Wednesday, September 25, 2013

No Holds Barred: John Perretti on Ethics, Combat Sports, Injuries, and Weightlifting



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.

Following up on our previous episode of No Holds Barred with Stephan Kesting of Grapplearts, on MMA, brain damage, concussions, and CTE, we continued to explore these issues. We began with the ethical considerations about participating in and supporting combat sports with striking, where head injuries and brain trauma are necessary results of way those sports are conducted.

We spoke with John Perretti by phone Monday.

"I can keep it short and simple: If you get hit, you get hurt," he said. "And that's not a belief. That's not something that is just beloved of me. That's a fact."

He stated, as he has said before, that he is no longer interested in watching fighters "getting battered," even though he was one of the founders of modern MMA, came up with the basic framework of rounds, gloves, and weight classes used today, and even was using the term "mixed martial arts" as far back as the 1970s.

While he does watch some boxing and other dangerous sports like American football at times, he has lost interest in MMA.

"I just do not care to watch that anymore," he said. MMA, he added, with the growing emphasis on striking both standing and on the ground, has become "a lot more dangerous than it was" when many of us had argued that MMA was safer than boxing. And the main appeal of MMA these days, especially in the U.S., he said, is to those who are "attracted to the violence." It is turning more into a cult or even a "religion," he added.

In fact, partially due to his influence, his two teenage sons, Lucca and Enzo Perretti, no longer train in martial arts or play football, but instead focus on Olympic weightlifting. Both are among the top-ranked weightlifters in the U.S. in their age groups and weight classes.

Although weightlifting is widely practiced and respected, the Olympic weightlifting program is far from reaching its potential as a popular sport.

"Olympic weightlifting is really something that has been neglected," he said. While other sports are plagued with injuries about which we are understanding more and more each day, he said that according to medical studies, Olympic weightlifting has "the lowest injury rate of any sport in the United States of America."

Besides discussing the future of Olympic weightlifting in the U.S. and what it needs to do to popularize itself (hint: look at wrestling's continued failures), we discussed the potential for various styles of grappling and wrestling to grow, what the future holds for combat sports where there is head trauma, why he does not like to watch martial arts films, the great dangers to kids training in MMA, and much, much more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link doesn't work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on mobile phones and iPads through Stitcher.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

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

No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

ONE Fighting Championship. ONE FC is Asia's largest and most prestigious mixed martial arts event. ONE FC features the best Asian fighters and has initiated the ONE Asia Partnership Network, which includes most of the major MMA promotions and MMA gyms in Asia. For more information, go to their web site, at ONEFC.com.

Beezid.com - Penny Auctions. Your #1 source for exciting auction shopping and outstanding deals on just about anything! Top rated, most trusted auction site online. Where do you shop? Beezid.com - Penny Auctions.

American Top Team. Whether you're a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at http://americantopteam.com/.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

No Holds Barred: John Perretti On Why He Has Moved On

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.

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?

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link doesn't work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on mobile phones and iPads through Stitcher.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

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

No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

ONE Fighting Championship. ONE FC is Asia's largest and most prestigious mixed martial arts event. ONE FC features the best Asian fighters and has initiated the ONE Asia Partnership Network, which includes most of the major MMA promotions and MMA gyms in Asia. For more information, go to their web site, at ONEFC.com.

Beezid.com - Penny Auctions. Your #1 source for exciting auction shopping and outstanding deals on just about anything! Top rated, most trusted auction site online. Where do you shop? Beezid.com - Penny Auctions.

American Top Team. Whether you're a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at http://americantopteam.com/.

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.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Blast from the past.



Editor of The New York Times,

Given that I was the target of Senator McCain’s 1995 attack on Mixed
Martial Arts, not to mention the matchmaker, co-producer, and commentator for
Extreme Fighting and the matchmaker and color commentator for The Ultimate Fighting Championship, there are factual errors in Amy
Chozick’s article, “The Slugfest in the Executive Suite” that must
be corrected.  The New York State Athletic commission refused to sanction
Extreme Fighting’s 1995 bout at the Brooklyn Armory due to what the
chairman at the time, former boxing great Floyd Paterson, claimed were
concerns about the fighters’ safety. Mixed Martial Arts is NOT the
blending of styles into a whole like Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do or my own
style Tao Jutsu Do.  Rather, it is the mixing and matching of different
disciplines against each other.  MMA was not a “Free form bloodfest”, the
UFC was. Weight classes, gloves, referees stoppage, even the term "mixed martial arts," were my inventions and part of Extreme
Fighting from its first inception in 199?  Historian Peter Maguire
put it best when he wrote, “The UFC’s blatant historical revisionism
would make Stalin proud. John Perretti will soon be air brushed out of
the photographs.”While the Zuffa brothers and their
mouthpiece Dana White deserve great credit for turning MMA into a very
lucrative business venture, sadly, they have followed the example of pro boxing under Don King. When one promoter owns the fighters, he also owns the results.

John Perretti

To the editor of The New York Times...



