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Wednesday, March 09, 2016
On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with wrestling historian and author Mike Chapman.
This is the first in a series of discussions celebrating the tenth anniversary of this No Holds Barred podcast, which began in March 2006. These interviews will focus both on the legacy and issues raised over the years on this show, as well as contemporary issues and the future of the combat sports and martial arts.
We spoke with Mike Chapman by phone Tuesday.
The sport of wrestling, the world's oldest, has had many difficulties in recent decades, and Mike Chapman has been one of the leaders in trying to get the sport properly organized, marketed, and promoted.
"Here's the thing about wrestlers as a group, and the coaches and the people who run it," he said. "They are tough, tough, tough people, but they are very programmed people. They've fallen into the trap of whatever worked before will work again if we just do more of it and do it harder. And of course you and I know that's not the case. Sometimes you just have to think outside the box. You have to be more flexible. You have to be innovative.
"And bless 'em, the people that run wrestling -- I know almost all of them personally. They're really good people. I like them. I respect them. I'm going back 30 to 40 years, I've known almost all of them.
"But they're just not very creative and flexible when it comes to looking at ways to improve the marketability of the sport."
He continued, "I've said for 20 years the number one thing wrestling needs is some kind of an organization that operates as an advocate for the sport, to work with media, to build relationships, to branch out, to try to come up with a comprehensive short-term and long-term plan to increase the visibility, the acceptance, and the cultural magnitude of the sport.
"And it just falls on deaf ears."
While wrestling in the U.S. is nowhere near reaching its full potential, internationally the Olympic movement is rocking and reeling from one major scandal to another. We discussed how international wrestling as part of that Olympic movement has been accused time and again of corruption.
Mike Chapman has probably written more about the world heavyweight wrestling champion Frank Gotch of the early 1900s than anyone else, and we discussed the style of wrestling from his era when wrestling was a major popular spectator sport: catch, or catch-as-catch-can wrestling. He is working to revive this style of wrestling, and we discussed the July 3 Frank Gotch World Catch Wrestling Tournament, which will take place in Humboldt, Iowa, Gotch's hometown.
We also discussed the Big 10 wrestling championships, which he attended; the 2016 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, which take place March 17-19 in Madison Square Garden in New York; the need for people who want to help wrestling to get professional educational training in media, marketing, and management; the importance of No Holds Barred in being a voice for catch wrestling; and much, much more.
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No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:
The Frank Gotch World Catch Wrestling Tournament. On Sunday, July 3, 2016, catch wrestlers from all around the world will compete in Humboldt, Iowa, the hometown of the legendary world champion wrestler Frank Gotch. Organized by the Catch Wrestling Alliance and co-sponsored by IAWrestle, the Frank Gotch Statue Committee, and the Frank Gotch Kids Wrestling Club, the event will take place at Humboldt High School. For more information, go to CatchWrestlingAlliance.com.
The North American Catch Wrestling Association, a grassroots organization designed to help rebuild the sport of catch-as-catch-can-wrestling. For more information, go to their Facebook page at facebook.com/NorthAmericanCatchWrestlingAssociation.
BJJ Eastern Europe, for the latest Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu news, articles, interviews, competition calendar, European belt rankings, academy directory, and more. For more information, go to BJJEE.com.
The National Registry for Wrestling, whose mission is to increase wrestling's fanbase, to build a registry of all wrestling fans, to serve as a connecting point for all wrestling fans, and to provide TV and Internet listings for wrestling. For more information, go to NR4W.com.