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Carlos Condit

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VERBAL TAP (Episode 52) on GSP's Retirement

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Raf's Recollection |If you know me you know I'm willing to speak at great length about the sport of MMA.  But it turns out, not everyone is as fanatical about the sport as we are (shocking, I know).  So while I often cherish opportunities to talk shop with co-workers, I also have to do my best to monitor when I talk about it a little too much (it happens).

Which is why I was more than a little surprised that during a recent lunch with a colleague here at NBC, we somehow got around to the topic of the UFC (I didn't bring it up this time, promise).  More specifically, about the retirement of Georges St. Pierre.

Of course, I was talking to a Canadian.

Did I mention that?  That's apparently a thing over there.

Last week, in one overtly long (and ridiculously clunky) press conference, GSP announced his hiatus from the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.  And only days after that press conference, here I was sharing the same kind of bummed out conversation about potentially never seeing GSP fight in an octagon again with a guy who would describe himself as a casual fan at best.

Perhaps it was just his Canadian-ness or extreme politeness (again, Canadian-ness), but it was very refreshing to see the riptide of the announcement extended further than rabid fans of the sport like you and me.  Obviously, I asked if the flags in his homeland were set to half-mast in honor of the announcement (he didn't exactly say "no" about that).

Still, it was a nice surprise to find a real life extension to the conversation happening all over the MMA social media-sphere (I just made that up).

Gone were the jokes about finishing fights, talks about ducking super fights or even that whole weird multiple drug testing fiasco.

No, for a day, it meant both the casual and rabid UFC fan had to seriously think of what the sport of MMA would look like without GSP.  The same guy oft-criticized for taking matches to a ("boring") decision and who mucked up the Welterweight division was now suddenly missed for some reason.  It's almost as if he was some kind of dominant superstar or something.

Despite a reluctance to explicitly associate the word "retirement" to this particular case (GSP heavily refrained from using it and mentioned the possibility of coming back in the near future), the out pour of support for GSP has been truly been exceptional to read.

We've had (and will continue to have fun) at the expense of GSP  here at the show, but we've always respected the guy.  There are few people who have left the impression that the enigmatic French Canadian has in the UFC.  Over the years, GSP has handled himself as a true professional, gentleman, and, most of all, martial artist, and should be commended accordingly.

I, for one, am not quite convinced we've seen the last of GSP in the octagon, but if UFC 168 was truly the last time, we wish nothing but the best for the champ and thank him for his years of great fights and sportsmanship.

Fans know that championships come and go, but dignified champions who share their love of sport through honor and conduct are all too rare.

Just remember all that when you hear us re-create the whole 45 minute press conference into a digestible 7 minute appetizer on the podcast.

We kid, but it's all outta love GSP.

But Wait There's More

Not only do we talk about UFC on FOX 9 (and how little Kev remembers of it), but I also mention how much I hate being sick when I want to train.

Am I right here, people?

Few things are worse than wanting to go to jiu-jitsu, but not wanting to get everyone sick.  We talk a little bit about how much that pisses me off and then spend the rest of our time discussing what GSP's departure means for the rest of the Welterweight division (note: we recorded this one before they announced what effed up thing they're doing to Carlos Condit, but we're gonna talk about that on next week's podcast).

So give a listen and let us know what you think, pals.

 

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VERBAL TAP (Episode 50) with Carlos Condit

[buzzsprout episode='134707' player='true'] Raf's Reflection | I don’t think you could have scripted a better 50th episode. This may go down as one of our finest shows.

Granted, I’m still equal parts amazed and baffled that we’ve made it to 50 episodes (I’m amazed how the time has flown by; baffled at how I haven’t killed Kevin yet).

But when you consider that this time last year, Kevin and I started this podcast talking about a Carlos Condit fight (where Kevin debuted his now long-documented love affair with all things Carlos Condit), it’s truly remarkable that the man himself would grant us some time to talk with him just days before his upcoming fight against Matt Brown.

