Session: connection failed

Being the Greatest Left-Handed Arm Wrestler of All Time by Sevan Matossian - CrossFit Journal

In HD Videos, Sports Applications

December 05, 2011

Video Article

Get to know Travis Bagent from his home in Shepherdstown, W.Va., to the Nemiroff World Cup table. Proclaimed the greatest left-handed arm wrestler of all time, Bagent was also the announcer at the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games and is a devoted father and coach.

Bagent won the 2005 Nemiroff World Cup wrestling right-handed but had never been back until this year. Starting in 2006, he began coaching youth football for his son, and the season overlapped with the arm-wrestling championship. In addition to coaching football, Bagent also coaches his football players, his own children and the local college soccer team in CrossFit.

This year, Bagent came back to face the 2010 Nemiroff World Cup champion, Denis Cyplenkov, who is also renowned for his right- and left-handed arm wrestling. According to Neil Pickup, founder of Arm Wars, Cyplenkov is known for his power, while Bagent is known for his speed.

“You’ve got the classic match-up potential here—it’s the boxer against the puncher,” Pickup says. Despite the success of these two arm wrestlers, Pickup chooses Andrey Pushkar of Ukraine to win the title based on his close finishes in the past.

Bagent talks strategy and prepares for the tournament. He’s confident.

“My left hand’s never went down to a foreigner, ever. If you weren’t born in North America, I’ve never even allowed you even one win left-handed,” he says. “There’s a lot of them looking, you know, forward to seeing me fall.”

When arms are locked up and the contest starts, Bagent competes in his characteristically colorful style against the best in his sport.

30min 25sec

HD file size: 1.08 GB
SD wmv file size: 377 MB
SD mov file size: 322 MB

Please note: These files are larger than normal Journal videos. For smoother viewing, please download the entire file to your hard drive before watching it (right-click and choose Save Link As...).

Additional video: Arm-Wrestling Technique With Travis Bagent.

Free Download


25 Comments on “Being the Greatest Left-Handed Arm Wrestler of All Time”


Olly Goddard wrote …

That was pretty cool to watch! I hope Travis comes back and wins it! Seems like an awesome dude!


wrote …

Love that guy! Travis is the man.


wrote …

Travis, if you're reading this you better train your ass and redeem yourself next year.


wrote …

Good video. Bad outcome. 2012....get back to it!


wrote …

you got this travis!!!!!


wrote …

What an idiot


Gabriel Haas wrote …

Awesome! It's like the sequel to 'Pulling John'. Shorter sequel mind you.


wrote …

Winning is awesome, sure, but I'm much less interested in who wins the Games on a given year (for example) than I am in people who fight their way back year after year. Seeing videos of athletes with BIG hearts and a passion for their sport, who don't always win, sends an important message about hard work and courage.

Travis, love the passion. You'll be back. No doubt.


wrote …

Perfect example of why the rest of the world hates Americans.


replied to comment from patrick herrick

HI Patrick,

Travis is the most popular armwrestler in the sport. The international community, especially in Europe have a deep affection for Travis. People appreciate his bravado.

At live engagements, Travis is very approachable. Travis signs every autograph, takes photos and chats with every fan that engages him. He didn't just pose for photos in Poland, he asks people their names, talks to them about their life and gives strangers his complete attention.

He is rare in his ability to have an abundance of confidence and a profound humility, wrapped in one man.


wrote …

I NEVER saw anyone so insecure hide this hard behind his big mouth, ever.

Perfect example of the stereotypical American.

I'm happy no one at the CF games acts like this.

And I'm not proud of what I'm going to say next. I'm happy he lost.


wrote …



wrote …

Yeah, he definitely doesn't represent the whole CrossFit modest attitude. The guy acted like a complete jerk to everyone around him. That scene where he is eating at the table telling everyone around him just how great he is made me uncomfortable just watching it, couldn't imagine actually being there. Sorry Travis, but you need to learn a little respect...


wrote …

Travis is the man! He'll be back for sure and I'll be pulling for him (pun intended).

Haters gonna hate...

Your Canadian friend,


wrote …

Well done Travis! YOU ROCK! Win it for us next year...Well said Sevan.


Dale Saran wrote …


I know to some Travis will come across as arrogant or a blowhard; nothing could be further from the truth. Those things are certainly a part of his arm-wrestling persona, but they are not defining characteristics of the man. I've been around Travis a few times, as well as his wife. He is one of the funniest, and kindest, guys you can be around. He is also humble for a guy who is at the top of the arm-wrestling world and has been for some time. But to compete at the level requires a certain confidence bordering on cockiness. Are you old enough to have watched Jordan close his eyes while shooting foul-shots? Or seen Muhammad Ali leading up to his fights?

To be that good - great - at something, you have to actually believe it first. I hated Ali when I watched him as a kid for the same reasons you probably dislike the Travis you see in this piece. As an older man, when I look back at Ali's fights now, I have a much different appreciation for him. We tend to forget how many of the stars in their sports have the same cockiness you see in this piece. Some just are better about cultivating their public persona.

