“No Holds Barred: The Complete History of Mixed Martial Arts in America” is the definitive American history of MMA and its rapid rise in the sports and entertainment world. Armed with a recorder and a press pass to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, author Clyde Gentry III set out to tell the story of MMA in the late 1990s when the sport was barely treading water due to the political backlash that threatened to relegate the sport to smoky bars and venues typically reserved for tough-man competitions and low-level professional wrestling matches. Instead, MMA has become a billion-dollar business and has changed martial arts forever.
Clyde Gentry III has spent more than 10 years in the mixed martial arts field. After publishing the first edition of No Holds Barred in 2001, he became editor in chief of Ultimate Athlete, the first feature magazine on the sport. Over the years Gentry has worked behind the scenes in fight promotion, and regularly contributes to both TapouT and MMA Worldwide magazines. He lives in Dallas, Texas.
In conjunction with Triumph Books, we are pleased to introduce you to Mr. Gentry
and present to you this exclusive SJ interview…AND an opportunity to receive a FREE copy of his book…
SJ: Welcome to Sports Jabber, Clyde. First off…tell us a bit about yourself. I’m assuming you were a fan before covering the sport? What was it that got you interested in MMA as a fan? and how was the transition made from being a fan, to becoming somebody who covers the sport for a living?
CG III: I’ve always been fascinated by things eclectic. I’ve always loved the cinema and developed a special interest in martial arts movies. I became particularly fascinated with Jackie Chan movies, circa 1988. I eventually published a book on Mr. Chan in 1997. It was those movies, my training in Ju Jitsu, and my studying the life of Bruce Lee that got me pondering if the mixing of martial arts styles had potential as a major sport.
SJ: Ahhh…The great Bruce Lee! In your book, you emphasize that Bruce Lee’s book, “Tao of Jeet Kune Do” was influential for you. Tell us about that, please.
CG III: Lee made it his life’s work to find the integral link between traditional martial arts and the unpredictability of genuine hand-to-hand combat. Although he is most famous as a Kung Fu master in his movies, his book showcased his refusal to be constrained by any single style or method of combat. He preferred, instead, to keep an open mind, to adopt or adapt what worked and to reject what didn’t. As Dan Inosanto, Lee’s best known student, said, “Bruce was way ahead of his time”.
SJ: How close are we really to having MMA break into the mainstream? In the same way we think of the NFL and NBA as being mainstream.
CG III: We are VERY close! I like to use Dave Nelson’s definition of mainstream: “Mainstream is when your father and mother can talk about the same things as you can”. MMA is very close to that definition. It is already a worldwide sport, with the attraction of complete inclusion as there are no ethic vibes or constraints. Regardless of one’s race, creed, color, or heritage, if one has the skills & will, then one can compete and succeed in MMA.
SJ: Do you think we’ll ever see a major US promotion such as the UFC on network TV?
CG III: Actually, we already have…with “Saturday Night Fights” on CBS.
SJ: Go back, if you will, to your astute point about the worldwide interest on MMA. The UFC is reportedly looking at Japan for February. How likely is it that the UFC could succeed in that market?…given everything that has happened in the past with regards to the PRIDE purchase, and the current state of Japanese MMA.
CG III: Quite simply…The UFC is getting there. No question about it.
SJ: Why is it that we still don’t have any sort of developmental, or minor league MMA system here in the US?
CGIII: To the contrary…There are a number of developmental leagues and organizations. You just have to find them as that are nowhere near as prominent as the UFC, et al.
SJ: I’ve read your book and came away majorly impressed and so much more informed about the history of MMA. What was your motivation behind this book?
CG III: I wanted to capture the essence of the genesis of MMA…especially in America. I wanted to get people grounded in the history of the sport. There will surely be great new fighters arising of the next many years, however, the history of MMA is what it already is. I want this book to be THE capturing of & reference for that history. That’s one reason that I conducted over 120 interviews for this book.
SJ: Your book certainly is on target to accomplish your objectives. On behalf of Sports Jabber, Origato Gentry-San for taking the time to “sit down” & chat with us. I IMPLORE our members, subscribers, and friends to purchase your most-informative & enlightening book. It is available as indicated below*.
Now for the FREE book opportunity…
Simply make a comment about this interview, the book, Mr. Gentry III, or MMA in THIS thread. Everyone who does will have their names placed in a random drawing with the first name drawn will receiving a free copy of the book…a $16.95 value!
*NOTE: “No Holds Barred: The Complete History of Mixed Martial Arts in America” can be purchased via Triumph Books online… Amazon…or at bookstores.
Need pre-purchase information? Contact…
NOTE: Book prizes are donated by Josh Williams/Triumph Books