Skip to main content

The Arm Wrestling Match On Live Television Did Not Go As Planned

A live broadcast of Australian television’s The Footy Show seemed to have the testosterone teeming steadily as two former professional rugby players faced off in a bit of arm wrestling. The contest seemed competitive up until the point it quickly came to an abrupt end, complete with the sound of an excruciating crunch, followed by the imagery of a man’s arm bending in unnatural ways. Watch the clip below with extreme caution!

As you can see, this demonstration of wrist-wrangling on live television between retired rugby stars Ben Ross and Wendell Sailor provided a bit of a shocking moment for television audiences down under. Ross actually sustained a broken humerus, ripping his bicep off the bone. As the University of South Australia’s Dr. John Arnold tells Australia’s ABC, the injury Ross sustained occurred due to the elbow being in a fixed position as a twisting motion transfered all the torque between the two competitors directly on to the humerus. It was an exceptional accident, but considering the amount of pressure exerted by those two hulking hosses, it’s a wonder that this stuff doesn’t occur more often.

It may have seemed like a pointless stunt, serving as the drunken culmination of an evening that saw many-a-pint of Foster’s pounded. However, the intentions with the program’s zany new segment, “The Iron Arm Challenge,” were apparently more benevolent than they might have seemed to the uninitiated viewer. It turns out this contest was designed to raise money for the Men of League, a charity foundation that provides financial assistance for families of the rugby community. So, if the cringe-inducing sight of an arm snapping like popsicle against a countertop managed to raise money, it may yet have served its purpose.

The great, machine-gun-toting thespian, Sylvester Stallone once taught us in the 1987 cinematic masterpiece Over the Top that arm wrestling can be a convenient way to settle disagreements, like, say over the custody of one’s son. However, for Ross and Sailor, this contest’s charity-intended results may have either been tainted or magnified significantly from this gruesome incident. Sure, getting one’s arm snapped is not exactly an ideal way to raise money. However, it created an increasingly viral moment that has attracted eyes across the globe from a personal standpoint and for the Men of League Charity. So, it seems this retired rugby player may have taken a belated hit for the team.

See more

Ross also responded to the incident, saying:

See more

Thankfully, despite the gruesome injury, Ross quickly found himself back in good spirits not long afterwards. As this Twitter interaction above between the two competitors proves, there’s no hard feelings and Ross is already on the road to recovery. However, going further from this point on in his life, I can only imagine that a good, old-fashioned game of Rock-Paper-Scissors will firmly replace arm wrestling in Ross’ competitive repertoire.