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Monday, January 27, 2014

No Holds Barred: John Perretti on Why Head Blows on the Ground Should Be Banned in MMA 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with the ex-pugilist, lifelong martial artist, former UFC and Battlecade Extreme Fighting matchmaker, TV commentator, and our senior correspondent, John Perretti.

We spoke with him by phone Monday.

With the growing awareness of the health and safety dangers in MMA, a sport in which he played a key role in establishing, he has now revised his original view that MMA is safer than boxing.

"Quite frankly, we were wrong," he said. "I sense that the tide is turning." With more and more MMA fights, he argued that there is now more of a basis for making a judgment on this issue.

"If we really start looking at it outside of the mixed martial arts media universe, and we start to have autopsies, we're going to find out some really nasty things about repetitive trauma and vertebral concussion and compression and how that affects someone in later stages of life," he said.

As for what can be changed in MMA to make it safer and more acceptable, he spoke of eliminating what he calls "the anvil effect," where fighters get struck in the head while on the ground.

"For MMA, I think one of the greatest catalysts for improving the health and welfare of the animal involved is to not allow any blows of any kind to the head on the ground."

We discussed these issues in depth, as well as the lawsuit by over 4,500 players against the National Football League over covering up the real health dangers of playing American football, how the health of some aging former MMA fighters is deteriorating, what the future might hold for sports with repetitive head trauma, why he is happy that his sons are not involved with any martial arts but are competing in weightlifting, injuries and bad training techniques in sports like grappling and wrestling, and much more.

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