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Sunday, July 26, 2020

No Holds Barred: Nate Jackson on the Founding of the Black Wrestling Association 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Nate Jackson, a two-time All-American wrestler at Indiana, a current assistant coach at Princeton wrestling, and a founder and president of the Black Wrestling Association (BWA).

We spoke with him by phone Thursday.

The founding of the Black Wrestling Association is a direct product of the mass anti-racist uprisings in America and the world following the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and other Black people. This led to several Black wrestlers including Nate Jackson having discussions about how to respond.

"We were kind of called together, brought together through tragedy. So after the Ahmaud Arbery murder, we sought different ways on trying to bring awareness to Black men and Black people in general being brutalized in our country through overt racists," he said.

Then on May 25 George Floyd was murdered, with the excruciating scene captured on video which was seen by millions around the world. That led to a series of protests, which are still ongoing, against racism, white supremacy, and police violence and murders, which have had the widest support and participation than any such protests since at least the 1960s and perhaps even more than occurred then.

For Nate Jackson and the Black wrestlers with whom he was already speaking, more decisive discussions took place.

"George Floyd's murder was a paradigm shifter, especially in public discussions, just because everyone that I talked to and that I saw around the Internet, everybody reacted the same way. Everybody was in shock," he said.

Now the circle of people participating in these discussions widened.

"We devised a call. And on that call there was about 60 other wrestlers of influence, wrestlers that we thought should be on that call. And this call was facilitated by myself, and we had moderators, most of the founding members. And we had just open discussion," he said.

"And at the end of the call, guess what? We all felt exactly the same about these issues. And in feeling the same, we had a responsibility to do something.

"So after that call came and went, the founding members -- myself, Kerry McCoy, Kevin Jackson, J'den Cox, Kenny Monday, James Green, Gabriel Townsell, B.J. Futrell, Kyven Gadson, and Mark Hall -- we decided to create the BWA.

"And our mission is to inspire, to connect, empower Black wrestlers and allies to grow wrestling through representation, equality, and opportunity," he said.

That was in June. In the brief time since, the Black Wrestling Association has been developing plans to build and strengthen its organization.

We discussed more of what those plans are; how they plan to use their platform as wrestlers to change wrestling and the world; how Black wrestlers need more representation in what is "a pretty insulated sport"; how they are involving some of the Black wrestlers of the past as well as college and high school wrestlers while creating role models for the youth; working to grow the sport of wrestling while striving to do all this; the priority of involving women wrestlers in the BWA; the sad recent passing of wrestling legend Carlton Haselrig; and much, much more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is available at Google Play Music.

Also, No Holds Barred is available at Apple Podcasts.

No Holds Barred is also available on Spotify.

You can also listen to No Holds Barred via Stitcher through iOS or Android devices or on the web here.

The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

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

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

LenneHardt.com, the home of Lenne Hardt, the legendary MMA and sports announcer, voice actor, singer, actress, and comedienne. Lenne is also known for her jazz vocals with her Lenne Hardt Jazz Cabaret Band. For more information, to book her, or to order a custom message from her, go to LenneHardt.com.

Skullz Combat Sports Equipment, creator of the patented Skullz Double-End Bag, is the perfect punching bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve speed, distance, and timing skills. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. Skullz Combat Sports Equipment - Advancing combat sports equipment for the next generation of fighters. For more information, go to https://instagram.com/skullzcombatsports and https://facebook.com/skullzcombatsports.

Adolphina Studios. Original art prints and handcrafted fine jewelry. For more information, go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/AdolphinaStudios.

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Thursday, July 23, 2020

No Holds Barred: Steve Nelson on Shootfighting, Sambo, and Wrestling 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with Steve Nelson, who fought in and ran the Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation (USWF). In the 1990s, the USWF ran a series of successful events, mainly in Amarillo, Texas, using shoot wrestling rules which allowed open-handed strikes, submissions, kicks, and knees.

