in Los Angeles. Not competition, just to get by, basic self-defense. And I do see that a lot of 'martial artists' and people like that who have these high ideals written on their dojo walls tend to be very mean-spirited when it comes to gay students, to lesbian students, to transgender students."

She added, "I expect a little bit of that meatheaded-ness, but that doesn't erase the fact that you hurt somebody, you got to live with that, really. And it kind of disgusts me."

Many of the youth to whom she teaches martial arts are homeless, including one who thrown out of his house because he was gay.

"A lot of these children end up in Los Angeles, and they're on the street. And no one's ever really taken them into consideration. They haven't taught them how to do anything, and they get preyed upon. And they see their bodies really only as objects of violence and objects of sex. When I teach them martial arts, they can see their bodies as things that can be strengthened, something to be proud of, not just beautiful but strong and trained."

Our discussions with Ryka Aoki and John Amodeo also touched on many other topics, as they both have much wisdom to share.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link doesn't work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on mobile phones and iPads through Stitcher.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

ONE Fighting Championship. ONE FC is Asia's largest and most prestigious mixed martial arts event. ONE FC features the best Asian fighters and has initiated the ONE Asia Partnership Network, which includes most of the major MMA promotions and MMA gyms in Asia. For more information, go to their web site, at ONEFC.com.

Beezid.com - Penny Auctions. Your #1 source for exciting auction shopping and outstanding deals on just about anything! Top rated, most trusted auction site online. Where do you shop? Beezid.com - Penny Auctions.

American Top Team. Whether you're a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at http://americantopteam.com/.

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

No Holds Barred: Rose Gracie, the 2013 Gracie Worlds, and the Rebirth of Jiu-Jitsu 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again speaks with Rose Gracie.

In one sense, Rose Gracie is considered sort of jiu-jitsu royalty, as the granddaughter of the legendary Helio Gracie and the daughter of UFC co-founder Rorion Gracie. But in another sense, she is sort of a rebel, insisting that the jiu-jitsu tournaments she organizes have matches that can only be won by submissions, with no points or judges.

This rule set she describes as "the real jiu-jitsu" which her grandfather did.

Her next tournament is the 2013 Gracie Worlds.

This event is scheduled for June 29-30 at the Santa Clara Convention Center, 5001 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara, California 95054, and is being held in conjunction with The FitExpo - Santa Clara. The gi tournament will take place Saturday, June 29, followed by the no-gi tournament Sunday, June 30, with kids' and adults' divisions both days.

We spoke with Rose Gracie by phone Tuesday about the 2013 Gracie Worlds and what she is trying to accomplish.

It was certainly clear from our discussion that her motivations are quite different from most people who run combat sports events.

"You don't always have to do something to gain money from it," she said in this interview. "You gain a lot more by changing somebody's life than you would do by making the money. And when certain people understand how important that is, they change the way they think. It's a lot more rewarding to me to go feed the homeless and give homeless kids presents for Christmas than it is for me to get my own gift."

Teaching children "the right thing to do," protecting the athletes' health and safety, and eventually establishing a non-profit Rose Gracie Foundation are also among the goals of her approach to jiu-jitsu.

We also discussed why she believes that a "rebirth of jiu-jitsu" is needed, how this submission-only format produces matches which are both exciting and easy to understand, the real relation of jiu-jitsu and MMA, the special need to train women and children in jiu-jitsu, and much more in this lengthy discussion.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link doesn't work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on mobile phones and iPads through Stitcher.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

ONE Fighting Championship. ONE FC is Asia's largest and most prestigious mixed martial arts event. ONE FC features the best Asian fighters and has initiated the ONE Asia Partnership Network, which includes most of the major MMA promotions and MMA gyms in Asia. For more information, go to their web site, at ONEFC.com.

Beezid.com - Penny Auctions. Your #1 source for exciting auction shopping and outstanding deals on just about anything! Top rated, most trusted auction site online. Where do you shop? Beezid.com - Penny Auctions.

American Top Team. Whether you're a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at http://americantopteam.com/.

