Everyone at the Logan Square Auditorium on Saturday night learned a valuable lesson: The only true sport is Ladies Arm Wrestling. Everything else is merely a game.

This revelation comes courtesy of the Chicago League of Lady Arm Wrestlers, who hosted CLLAW 18 late on Saturday night. The event, held to benefit the Sideshow Theater Company and the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, was charitable in nature. But between the entrants, there was little goodwill to be found. The title was on the line. 

Arm wrestling is having something of a moment right now, evidenced by new bras de fer-based reality show Game of Arms, which premiered on the AMC network this February. But to really experience the apex of what the sport has to offer, it's best seen live and in person—especially in the trappings of CLLAW, where the lady competitors take on larger-than-life personas. Just listen to some of the names on the fight card:

  • Gorrison Killer
  • Lumberjack Jill
  • Calamity Pain
  • Macho Ma'am Candy Savage
  • Hillary Rod-Arm Clinton

Then there were the costumed patrons and performers, bribable referees, and emceeing by the incomparable Rockke L. Squelch. Of the fighters, there were crowd favorites, heels, divas and dynamos; but all the pugilists (and their robust entourages) assembled with one goal in mind: To take the title—and the bedazzled boxing gloves that come with it—from reigning champ Chi-quita Flores. 

Early rounds saw the quick demise of Florida Devereaux, newcomer The Aluminum Monster, and more. Flores cruised through the opening brackets. Other competitors were so well-matched that tie-breakers—in the form of dance-offs, hula-hooping, and thumb wars—had to be called upon to settle the score. 

The hour was nearing 1 a.m. when the incumbent Flores and the challenger Bust Her Bluth took the podium for the championship best-of-five. But in the end, the winner was Chi-quita Flores, aka, the Plantain of Pain, who retained the bedazzled boxing gloves, and celebrated an emotional victory with an entourage decked out in costumes with a banana motif.

For the charities involved, over $7000 dollars were raised. For the rest of us, the action resumes July 25, when CLLAW 19 hits Logan Square Auditorium. And if you or a lady you know wants to make the jump from crowd to competitor, enrollment for the next CLLAW opens in May.