Gerren Nixon’s mission is to bring a little life and diversity to an age-old sport.
Nixon, 44, of Wyandanch, formed the Urban Arm Wrestling League, a company that sponsors tournaments and promotes the sport on Long Island, in 2019.
Nixon’s interest in the standoff began after watching Sylvester Stallone’s movie “Over the Top” in the 1980s. With a background in musical event planning, he began to think several years ago. how music and entertainment could breathe new life into sport.
The showdown is popular around the world, especially in Eastern Europe, but it remains a largely underground event in the United States, with few sponsors and no television coverage of the tournaments, Nixon said.
“He needs a new injection of energy,” he said. “Hip-hop has become the number one culture in the world. I started to think about how to integrate this demographic into this sport.”
Nixon uses DJs and other entertainment at his events and tries to recruit young people from Long Island, but he wants his league to go beyond bringing spectators and participants – called “pullers” – to the sport.
“I wanted to make sure there is a message behind what we’re doing,” Nixon said.
A portion of the proceeds from his events are donated to a charity and scholarship fund that he established for students at Wyandanch High School.
There are seven more in his company, and Nixon now forms a competitive team, the Prime Time Pullers. Her company has hosted four events and Nixon hopes to host a women’s tournament in the spring. He said he recognized the need to “help the sport evolve” after seeing only a handful of women show up to take part in his event in October.
Leslie Jn.Pierre, 46, of Wyandanch, a longtime athlete, attended the tournament as a spectator.
“Like a lot of people, you still have that competitive motivation, but you get older and you think there is nothing for you,” she said. “I didn’t expect to fall in love with arm wrestling. But it’s more than just arm wrestling, it’s a family.”
Jn.Pierre, who now works for Nixon, said girls are often not encouraged to participate in “strong” sports. “I think there just needs to be a change of mind,” she said. “Anyone can do this and you don’t have to be young or male. All you need is a table.”
Nixon said there are very few colored shooters and he believes he is the sole owner of the black arm wrestling league. He said he received negative comments about his run, but that they were more than made up for by the support he received from the arm wrestling community.
Jn.Pierre, who is also black, said that sport has never been “culturally directed at us”.
“If you don’t see people who are like you, you will automatically walk away, whether it’s because you’re a girl or because of your ethnicity or race,” she said.
Nixon said he was working to create a network of local teams to compete across the country.
“It’s a dream of mine to one day be able to crown a local Long Island champion,” he said.
FIGHTING RULES BY
Competitors must keep one foot in contact with the ground at all times.
Competitors must keep their non-pulling hand in contact with the stake.
Competitors should rest their competitor’s elbow on the elbow, align their shoulders and present an open hand.
The angle of the arm in competition should make the fingers point towards their opponent.
The referee will center his hands on the table. The strap between the thumb and forefinger of each competitor’s hand will be level, tight and tight.
The hands of the competitors must be palm to palm, flat against each other and without separation, to the satisfaction of the referee. The referee must be able to see the knuckles of the competitors.
Source: World Arm Wrestling League