Editor

Given that I was the target of Senator McCain’s 1995 attack on Mixed
Martial Arts, not to mention the matchmaker, co-producer, and commentator for
Extreme Fighting and the matchmaker and color commentator for The Ultimate Fighting Championship, there are factual errors in Amy
Chozick’s article, “The Slugfest in the Executive Suite” that must
be corrected.  The New York State Athletic commission refused to sanction
Extreme Fighting’s 1995 bout at the Brooklyn Armory due to what the
chairman at the time, former boxing great Floyd Paterson, claimed were
concerns about the fighters’ safety. Mixed Martial Arts is NOT the
blending of styles into a whole like Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do or my own
style Tao Jutsu Do.  Rather, it is the mixing and matching of different
disciplines against each other.  MMA was not a “Free form bloodfest”, the
UFC was. Weight classes, gloves, referees stoppage, even the term "mixed martial arts," were my inventions and part of Extreme
Fighting from its first inception in 199?  Historian Peter Maguire
put it best when he wrote, “The UFC’s blatant historical revisionism
would make Stalin proud. John Perretti will soon be air brushed out of
the photographs.”While the Zuffa brothers and their
mouthpiece Dana White deserve great credit for turning MMA into a very
lucrative business venture, sadly, they have followed the example of pro boxing under Don King. When one promoter owns the fighters, he also owns the results.

John Perretti

On Gangs...

I extend this to all my friends over the years who were or still are on the job.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQMK2TCx79U&feature=youtu.be

Monday, February 18, 2013

Mixed Martial Arts in America today

"If (t)he(y) survived (t)he(y) must have belonged to the section of society where money comes easily and goes easily, where ideas are in short supply, and where mystique of the leader(s) is the only form of ideology and excuses crime."

          Marguerite Duras, The War, A Memoir

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

International Olympic Committee Drops Wrestling

I am deeply distressed that a poorly promoted, majestic sport of intimate (combat) committal by unheralded athletes since the almost dawn of civilization has been removed from the Olympic club and the viewership of the world. Try if you will doing what you do while someone is trying to hurt you, not just gravity and a time clock, a thinking organism as gifted as you, opposite you, training as you have to conquer you. While the "Mixed Martial Arts"I helped birth, soars high, the wings of wax that hoist few to the podium in wrestling have suddenly disintegrated. The short (black) listing of wrestling is to now stand along side Karate and wushu to be continued as items needing further consideration. Tae Kwon Do had the political audacity to jump into the Olympic arena (during the Seoul Olympics) quite a long time after I had enough of horrible refereeing and geographic prejudice. I moved on. I like Igor Zinoviev missed the Olympics in my (Our) initial sport. As I told the U.S.A. wrestling fifteen years ago when co-producing The Contenders, "You guys better get on board, you are dinosaurs...you will lose everything, all your athletes to these new (then) sports." They did not back me, nor believe in my premonition. I feel for the committed athletes, not the organization. You insulated yourself and now have been cast adrift in your own Bermuda Triangle.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

My Last Five Months of Reading

  • Here
    Jonathan Littell, The Kindly Ones
    Absolutely the best novel I have read in ten years and the author’s first, translated from French. I read it front to back and again without stopping, like I did at the premier of Apocalypse Now, at the Zeigfield.
    Now for my research:
    Ian Kershaw, The End
    Gavan Daws, Prisoners of the Japanese
    H.R. McMaster, Dereliction of Duty
    Meyer, John Stryker, Across The Fence
    Geraghty Tony, Black Ops: The Rise of Special forces in the CIA, the SAS and Mossad
    Ronnau, Christopher, Blood Trails: The Combat Diary of a Foot Soldier in Vietnam
    Hoffman, Jon T., Chesty: The Story of Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller, USMC
    Feuer, A. B., Commando!: The M/Z Units Secret War against Japan
    Truong, Hoa Minh, The Dark Journey, Inside the Reeducation Camps of Viet Cong
    Cooper, Belton W., Death Traps
    Blehm, Eric, Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL team SIX
    Lane, Kerry L., Guadalcanal Marine
    Clarke, Johnnie, Guns Up
    Leckie, Robert, Helmet for my Pillow
    Hastings Max, Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945
    Carle, Glenn L., The Interrogator
    Rielly, Robin L., Kamikaze Attacks of WWII
    Smith, Jim; Mcconnell, Malcolm, The Last Mission
    Kershaw, Alex, The Liberator
    Bradley, Rusty; Maurer Kevin, The Lions Of Kandahar
    Peter Maguire, Law and War (A re-read)
    Burford, John, LRRP TEAM LEADER
    Harris, Sam, Lying
    Wiknik Jr., Arthur, Nam Sense
    Clausewitz, Carl von, On War-Volume 1
    Salecker, Gene Eric, Rolling Thunder against the Rising Sun
    Lau, G.J., Sitrep Negative
    Hillenbrand, Laura, Unbroken (Novel)
    Gold, Hal, Unit 731
    Junger, Sabastian, War
    Sever, Al, Xin Loi

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fifth Avenue

I usually ate breakfast at a place my mother ate when she was in her twenties before going to work as a legal secretary, (her shorthand was amazing to behold right up till the end). It was called Eisenberg’s Deli, on the west side of Fifth Avenue in the morning shade of the Flatiron Building. It was across from the park where my dogs would run wild during snow storms to chase rats that were driven out of their hiding places in the wire garbage “cans” to escape not all that fast in deep snow, kinda like reindeer, leaving blood trails as the dogs would kill one and bound off to another.

