No Holds Barred: Jeff Monson on Grappling, MMA, and His Future

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with MMA fighter and two-time ADCC champion Jeff Monson (

While he will be 45 years old in January, Jeff Monson is still very active as an athlete. He will be competing in a professional no-gi grappling match at the Berkut Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu event November 21 at the Dynamo sports hall in Moscow, Russia. Next is a two-day seminar in Smolensk, Russia, November 23 and 24. He also plans to lead another seminar in January 2016 in Odessa, Texas, and continue fighting in MMA events as well.

We spoke with Jeff Monson by phone Thursday.

Although he has fought in over 80 professional MMA fights,  his first love is grappling. However, as many grapplers and wrestlers like Jeff have found out, the financial realities have led them to focus on MMA rather than grappling or wrestling.

"I couldn't make a living doing it," he said. But "I like grappling a lot more" than MMA.

"I love grappling," he said, but for him, fighting "is a job." And it is a job where he knows he is going to get hurt: "I'm going to get punched, I'm going to get kicked."

Thus, "I'd rather grapple somebody. But I did it [MMA] because I have to to support my family."

At his age, however, especially after some brutal knockouts and fighting on a number of unsanctioned MMA shows mainly in Russia, his emphasis is starting to shift back to his roots of grappling. In fact, he said he hopes to open a school in Russia and set up a Russian grappling team to compete at international grappling events.

We also discussed how he believes that he has not suffered any serious head or brain injuries from fighting, his plans to conduct seminars on a more regular basis, the potential in various countries for grappling to succeed as a televised spectator sport, and much, much more.

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