Advertisement

If you Google the name Art Davie, you will quickly learn that he is one of the co-founders of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Yet this is not the Brooklyn-born businessman’s only claim to fame. Some 15 years after helping to create the UFC, Davie took a stab at creating another combat sport. His second combat sports brainchild was called XARM, which is pronounced “ex-arm” (rather than “zarm” or “ksarm”).

XARM arm-wrestling

XARM is a fusion of arm-wrestling and mixed martial arts. To be perfectly frank, it is as ridiculous as it sounds. Yet there was a time, not all that long ago, when Davie was doing everything he could to bring XARM into the combat sports limelight, and with a little luck, surpass the success of the UFC.

Here’s how it all went down:

Rules of XARM

XARM arm-wrestling

XARM was conceived back in 2008, at a lunch meeting somewhere in Seattle. During this meeting, Davie voiced his desire to get back into the mixed martial arts industry, but admitted that any potential venture would not be able to compete with the UFC without millions of dollars in backing—something he didn’t have. So, Davie did the only logical thing and set out to create a new sport.

He landed on a combination of arm-wrestling and MMA, and after briefly considering the name WTF—not kidding, it was supposed to stand for “World Tethered Fighting” —he and his partners landed on XARM.

XARM arm-wrestling
XARM arm-wrestling

With this new sport created and named, it was then time to hash out the rules:

  • The two combatants, the XARM team decided, would be tethered together by the hands, over a 28 inch × 16 inch (71 cm × 41 cm) table of an adjustable height.
  • When the match began, they would be allowed to attempt to pin their opponent’s arm—as in a traditional, schoolyard arm-wrestling match—or, if they preferred, attempt to knock their opponent out with their free arm, elbow, or even their legs.
  • Each bout would be made up of three, one-minute rounds. Pinning an arm meant the round was won. Scoring a knockout meant the fight was won. This meant that, if one contestant pinned his opponent’s arm in rounds one and two, his opponent would have to score a knockout in the third, or lose the fight on points.

From there, Davie began the recruitment process. A sport is nothing, after all, without athletes.

XARM Arm-Wrestling Competitions

XARM arm-wrestling

The first crop of XARM competitors were a weird cluster of washed-up mixed martial artists, former strongmen, and arm-wrestlers who were only known in the tight-knit world of competitive arm-wrestling. Somehow, however, XARM continued to make progress on its march toward mainstream acceptance.

It’s difficult to say when the climax of XARM’s strange story really occurred. Perhaps it was in January of 2009, when Davie took to his blog to try to convince the world that the sport of MMA had lost its way, and that his bizarre fusion sport was the logical heir to the UFC’s throne.

 “When I created the UFC, the boxing community, and martial artists from karate to taekwondo said it was too brutal, and a freak show….a “unicorn sport”,” Davie said on his blog, which was deleted years ago, and now has a 403 error message for an epitaph. “Now some in MMA are taking shots at my new sport, XARM – saying it’s too extreme. Oh, how history repeats itself! What XARM does is take the best three minutes of any MMA fight – removes the ground game…and gives fans what they want – raw, uncensored, nonstop action! Get off the ground and step up to the table.”

XARM’s End

XARM arm-wrestling

Perhaps the sport’s climax was later in 2009, when XARM crowned its first heavyweight champion with a contest that, like all XARM matches, was little more than two men, swinging wildly with their free arm while leaning backwards to avoid being hit.

Perhaps XARM’s heyday occurred in 2012 when, having failed to land any kind of meaningful, long-term television deal, Davie and co. inked a surprisingly respectable partnership with online giant Machinima to produce high-quality, online XARM content—all of which has since been wiped from the net.

XARM arm-wrestling
XARM arm-wrestling
XARM arm-wrestling

Perhaps XARM’s climax occurred later in 2012, when it signed notable UFC light heavyweight James Irvin to its roster—though Irvin would lose his debut, being pinned by Fred Steen in rounds one and two, and failing to knock him out in the third.

Whenever the crescendo in XARM’s brief story occurred, it is now safe to say that the story is over.

XARM’s end went unnoticed. It was never eulogized by any notable members of the combat sports community. It was not inducted into any sports hall of fame. XARM simply posted to its official Facebook page in 2013, saying that it had been well received at the MIP-TV television and digital content market in Cannes, and was never heard from again.

XARM Facebook
Advertisement
Comments
Read more like this