Steve Nelson wrestled at Oklahoma State, won two world silver medals in sambo, had a judo background, came from a family of pro wrestlers, and fought in MMA. He was also the longtime head wrestling coach for both the boys' and girls' wrestling teams at Palo Duro High School in Amarillo.

We spoke with him by phone Wednesday.

Some two decades after USWF stopped running shows, there has been a recent revival of interest in it.

"All of a sudden we've got this revival of the USWF. People are wanting to write books on the USWF, write books on Evan Tanner," he said, referring to the USWF heavyweight champion, Pancrase Neo-Blood tournament winner, and later UFC middleweight champion.

"Gong Magazine just did a six-page layout on myself and the USWF in Japan," he added.

While he finds it "hard to believe" that so many people are interested in a fight company that ceased to exist so long ago, he did offer some insight into why USWF remains intriguing to people.

"I think a lot of people miss it," he said, "and it might have to do with some of the stuff that's going on now and how the USWF was handled. We tried to be a company with class, and you don't always see that in today's companies. That's how we tried to handle the USWF because I knew all those guys were role models."

While there are no plans to revive the USWF or its style, he is interested in recent developments in the sport of sambo.

"I'm surprised that sambo hasn't grown more than it has," he said, especially in the U.S. That, however, may start to change. He noted that there are three sambo schools in the Arlington-Dallas, Texas, area, with plans to establish a professional sambo league. If problems such as lack of funding and the need for more sambo schools are resolved, "I think the United States would be in a very high level of everybody else if all this was funded," he noted.

We also discussed more on the history and legacy of USWF, the many obstacles to sambo being included on the Olympic program, and much more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is available at Google Play Music.

Also, No Holds Barred is available at Apple Podcasts.

No Holds Barred is also available on Spotify.

You can also listen to No Holds Barred via Stitcher through iOS or Android devices or on the web here.

The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

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

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

LenneHardt.com, the home of Lenne Hardt, the legendary MMA and sports announcer, voice actor, singer, actress, and comedienne. Lenne is also known for her jazz vocals with her Lenne Hardt Jazz Cabaret Band. For more information, to book her, or to order a custom message from her, go to LenneHardt.com.

Skullz Combat Sports Equipment, creator of the patented Skullz Double-End Bag, is the perfect punching bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve speed, distance, and timing skills. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. Skullz Combat Sports Equipment - Advancing combat sports equipment for the next generation of fighters. For more information, go to https://instagram.com/skullzcombatsports and https://facebook.com/skullzcombatsports.

Adolphina Studios. Original art prints and handcrafted fine jewelry. For more information, go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/AdolphinaStudios.

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Friday, July 10, 2020

No Holds Barred: Chris Baldwin on Training in the Pandemic, All Black Lives Matter, and Athlete Activism 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with Chris Baldwin AKA the Fight Goddess.

We spoke with her by phone Thursday.

With the coronavirus pandemic still raging and cases of Covid-19 continuing to surge in many places in the U.S., including in Southern California, she has had to change how she conducts personal training.

"I had a mobile training business for the last 12 years here in Los Angeles, and that business came to a screeching halt once the lockdown order came from my Governer Newsom," she said, a lockdown, by the way, which she supports. She thus has had to shift gears and focus more on her Skullz punching bag product.

"Now I've had to do more virtual training," mainly outside, she said.

"It's taken a toll. It's definitely mentally, physically, emotionally, it's definitely taken a toll."

While the pandemic has yet to subside, and there are still a record number of new cases in the U.S. almost every day now, the fight against racism, white supremacy, and police murders and brutality has mushroomed to all parts of the U.S. and around the world. One of the largest and most important of these marches and rallies took place on June 14 under the slogan "All Black Lives Matter," which she attended. The march focused on both the Black Lives Matter movement as well as the fight for LGBTQ rights.

The "All Black Lives Matter" slogan was chosen for an "emphasis even not on LGB, but on the T. So our transgender family members are being murdered, our brothers and sisters are being murdered every single day at an astronomical rate."

While some in this growing Black Lives Matter movement exclude transgender people or even are offensive to them, she opposes such a stance.

