Google celebrates Indian champion wrestler and legendary strongman The Great Gama on his 144th birthday.
Professional wrestling, and the world of organised combat are no stranger to tall tales, myths, legends and everything in between, but even by those incredible standards, the story of The Great Gama might be unmatched.
As Google celebrated the Indian legend and folk hero on his 144th birthday, we take a look back at the remarkable life and fighting career of a man who defeated all-comers and influenced none other than Bruce Lee.
Born Ghulam Mohammad Baksh Butt on My 22nd 1878, in the Amritsar District of the Punjab Province of what was British India, The Great Gama began his road to immortality aged ten. After ranking in the top 15 out of 400 in a strongman contest, making a mockery of his tender years, Gama started wrestling in earnest in 1895, aged 17.
What followed was a remarkable career that spanned over five decades, in excess of 5000 fights (reported) and numerous countries. Oh and there was the small matter that he never lost. Not in the Roman Reigns sense of his matches seemed a formality either. As in, the man wrestled for more than 50 years and never once tasted defeat.
Despite standing only five feet, seven inches, Gama possessed a freakish level of natural strength, aided by a diet that included ten litres of milk and six desi chickens per day. That’s alongside a training regimen centred around performing 5,000 squats and 3,000 push-ups per day.
Over the course of his career, The Great Gama often struggled to get people to fight him, owing to his fearsome reputation, but he did tangle with grappling legends Benjamin “Doc” Roller, Raheem Bakhsh Sultaniwala and Stanislaus Zbyszko.
If the Zbyszko name looks familiar, it’s because it was after this giant of the sport that Larry Zbysko took his name. That’s the Larry Zbyszko who famously feuded with Bruno Sammartino throughout 1980.
As his wrestling career came to a close, Gama began campaigning on behalf of the poor, pushing for things such as free rail travel. There was also the incredible tale of how he sent an armed mob packing from a town close to his home in Pakistan as the region descended into political chaos in 1947.
The Great Gama remained influential in the world of wrestling even when retired, training his nephew Bholu Pahalwan.
The legendary strongman passed away on May 23rd 1960, aged 82.
For more on the incredible life and legacy of Ghulam Mohammad Baksh Butt, check out this fantastic thread from @nameshiv who chronicles more of his incredible feats.