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Sunday, July 21, 2013
Despite having come up with the term "mixed martial arts" and being a pioneer and one of the founders of modern MMA, John Perretti is no longer involved in the sport. Nor does he even watch it, either on TV or live, although he does sometimes keep up with other combat sports like boxing, kickboxing, sumo, and wrestling.
"It just didn't interest me," he said in our interview, recorded by Skype this past week on Tuesday. "The whole thing just had devolved into something I had no interest in."
We discussed his disillusionment with a sport in which he had such a key role in creating. He explained how he finds most MMA in the USA "abysmal" and "unwatchable"; how his relationship with the sport has ended similarly to how personal or romantic relationships end; how he "quit" and was never fired from his position as UFC matchmaker; why he considers MMA "not creative anymore"; and the dangers of head trauma and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) in MMA and other sports.
When we discussed grappling, he said he wished he had started his groundbreaking professional grappling show, The Contenders, before he had started Extreme Fighting. The Contenders had just one event, in October 1997, after Extreme Fighting, which ran from 1995 to 1997, had gone out of business. What would combat sports history have been like if he had done that?
Besides training his sons in weightlifting - they are both at the top of their weight classes in their age groups in the USA - he plans to open a gym next year in Japan when he relocates there full-time.
And we also asked a broader question from all this: If MMA founders like John, Rorion Gracie, Bob Meyrowitz, Donald Zuckerman, and others are all no longer involved in the sport and have moved on, what does this say about the long-term viability of MMA?
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The First Annual Liberty Bell Classic East Coast King of Catch Tournament, organized by the North American Catch Wrestling Association in conjunction with Scientific Wrestling. This catch wrestling tournament will take place Saturday, August 31, 2013, at the Klein JCC, 10100 Jamison Ave., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19116. No points! No politics! Only submissions and pins win! For more information, go to http://nacwa.weebly.com.