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

No Holds Barred: John Potenza of Snake Pit U.S.A. on Bringing Catch Wrestling Back 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with Coach John Potenza of the Snake Pit U.S.A. Catch Wrestling Association.

As part of the rebuilding of the sport of catch wrestling, the Snake Pit U.S.A. will be holding a catch wrestling seminar this Saturday, April 13, from 11 AM to 3 PM at the Modern Martial Arts Fight Club on 36 Main Street in Englishtown, New Jersey 07726. Everyone is welcome regardless of their skill or martial arts background.

We spoke with Coach John Potenza by phone Monday about the importance of seminars like this one and the progress in rebuilding this sport.

"It's finally picking up some speed," he said. "It's been a long, slow road. I've been at this over a decade. Jake Shannon and Scientific Wrestling have been doing a ton of work for it for a very long time. It's been a long road, but now it's finally starting to get to that point where it's great to see other organizations are pushing it and seminars and seeing a lot of videos popping up on the web sites and Facebook and YouTube and everything else, different groups doing catch wrestling. I think it's fantastic. So I think we're definitely headed in the right direction."

He continued, "As of right now, everybody has the same goal, of just bringing catch wrestling back. And there's no animosity anywhere. There's no egos and tension, which is great. It seems like we're all working for the same goal, which I'm really happy about. That's right now the biggest concern, is to make sure that we all stay on the same page, and keep our eye on the prize. The goal is, to bring catch wrestling back."

In addition, right after the seminar, there will be some catch wrestling matches, where victory can only be attained by pin or submission.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link doesn't work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on mobile phones and iPads through Stitcher.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

ONE Fighting Championship. ONE FC is Asia's largest and most prestigious mixed martial arts event. ONE FC features the best Asian fighters and has initiated the ONE Asia Partnership Network, which includes most of the major MMA promotions and MMA gyms in Asia. For more information, go to their web site, at ONEFC.com.

Beezid.com - Penny Auctions. Your #1 source for exciting auction shopping and outstanding deals on just about anything! Top rated, most trusted auction site online. Where do you shop? Beezid.com - Penny Auctions.

American Top Team. Whether you're a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at http://americantopteam.com/.

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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

No Holds Barred: John Rallo on Shogun Fights VIII 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with John Rallo, the owner of the Baltimore, Maryland-based MMA promotion Shogun Fights.

Founded in 2009, a year after MMA was legalized in Maryland, Shogun Fights mainly features local up-and-coming fighters.

Their next card is Shogun Fights VIII, which takes place Saturday, April 13, at the 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore, Maryland. Among the main fights on this card are a lightweight fight between Dan Root and Noe Quintanilla, and the first-ever women's MMA fight in Shogun, between Rosanna Garcia and Gabby Holloway.

We spoke with John Rallo by phone Monday about Shogun Fights, its history, this card, and the sporting scene in Baltimore.

Speaking about the growth of MMA and the impressive crowds who attend Shogun Fights, he said, "Anytime that we can pull regional fighters from the area and draw the crowds that we're drawing, I think it's pretty amazing. I've been around for a long time, and we're pulling better crowds than Bellator. I wish I had Viacom money behind us and maybe we could grow ourselves as well."

We also discussed why Shogun Fights currently runs just two special shows per year, their place in sports-crazed Baltimore, wrestling and MMA, and more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link doesn't work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on mobile phones and iPads through Stitcher.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

ONE Fighting Championship. ONE FC is Asia's largest and most prestigious mixed martial arts event. ONE FC features the best Asian fighters and has initiated the ONE Asia Partnership Network, which includes most of the major MMA promotions and MMA gyms in Asia. For more information, go to their web site, at ONEFC.com.

Beezid.com - Penny Auctions. Your #1 source for exciting auction shopping and outstanding deals on just about anything! Top rated, most trusted auction site online. Where do you shop? Beezid.com - Penny Auctions.

American Top Team. Whether you're a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at http://americantopteam.com/.