And really, our interview is a testament to Carlos Condit’s fearlessness.

Kev and Carlos

While most people tend to keep a distance from their stalkers, Carlos actually indulges Kevin’s love affair. Perhaps it’s because Kevin isn’t exactly a threat to him in the slightest. Perhaps it’s the way one typically carries themself when they are nicknamed a “Natural Born Killer.” Perhaps it’s because he’s a badass muay thai skills that could render the both of us extinct in a single strike.

Who can say?

Nonetheless, Carlos proved to be a great sport, answered a series of questions from our very own obsessed fan-boy, and managed to give us one of our best interviews ever in the process.

But That’s Not All...

What better way to end our coverage of all things Ultimate Fighter than to bring on BOTH newly crowned winners from Season 18? That’s right, we’ve got both Chris Holdsworth and Julianna Pena.

We ask both Chris and Julianna about their fights, their celebrations, and get some great insight into what it actually feels like to win the Ultimate Fighter.

But what’s impressive about Chris and Julianna is the fact that they were both willing to squeeze us in just hours after winning their respective fights.

Holdsworth manages to find the time to talk with us moments before catching a flight at the airport, while Julianna fends off “dying” to call in to the podcast.

As two people whose UFC careers are about to take-off, we couldn’t be more grateful they carved out the time to talk with us (again) during what must be one of the craziest (and most significant) weeks of their lives.

We’re truly honored to share in their celebration and cannot wait for what lies in store next for these two very talented fighters.

He’s Baaaaack

No Verbal Tap milestone would be complete without a visit from our good friend Bubba McDaniel.

Here at Verbal Tap, Bubba is family. Not only is he an engaging UFC fighter with a great sense of humor, but he’s fiercely loyal and has always made time for us.  When the three of us get on a call together, it’s like listening to three longtime friends gather round to drink some beers and shoot the shit.

And while we are now the show that’s lucky enough to book great guests like Carlos, Chris, and Julianna, Bubba was actually the first guest to come on the show. Last season, Bubba caught wind of our Ultimate Fighter mockery, thought it was funny, and actually offered to be on our podcast.

Me N BubbaAt the time, we weren’t really doing interviews on the show (mostly because we weren’t entirely sure we had the capability of doing so). And really, up until that time, we were complacent having me do impressions of all the fighters. However, a real fighter provided even more comic possibilities—especially if they proved a good sport with being made fun of.

But we did some research, changed some audio settings, and boom, the rest is history.  After Bubba came on, the game changed for us.  Suddenly other fighters became interested in coming on our show as well.

So when you talk "gold standard" here at the show, there’s a reason Bubba is the first person that always comes to mind—and why he’s always welcome on our show.

Messages

While our guest booking for this episode turned out to be pretty spectacular, one of the things that makes this episode so unique is the mix of well-wishes and trash talk we received from some of our favorite guests over the past year.

Kev and I had long been considering the idea of opening up a voice mailbox where we could get some friends of the podcast to leave us messages. When it came time to put the 50th episode together, we figured we’d put out a note to some of our former guests and see what happened.

The result is magical.

It really ties the episode together in a way we couldn’t have expected. When we reached out to folks, we didn’t really provide them with any guidelines; we just asked if they wouldn’t mind leaving us a message for our 50th episode—fully expecting them to go all Comedy Central Roast on us.

Andrew Correa wears one!

And there is plenty of fun at our expense. But there was a surprising amount of sincere congrats and appreciation for the show that we do—which is really awesome to hear.  We’re humbled by our friends’ support and we thank each and every one of the guys who called in to leave us a message.

[Now, don’t get too used to me saying nice things. I’m going back to being the same asshole you’ve all come to know and put up with shortly.]

Although, I will close with this.

I didn’t get to hear this podcast until late Wednesday night (after a marathon weekend of playing host to family guests and writing/producing another installment of my own Late Night talk show) right before going to sleep.