"We can't have that," she said. "Your values, our values need to be aligned with unity."

We also discussed the call by unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua for athletes to form a union to fight racism; the recent formation of the Players Alliance by over 100 Black current and former pro baseball players to fight racism and white supremacy inside and outside of baseball; how viable are sports without fans present; the controversy around a proposed Tyson Fury-Anthony Joshua fight being arranged by accused gangster Daniel Kinahan; and much, much more.

(Photo by Marna Deitch.)

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is available at Google Play Music.

Also, No Holds Barred is available at Apple Podcasts.

No Holds Barred is also available on Spotify.

You can also listen to No Holds Barred via Stitcher through iOS or Android devices or on the web here.

The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

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

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

LenneHardt.com, the home of Lenne Hardt, the legendary MMA and sports announcer, voice actor, singer, actress, and comedienne. Lenne is also known for her jazz vocals with her Lenne Hardt Jazz Cabaret Band. For more information, to book her, or to order a custom message from her, go to LenneHardt.com.

Skullz Combat Sports Equipment, creator of the patented Skullz Double-End Bag, is the perfect punching bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve speed, distance, and timing skills. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. Skullz Combat Sports Equipment - Advancing combat sports equipment for the next generation of fighters. For more information, go to https://instagram.com/skullzcombatsports and https://facebook.com/skullzcombatsports.

Adolphina Studios. Original art prints and handcrafted fine jewelry. For more information, go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/AdolphinaStudios.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2020

No Holds Barred: Declan Hill on the Kinahan Gang and Boxing's Latest Scandal 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with investigative journalist, academic, consultant, and expert on match-fixing and corruption in international sports, Declan Hill.

He is also an associate professor in the Investigations Department at the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences at the University of New Haven in New Haven, Connecticut.

We spoke with him by phone Tuesday.

The news broke in June that Daniel Kinahan would be playing a key role in arranging a potential heavyweight title unification fight between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, the two top fighters in the division and holders between them of all the major belts. But not many outside Kinahan's native Ireland knew who he was or his history.

Soon stories appeared in the Irish media explaining that Kinahan, now based in Dubai, headed a notorious international gang which engaged in drug and arms smuggling. Officials from the then-Irish prime minister to members of rival Irish political parties all condemned his attempt to rebrand himself as simply a boxing promoter or advisor. Many in the U.K. media as well as a few in the boxing media then reported on this story. Even so, Kinahan continued to receive praise from Tyson Fury, Bob Arum, and other prominent boxing people. While Kinahan has since been said to be withdrawing from publicly engaging in boxing negotiations, his ties to many fighters remain, at best, unclear.

"This story is like something out of Hollywood, and I have absolutely no doubt that there will be a movie made of this at some point," said Declan Hill.

"This is the Kinahan Gang and it's their long-standing blood feud with the Hutch Gang."

We discussed in depth the Irish government's long battle against these feuding drug gangs, the role of the media in this story, how this fits in with boxing's long history of association with organized crime, and much, much more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is available at Google Play Music.

Also, No Holds Barred is available at Apple Podcasts.

No Holds Barred is also available on Spotify.

You can also listen to No Holds Barred via Stitcher through iOS or Android devices or on the web here.

The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

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

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

LenneHardt.com, the home of Lenne Hardt, the legendary MMA and sports announcer, voice actor, singer, actress, and comedienne. Lenne is also known for her jazz vocals with her Lenne Hardt Jazz Cabaret Band. For more information, to book her, or to order a custom message from her, go to LenneHardt.com.

Skullz Combat Sports Equipment, creator of the patented Skullz Double-End Bag, is the perfect punching bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve speed, distance, and timing skills. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. Skullz Combat Sports Equipment - Advancing combat sports equipment for the next generation of fighters. For more information, go to https://instagram.com/skullzcombatsports and https://facebook.com/skullzcombatsports.

Adolphina Studios. Original art prints and handcrafted fine jewelry. For more information, go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/AdolphinaStudios.

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