HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Arkansas has produced a lot of great athletes over the years.
But did you know there is a reigning World Champion living in Hot Springs?
At six foot five, 329 pounds, Michael Todd definitely looks the part. But it's when referee signals go that the Monster comes out.
"When I walk up to the table I'm just Michael Todd. There's a switch, that's when the Monster takes over. It's a whole different person. It really comes down to I believe that 99.9 percent of the time shear disgust for losing will always outweigh your desire to win."
And winning he does. Todd has 34 National Titles. His gym displays thousands of trophies and medals.
In fact he still proudly displays the first medal he ever won.
"So it's the Saline County fair in 1990. I show up to the Saline County Fair. I get a few wins and end up taking third place and I'm hooked. At that point it's on."
Michael won his first National Championship in 2001. After that he won a National Title every year for the next ten years. Then came a horrific injury.
"In 2010 my left arm blew apart in a World Championship match in London. The doctor had misdiagnosed me. Said I had a muscle tear. It was actually a partially torn ligament. It was a world title defense. I drive in. I'm in position. Cameras. I'm just wooing, putting on a show. Pow! Medial collater ligament rips off the bone. The flex mass rolls up my elbow. My elbow dislocates six inches. They went into my knee, dug out a hamstring tendon and rebuilt it. That injury is what made my right arm the best in the world."
With a new technique, Todd went on a four year winning streak.
Michael has a gym at his home in Hot Springs. There' a lot of technique in arm wrestling, but make no mistake a lot of strength is involved.
"Once you become a world class arm wrestler, we all know the same technique. It comes down to who's stronger. It can be who's stronger in your pinky. It's tiny little muscles and able to execute your move quicker, faster than your opponent or counter the mover he does. It's like physical chess."
Michael is entering his 28 year of arm wrestling. He'll turn 45 in June. Even with the toll it's taken on his body he believe he has three more years of being the best in the world.
"Arm wrestling hurts me. My right arm, seven years ago the doctor x-rayed it and said I had 70 plus fractures. That's as far as it straightens out. This is as far as it comes back. It won't come back any closer than this."
While he's a monster at the table, Todd can walk around here without much fan fare. But in Europe it's a different story.
"I'm famous to about ten thousand people worldwide. There's this group of arm wrestlers that I'm like their hero and outside of that no one knows.
"Rebecca and I went to Italy last year and the guy goes, 'Monster Michael Todd! Yay! What's up?' that doesn't happened here. No one knows."
The world champ does have a day job, he and his wife run "Todd's Total Transformation." It's a 12 week training program.
His wife Rebecca is a six-time National Champ and his step-son is a five-time National Champ.
They are a monster family.
In a couple of weeks Todd will defend his title at the Arnold Schwarzenegger Fitness Expo in Columbus, Ohio.
He got the nickname Monster in 2006 when a promoter first saw Todd, he said,'Wow, that's a monster.'"
The next day at the competition, he introduced him as Monster Michael Todd and then it was game on.
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