Travis' is all wrapped up in a brashness, and honesty, that belies the kind of guy he is. He's also a shit-ton smarter than you would think in that giant body. Trust me, he's not hiding insecurity. He's a guy you'd want with you in a bar if the odds were against you. I won't say he's a big teddy bear (because he'll probably smack me next time I see him), but that's a good man.

Now take your training more serious, Bagent! The competition has come up to you; it's time to respond.



wrote …

Travis, your arm wrestling ability is off the charts. I have no doubt you'll return and crush anyone before you next year. But dude, your voice and your ability as an announcer is out of this world. Explore that man. Guys make millions of $$ because they have a distinct voice and they make the venue they're announcing exciting for the fans. You should be among them. Serious biz!


wrote …

Personally I don't think it's fair to draw comparisons between CrossFit and arm wrestling when it comes to sportsmanship and showmanship. In CrossFit I admire the guys like Spealler who quietly go out there and let their actions do the talking. When it comes to arm wrestling, boxing, MMA or even lining up across from someone in football (all sports where you're physically engaged with your opponent), there's a lot to be said for making your competition believe that you truly believe you're unstoppable... tongue twister I know.

I'm not saying that trash talking and bravado are essential aspects of those sports, but there are plenty of stories of famous athletes who were masters of getting in their opponents' heads and shutting them down. Ali and Jordan were great examples of this and I have to believe that during competition, many of their opponents probably heard a small voice in the back of their heads telling them that defeat was inevitable. I have to think that many opponents across the table from Travis hear that same doubting voice and kudos to the ones who don't, because that guy is a beast.


Bob Guere wrote …

Here is your non-HQ endorsement of Travis. When I first met Travis 3 years ago at The Arnold with CrossFit Kids - I was perplexed by the above stated ability to be such a huge persona and kind and friendly at the same time. He's "confident" to put it lightly..... but he cares for people and did not hesitate to talk to every young CrossFit Kid that wanted to joke with him and meet him. I've only talked to him once since, again at The Arnold, and he hadn't changed.

"Haters gonna hate" is accurate. Love him or hate him, that is Travis, and what you see is what you get. A Dad and a Coach first.


replied to comment from patrick herrick

being Welsh, (little country next to England, definitely not English!) , i did think to myself watching this 'this is why everyone hates Americans' but i honestly found the whole video hilarious and interesting, Travis is blatantly one hell of a character. Personally love the self confidence and passion. The world needs people like Travis, other wise it would be boring. Great video, hope you win next year, although if you loose, it would be equally as hilarious.



wrote …

I respect Travis's Skills and dedication but the man is an idiot.


wrote …

I normally do not post, but a few questions/comments:

First, I'm curious to know which countries you are talking about when you say "the rest of the world hates Americans." I've been to multiple countries in Africa, Europe and South America, and never came across these people. In fact I typically get the opposite response.

Second, it's amazing to me how someone can make a judgment about the totality of a person from a video clip like this. Exactly what makes him an idiot? I talk more trash than that to my mother when we're playing cards (and my grandmother would have made you cry!). And let's not even get to what I sound like in the paint under the boards, or on a fast break after dunking on somebody. I hope I'm not an idiot! I thought I was enjoying myself competing?

Third, I hope no one ever succeeds in manufacturing this cookie cutter template that everyone seems to want to fit all of our athletes in. That will be the day I stop watching. Does everybody have to really answer with the same clich├ęs and feign some blatant false humility just not to offend somebody who will judge them without ever having a face to face conversation with them?

Travis, I hope you keep talking trash and psyching them big boys out before the match... and continue to show the grace and humility and love for sport and competition you show when you shake their hands and pat them on the back after the match (whether you win or lose as this piece showed). As a fellow big boy (6' 3" @ 250#) also with a "big personality" we know it's all part of the game and we won't have it any other way.

Sevan, I'm not quite sure what video some of these folks were watching, but I hope you know some of us out there completely understood the tone you were trying to convey in this piece. Well done. I never thought I would actually sit around watching videos about people working out, but it's partly due to dudes like you. Keep up the good work.


wrote …

6 times 12 is ughhh... 75. That about sums it up.


replied to comment from Bryant Chase

He said 6'3 first and did the rest of the math in his head.


wrote …

Great video Sevan!

I have to admit, I had an aversion to Travis since hearing him say that Rich Froning doesn't have any heart in a video prior to the CF Games. It seems he may be one who likes to stir the pot which is understandable in this day and time but to say something like this about someone who has been such a positive for the sport of CF is questionable.

I watched this video b/c I like all of your videos Sevan and b/c Travis is from my home state. I have to admit I can see the Patrick et. al perspective here. Being a fellow Crossfitter and small film maker, I saw the two sides of Travis you were trying to show here and appreciated that from a film making perspective immensely. Did you happen to get any footage of him interacting with fans while at the competition? That kind of stuff would have been great to have included but I also realize that it is impossible to cover everything in a 30 minute edit.

Great video once again Sevan! You inspire me with your story telling and I always look forward to your next piece of work!

Leave a comment

Comments (You may use HTML tags for style)