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Sunday, April 07, 2013

No Holds Barred: The Art of ONE FC 




On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman discusses why the ONE FC: Kings and Champions card, held April 5, in Singapore, was perhaps their best card ever, and put the arts back in mixed martial arts.

This is contrasted with the vulgarity, ignorance, and hatred prevalent in North American sports, such as the current Rutgers basketball scandal, and the response by many to transsexual female MMA fighter Fallon Fox, who was just cleared of wrongdoing by the Florida commission.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link doesn't work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on mobile phones and iPads through Stitcher.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

ONE Fighting Championship. ONE FC is Asia's largest and most prestigious mixed martial arts event. ONE FC features the best Asian fighters and has initiated the ONE Asia Partnership Network, which includes most of the major MMA promotions and MMA gyms in Asia. For more information, go to their web site, at ONEFC.com.

Beezid.com - Penny Auctions. Your #1 source for exciting auction shopping and outstanding deals on just about anything! Top rated, most trusted auction site online. Where do you shop? Beezid.com - Penny Auctions.

American Top Team. Whether you're a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at http://americantopteam.com/.

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Wednesday, April 03, 2013

No Holds Barred: Chatri Sityodtong on Evolve University and ONE FC: Kings and Champions 



On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with Evolve MMA founder Chatri Sityodtong.

It's a very busy time for Evolve MMA and Chatri. They not only have five fighters on the ONE FC: Kings and Champions card this Friday, April 5, in Singapore, but also have just started Evolve University, the world's largest online university for the martial arts and combat sports.

"The thing that makes Evolve University different from anything else out there is not only the scale of things that we've done, but every single one of our courses is taught by world champions," said Chatri in this interview, which was recorded over Skype Wednesday (Tuesday night New York time).

"From our research, we believe that we are the world's largest online university for martial arts taught by world champions exclusively," with courses in muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, MMA, submission grappling, and wrestling.

So far, the response has been phenomenal. In the first five days of its existence, the number of people who have signed up for Evolve University around the world is in the "thousands," he said.

While Evolve University aims at providing world-class instruction in these various disciplines, the emphasis is also on promoting the positive values of the martial arts.

"I want to be able to change millions of people's lives," he said. "Look at the senseless violence that we're in today. Every day you see every city, there are innocent victims being victimized for no reason. I really believe the world will be a safer place if everyone knew the basic principles of self-defense and learned martial arts and gained self-confidence and mental strength, and discipline, focus, and energy. And martial arts really does give you a warrior spirit. It gives you that desire to fight and conquer adversity that we all have in our lives."

The five Evolve MMA fighters who will be competing at Friday's ONE FC: Kings and Champions are Shinya Aoki, Eddie Ng, Leandro Issa, Alex Silva, and Jake Butler.

ONE FC: Kings and Champions will be held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore. The show will be televised live in Asia on Star Sports, which is available in 28 countries to an estimated 500 million viewers. It will also be webcast live around the world as a pay-per-view on http://www.onefc.livesport.tv.

In the main event, submission specialist Shinya Aoki will challenge for the ONE FC lightweight belt against champion and fellow Japanese fighter Kotetsu Boku. Evolve MMA's Eddie Ng of Hong Kong will take on the colorful Arnaud Lepont of France. Evolve MMA fighter and BJJ specialist Leandro Issa will try to rebound from a loss in his last fight when he faces Dagestan fighter Yusup Saadulaev. Another BJJ world champion and Evolve MMA fighter Alex Silva will fight Wushu world champion Rene Catalan. And American wrestler and now Evolve MMA fighter Jake Butler will fight the more experienced Swain Cangco of Saipan.

Also on the ONE FC: Kings and Champions card, in what is likely a classic striker vs. grappler matchup, the explosive Melvin Manhoef fights Brock Larson. The ONE FC Bantamweight Grand Prix continues with the semifinal round, as Jens Pulver fights Masakatsu Ueda and Kevin Belingon fights Thanh Vu. Also, Pakistani MMA pioneer Bashir Ahmad takes on Shannon Wiratchai of Thailand, and Chen Yun Ting of Malaysia fights muay Thai star Ronald Low of Singapore.