The award-winning English Bull Terrier, Teagan Clive, did not care at all if it was bitten -- its sole finishing hold was to crush skulls, and drag and wag its tail with animated glee while lining them up in the powder. The longer-legged pit, Twombly, had an advantage when navigating drifts and pushing heavy cans over with its massive chest and front legs. The herd instinct did not protect many rodents as it does fish on these moonlit nights, near the long ago forgotten baseball field.

Squeezing into the deli, past the cash register, at the counter stools in the long, narrow store, avoiding coats and coat hooks on your right, I only sat across from Phil, “The Hawaiian” pushing his black glasses up on his nose constantly, ordering the usual fried egg and yellow cheese on a well-toasted bialy and bitter coffee, adding your own milk. I was a regular, and even going back twenty years later and bald, I appeared there in front of him and all his famous head shots on the wall behind him. Without missing a beat, he looked up and said, “Hey kid, how have you been, the usual?” I brought my mother there once later in life to see if it was actually the place she frequented as a youngster and sure enough.

One day in 1979 at about 10:00 A.M., I am crossing 23rd Street and heading over to see Phil. A “bum” stops in front of me and says, “Hey, I know you.” I say, “No you don’t.” He, however, is really happy to see me in his torn, greasy overcoat and one or two matted dreadlocks. Again, “I know you, man.” And now he is blocking my progress, so I stop and say sarcastically, “OK, where do you know me from?” I thought this was just a soft con. He reaches out to shake my hand, all genuinely excited. I extended mine. The words came out, “You Paul Newman!” "No, I’m not," I said. Knowingly, he said, “Yes you damn well is, yessiree!” I moved to the right laughing and said again, “No, I’m not.” He put two hands up to my chest, all nervous and said really loud, “You cool hand Luke!”

I’m about two stores from shelter and he holds my sleeve and pleads with me to wait. I stop, this guy is having a big day in his mind so what else can happen. He says, “Please don’t move” So here I am abiding. “Mr. Newman, please don’t move.” He looks at me and is also looking across Fifth Avenue and it is three full lanes of traffic, and yells, “Leroy! Man, he don’t see me, Leroy!” I could just smell the coffee. “Leroy” again, and grabs me by the arm saying, “Please.” Sure enough I see a black guy in a red down jacket and I cannot really make out anything else descriptive about him, it was far. My guy says while pointing to my face, “Leroy, Leroy, who’s this?” Leroy tucks his head down a notch and looks at me for a half a second and yells back loudly, “That’s cool hand Luke!” He just grins and says, “See, I knew it!”

I lowered my eyes and shook my head side to side and gave him a buck. Only in New York.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Aesthetics and Physicality

To heal someone, it pays to know truly the intricate ways to hurt someone.

This process may have started with my systematic dismemberment of game for the table, the weekly foraging from age ten on into the white birch and pin oak, gypsy moth-infested young forest adjacent to abandoned farmland. I was the go-to kid every fall for the butchering of the white tail deer catch of the neighborhood and hunting partners of my father.

I was then reading of the surgeons of the Civil War and their ability to remove the mutilated appendages quickly due to their intimate knowledge of human anatomy, not by the primitive tools or lack of disinfectant. I went on to train weekly by osmosis with the great chiropractor, Lou Savas, in his recently sold brownstone on the upper west side of Manhattan island in my quest to stay repaired to grow as a fighter, while dating ballerinas, girls who also knew their bodies. I went on to teach a physical anatomy course and foundation drawing for ten years at the School of Visual Arts, and at my then-famous gym, Madison Avenue Muscle, on East 38th Street.

I cannot separate out part of my passion from the total. The spirit lives in the doing and the perfectionism of the task, regardless of the amount of pure physicality or mental focus needed.

I find my application of aesthetics within everything, a totally Shinto perspective. Becoming one of Gene LeBell’s original four black belts taught me even more about the separation of ligament, tendon, and bone from the wearer. I enjoyed the process.

Repairing others and myself was a specialty early on, and mother referred to me as "Doctor Quack, operating without a license." I immersed myself in nutrition and supplementation geared towards athletic performance enhancement and had hundreds of clients.

As General Patton said about what he loved most in life, "Fucking and fighting."

Friday, January 11, 2013

What exactly is a "Martist"?


“The Martist” is my coinage for the duality of the spirit of the martial and the aesthetic, a split if you will in interests within one human being. The artist preceded the pugilist and they have had a symbiotic relationship ever since.