Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

No Holds Barred: Nick Garone on Second Annual Grapple at the Garden on December 1 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Nick Garone, the president of X-Cel Worldwide.

The main topic of our discussion was the second annual Grapple at the Garden.

This event will be held Sunday, December 1, at the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden in New York.

For the first time in almost 94 years, when Joe Stecher defeated Earl Caddock on January 30, 1920, to win the world heavyweight wrestling championship, there will be real professional wrestling at Madison Square Garden.

In the main event of Grapple at the Garden 2, four-time NCAA Division I national champion Kyle Dake, the only wrestler to win these championships in four different weight classes, will take on another former NCAA Division I national champion, Bubba Jenkins, who was also a freestyle wrestling junior world champion and is currently a professional MMA fighter. This match will be held under freestyle wrestling rules and is being promoted in association with X-Cel Worldwide.

The co-main event, just announced, is a match between Frankie Edgar, a former UFC lightweight champion and Division I All-American wrestler at Clarion, and Phillipe Nover, who is the current Ring of Combat MMA lightweight champion and will represent the Renzo Gracie Academy.

The card also has numerous college wrestling dual meets, involving Army, Bloomsburg, Boston University, Cornell, Drexel, George Mason, Hofstra, Illinois, Maryland, Penn, Princeton, and Rutgers, as well as four local wrestling programs including Stevens Institute of Technology and NYU in an NCAA Division III matchup, and a match between NCWA men's club teams from Stony Brook University and Westchester Community College.

The card also includes the Renzo Gracie Academy vs. Team Joe Warren, with numerous MMA fighters such as "King" Mo Lawal and Joe Warren himself wrestling; top USA Wrestling senior clubs from the New York Athletic Club and the Titan Mercury Wrestling Club; a team USA vs. team Canada in two women's freestyle wrestling matches with 2012 world champion and three-time world medalist Adeline Gray of the U.S. vs. Canadian World Team member Erica Wiebe, and 2012 world silver medalist Helen Maroulis of the U.S. vs. Canadian World Team member Jillian Gallays; the finals of the Beat The Streets PSAL Thanksgiving Dual Meet Invitational in high school wrestling; and the finals of the inaugural Grapple at the Garden middle school championship, produced in association with the Metropolitan Wrestling Association.

The full card, which of course is subject to change, can be seen here.

We spoke with Nick Garone by phone Sunday.

"One of the things that is so exciting about this opportunity is the venue," he said. "The venue is just second to none. It's the Mecca. It's the most famous arena on earth, in the world. People know it from all around the world, from China, to London, from California to Maine, everybody knows Madison Square Garden."

The event is also aimed at a broad audience.

"We really don't want to attract just wrestling people," he said. "Wrestling fans are going to be into it. Wrestling fans are going to come out and they're going to support. We really want people to appreciate the great athletes that this sport produces."

As for the athletes, he added, "This is giving them an opportunity to make a little money in their own sport, give the sport publicity, and as well be a good will ambassador for their style of wrestling."

We also discussed that while many Division I college wrestling programs have been dropped in recent years, there has been an actual growth of the number of college wrestling programs overall, that the sport of wrestling is growing in the U.S. on the grassroots level, and much more.

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