We also discussed this card with Chatri, as well as why martial arts are part of a lifelong process and journey, the growth of MMA in Asia, why Asia will become the epicenter of MMA, the current global duopoly in MMA, and much more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link doesn't work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on mobile phones and iPads through Stitcher.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

ONE Fighting Championship. ONE FC is Asia's largest and most prestigious mixed martial arts event. ONE FC features the best Asian fighters and has initiated the ONE Asia Partnership Network, which includes most of the major MMA promotions and MMA gyms in Asia. For more information, go to their web site, at ONEFC.com.

Beezid.com - Penny Auctions. Your #1 source for exciting auction shopping and outstanding deals on just about anything! Top rated, most trusted auction site online. Where do you shop? Beezid.com - Penny Auctions.

American Top Team. Whether you're a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at http://americantopteam.com/.

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Monday, April 01, 2013

No Holds Barred: Jake Butler, From Princeton and New York to ONE FC and Evolve MMA in Singapore 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with ONE FC and Evolve Fight Team MMA fighter Jake Butler.

Now based in Singapore, American fighter Jake Butler made his MMA debut on February 2, 2013, at ONE FC: Return of Warriors, at the Stadium Putra in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, getting a first-round TKO victory over Indonesian wrestler Antoni Romulo.

He next fights this Friday, April 5, on the ONE FC: Kings and Champions card when he takes on the more experienced Swain Cangco of Saipan in a light heavyweight bout.

ONE FC: Kings and Champions will be held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore. The show will be televised live in Asia on Star Sports, which is available in 28 countries to an estimated 500 million viewers. It will also be webcast live around the world as a pay-per-view on http://www.onefc.livesport.tv.

We spoke with Jake Butler by Skype on Wednesday (Tuesday New York time) about this fight and his unusual decision to leave a job in finance and become a fighter. You see, Jake Butler has a degree in economics from the prestigious Ivy League college Princeton and had been working in New York before making some life-changing decisions. But he also was prepared to make such a change, having wrestled at 197 pounds for Princeton, a Division I NCAA school, where he was a captain and considered the best wrestler on the team.

"I wasn't really happy in my career in New York and working in the finance industry there," he said in this interview. "I'd always had an interest in competing in MMA all through college. When I graduated, I guess there is a certain amount of pressure to sort of use that Princeton degree to go right to work and focus on a career."

But perhaps understating his dilemma by describing his plight as being stuck working in an office doing what was "not the most rewarding job", he then decided it was time to move on.

"I soon realized that it probably wasn't the best choice for me, and I still wanted to compete."

But where to go?

He continued, "It's a lot more difficult in the U.S. to get started in MMA and also work. I just didn't have the right opportunity there."

He also was well aware that he would need much more than college wrestling to succeed in MMA.

"When I came across Evolve MMA, I had heard that they were looking for people with wrestling experience, with a strong wrestling background, and what they offered was world-class striking, probably some of the best striking coaches in the world. So it just seemed like a perfect fit for me and a perfect opportunity to pursue my interest in MMA."

Although his is still a preliminary fight, Jake Butler is now where he wants to be and doing what he wants to do.

We also discussed what to expect in his fight with Swain Cangco, his transition from wrestling to MMA, his training in striking and submissions, how takedowns must be set up differently in MMA than in wrestling, his experience at Evolve MMA, and much more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link doesn't work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on mobile phones and iPads through Stitcher.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

ONE Fighting Championship. ONE FC is Asia's largest and most prestigious mixed martial arts event. ONE FC features the best Asian fighters and has initiated the ONE Asia Partnership Network, which includes most of the major MMA promotions and MMA gyms in Asia. For more information, go to their web site, at ONEFC.com.

Beezid.com - Penny Auctions. Your #1 source for exciting auction shopping and outstanding deals on just about anything! Top rated, most trusted auction site online. Where do you shop? Beezid.com - Penny Auctions.

American Top Team. Whether you're a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at http://americantopteam.com/.

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