As I put in my headphones to listen to the podcast, I actually found myself getting lost in the very show I had helped to produce and create. Between all of the great interviews, the fantastic messages from our friends, and even a solid performance from both me and Kevin this week, I realized that we truly are making the podcast we always imagined possible.

VERBALTAPSo thank you to all of you who have been here for these 50 special episodes. Whether you’re a former guest, long time listener or even some random internet troll, thanks for checking us out.

And to those of you who are new: Welcome, we’re just getting started.

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VERBAL TAP (Episode 37) with Artechoke Media

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Raf's Recollection | If you practice Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the meme over on the right hand side here pretty much says it all.

As much as we want to go around and spread to the gospel of BJJ to our friends and family, there are some who—despite our best efforts—will never care about the "gentle art."

I know it hurts to hear. I know that it's a lot to take in all at once.  But it's better that it comes from someone who cares.

The realization that some people will never care about a sport that you and I love so much is a fact of life that stings and sometimes causes us great emotional strife (stay with me here, it's going to get better.  Promise).

Our guests on Episode 37 of Verbal Tap know this struggle all-too-well.  Marshal D. Carper and Darryl Cozza are two BJJ practitioners who wrote an uproarious eBook entitled, Don't Wear Your Gi to the Bar, that teaches you how to survive everyday social settings while still preserving your inner BJJ nerd.

And in Verbal Tap first, I'm gonna go ahead and put this as the very first book to receive MUST READ status from our podcast (calm down, we're not starting a book club yet or anything).

Aside from an obvious love of sport, there's a real wit in this eBook that accurately describes the losing battle that is explaining the culture, beauty, and art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu to people who just can't get past why you like dressing up in pajamas and choking your friends.

Wanna know the most insane part?

These guys aren't even charging you a single dollar to read it?  Simply follow this link and download it from their website.  All for Free.99.

Don't Wear Your Gi to the BarAll the guys ask in return is that you share the book with your training partners and other BJJ enthusiasts (and maybe even drop a five star review on sites like Amazon if you dig it).  Also, for you non-cheapskates who like to promote authors on the independent circuit (like a real American), there's also an option to buy a version of their book.

While the book is a great display of subversive humor, there's more to Marshal and Darryl than well-written jokes and Game of Thrones/BJJ metaphors.

They're not just funny, their BJJ knowledge is legit.

Artechoke MediaAs we discover in the podcast, the eBook is only the first in a long line of instructional BJJ videos and articles from the pair.  Recently, the duo have launched their own online venture entitled, ArtechokeMedia.com, a website that's designed to promote "the organic growth of jiu-jitsu thought, theory, and technique."  The guys were nice enough to send a preview of their next project to Kev and I during the podcast--and all we can say is that you all are in for a treat when they launch it in the coming months.

It's truly spectacular.

And, for me, that's what made this booking so great.  While we do our fair share of talking with pro fighters and MMA personalities, at our core Kev and I are major BJJ enthusiasts.  When you hear these two explain the rationale behind the website (they want to shine a light on the unsung heroes of BJJ such as coaches, instructors, and mentors who may not necessarily be on the covers of magazines, but who make significant contributions to the sport), it's hard not to do the same and give a voice to two individuals who, themselves, are doing exactly that through their humorous writing and insightful videos.

Maybe that's why we like the sport so much.  There's a camaraderie in jiu-jitsu that extends beyond the walls of a gym or a dojo, independent of affiliation and ranks, that consistently introduces us to people like this.  Even though we have never physically met Marshal or Darryl, our overall hope of growing and sharing the sport is one and the same and Kev and I would be down to roll with them when/if the opportunity presented itself.*

Of course, cool people like us already know the caliber of folks who train BJJ.  Even that smug, appropriately cast "Gatsby" Leo DiCaprio meme knows the deal.

So check 'em out on our podcast and while you wait for the episode to download, enjoy Marshal and Darryl at their finest.

*However, if when I actually meet them they're a couple of d-bags, I reserve the right to take all of this back

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