Dear Friend and Fellow Athlete,
Imagine putting your elbow down on the table to arm wrestle and then, BOOM! ...your opponent kicks you in the face! You won’t have to imagine this anymore since there is a new sport that combines arm wrestling with the brutality of mixed martial arts. If you haven’t seen full contact arm wrestling, then you’d better check this out!
I’ll admit - arm wrestling hasn’t exactly been the most popular sport for the past 2 decades. Sure they still show those arm wrestling competitions on ESPN (12?) from time to time, but by no means do people consider it a mainstream sport. I, on the other hand, still like arm wrestling and am one of those people who catches the bigger televised competitions when I get a chance. In fact, I’ve liked arm wrestling ever since the late 80’s when I saw Sylvester Stallone breaking arms in “Over the Top” (I know, corny).
In addition to being one of the world’s few arm wrestling fans, I have admittedly jumped on the mixed martial arts bandwagon and absolutely love this sport too. Whether it means catching a pay-per-view at a friends house or even throwing my own pay-per-view party, I do whatever it takes to watch UFC events each month.
So you can only imagine the excitement I felt when I found out about a sport called full contact arm wrestling. Yes, that’s right... there is a sport that combines all-out combat with arm wrestling. If you haven’t heard of full contact arm wrestling, let me catch you up to speed on it.
This brand new sport is the mastermind of Ultimate Fighting Championship creator Art Davie. Of course, back then it wasn’t known as the UFC, but rather a simple pay-per-view tournament that was created to find out which martial arts style was superior. Today, Davie’s brainchild has grown into the biggest fighting sport on the plant, and things only look to be getting bigger for mixed martial arts in general. With his latest creation, people are hoping that Davie can spawn the next big thing once again with full contact arm wrestling.
The actual organization for this sport is called XARM, and this is the world’s first competitive full contact arm wrestling venture. XARM sees contestants stand at a 34” to 46” table and grip each other’s hand in arm wrestling fashion. The big difference is that the competitors aren’t just looking to force their opponent’s arm on the table; they’re also looking to pummel the guy across the table by any means necessary.
To be more specific with the rules, XARM matches consist of 3, one minute rounds and the athletes are strapped to the table with a harness – so there’s no running away from this! XARM competitors are allowed to punch, kick, use submissions, and use chokeholds on their opponent. The winner is the first person to either: (1) pin their opponent’s arm to the table, (2) make their opponent submit, or (3) knock their opponent out.
If you want a clear picture as to what this sport is, watch the aforementioned film “Over the Top” and check out Bill Hurley’s cheap shot on Sylvester Stallone in the final match here.
Assuming you checked out the video, you can see that XARM is exactly as I’ve described it: mixed martial arts in an arm wrestling venue. Of course, those are just highlights, and you can’t get the full effect of this sport without watching a real match.
As you can see, the people who compete in XARM aren’t just a bunch of bar flies who are looking for a fight on the weekend. They’re athletes who come from various athletic backgrounds and can actually fight. And, as Andy Flennoy and his 710 pound bench press proved, it doesn’t matter how strong you are because anything can happen in full contact arm wrestling.
For those of you who would like to see a recap of all the fights in the first XARM Championship, look at this video. This video also includes the final match between Homer Moore and Ivan Gatoloai.
Now I don’t know how big XARM and the sport of full contact arm wrestling will get, but I certainly hope it remains relevant in some way. And I definitely don’t want it to go down the same road as the one-and-done YAMMA Pit Fighting that debuted and ended (all in the same night) two years ago.
So hopefully I’ll get to see my favorite blend of arm wrestling and mixed marital arts a lot more in the future. But if XARM doesn’t last, maybe I’ll just have to start some kind bodybuilding/mixed martial arts competition and see how that fares. My prediction right now is probably not too good...
Here's some links to discuss arm wrestling on the EliteFitness.com forums.
Yours in sport,