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Gruff is a heavyweight robot built by Sam McAmis' team, which has competed in every season of the BattleBots reboot since Discovery Season 4.

It is a black, six-wheeled box-wedge robot armed with a pair of lifting forks made from magnum triple-alloy steel and twin flamethrowers spewing fire at 3000°F. Gruff's six wheels were originally powered by four Ampflow E30-400 brushed motors, though this underwent an overhaul in future seasons. The lifting weapon is able to lift in the 300-400lb range according to the team. Gruff managed to chalk up one competitive win in their debut season, in a rumble against Gemini and Marvin, but lost its other fights and was defeated by End Game in the Desperado Tournament. Though it would not make the Top 16, Gruff became renowned for its toughness, largely due to being one of few robots at the time to take Tombstone to a judges' decision.

For Discovery Season 5, Gruff remained largely the same, but the team added a new drive system they’ve dubbed “brushed more-or-less”, with one brushless and one brushed motor per side of drive. The new setup freed up 12lbs that the team were able to put into the flamethrower system. Gruff’s construction was also designed to be much smoother, as well as the addition of front wedgelets to the plow. Like last season, Gruff had more losses than wins in the qualifying rounds, but this time made the Championship Tournament. However, it lost Bloodsport in the Round of 32. Gruff performed better in the Tombstone Bounty Hunters bracket, where it defeated three opponents in succession to earn the right to have a rematch with Tombstone for a chance to earn a portion of the $25,000 prize, but was once again defeated by the former Giant Nut winner.

Gruff is confirmed to be participating in Discovery Season 6. The robot appears largely unchanged from last season, but received drive upgrades to address the reliability issues that plagued it in the 2020 season. Gruff started the 2021 season with a win over rookie bot Switchback in its first match but was tossed out of the arena by veteran flipper Hydra in its second. This was followed up by another disappointing loss, this time to Robotic Death Company and Cobalt.

The Gruff team have also competed in ComBots Cup and RoboGames competitions since 2011. While it did very well at ComBots, never failing to make the quarter-finals at every single event, it struggled to replicate this success in its early years at RoboGames. However their fortune changed in 2018, beating Hardcore Robotics' Swamp Thing, Cataclysm (a renamed WAR Hawk) and Team RioBotz's Touro Maximus en route to the Winner's Final, but lost to Gary Gin and Original Sin, which would later enter BattleBots as Free Shipping.

Robot History[]

Discovery Season 4[]

Gruff vs. Marvin vs. Gemini

Gruff lifts Marvin as Gemini watch on.

Gruff's first ever BattleBots match in 2019 was against Marvin and Gemini as part of a three-way rumble. For this fight, Gruff came in with only one of its flamethrowers on, fearing both may get damaged badly by either of the three spinning weapons. When the rumble began, Gruff struggled to get an effective lift on either Marvin or Gemini. However, they managed use their lifting arm to clamp on Marvin and lost some shavings from Marvin's disc. Gruff then started to take control of the fight by throwing the black Gemini twin onto its back. Gruff then took a shot from the red Gemini twin but no damage was dealt. Gruff took the black Gemini twin into the screws before shoving Marvin around again, almost flipping it over. Gruff righted the black Gemini and took a shot from the killsaws before time ran out. The judges awarded Gruff a unanimous 3-0 decision.

Gruff vs. Copperhead

Gruff lifts Copperhead into the arena barrier.

Gruff next found itself against the new robot from Caustic Creations, Copperhead. As the match got underway, Gruff was starting to take punishment from Copperhead, both to its lifting arm and from being tossed into the air. Gruff continued to attack and managed to shove Copperhead into the arena barrier.

After taking more abuse from its opponent, Gruff shoved Copperhead against the arena barrier where Copperhead looked to be nearly stuck on its back end but Copperhead fell down and continued the fight. Gruff then took more hits from Copperhead before smoke began to pour out. Copperhead was also having drive issues linked directly to its drum's gyroscopic forces. Regardless, the match went to the judges, who ruled a 2-1 split decision to Copperhead.

Gruff vs. End Game

Gruff gets tossed into the air by End Game.

Gruff slams End Game into the screws.

Gruff gets its fork stuck in the killsaw slot.

Gruff decided to take part in the Desperado Tournament for a shot at the Giant Bolt trophy and a slot in the Top 16 bracket. Since they were the No.5 seed, they were placed against Jack Barker and the No.4 seed, End Game. Gruff went in unchanged and started strongly, managing to get End Game up on its back end. In response, Gruff was also thrown onto its back, but self-righted. Gruff managed to use its forks to get between End Game's chassis and its weapon, dislodging a weapon belt and pushing End Game into the screws. Unfortunately, in the last minute of the match, Gruff drove right into the slot for the killsaws and its fork got stuck under the polycarbonate cover where the robot had its wheels raised high enough to prevent it from moving. Gruff was counted out, giving End Game the win by KO with just two seconds left on the clock.

Gruff vs. Tombstone

The initial collision that sent Tombstone into the air.

Having little success in the Desperado Tournament, Gruff then went back into the fight night battles where it was placed against former champion Tombstone. Gruff was off to a good start as they threw Tombstone into the air where Tombstone landed with its weapon impacting the spot for the killsaws. Tombstone recovered so Gruff went back on the attack, pushing Tombstone around with its wedge and attempting to grab ahold with its lifting forks. Gruff then had its front forks bent a bit but was still able to withstand punishment dished out by its opponent. Gruff then took Tombstone to the pulverizer, which didn't really cause any damage but with Tombstone upside down, Gruff didn't take much damage from them either until Tombstone was flipped back over. As time ran down, Gruff got in a lift that had Tombstone pretty much completely off the arena floor before Tombstone slipped off and got in another hit. The judges awarded a unanimous 3-0 decision to Tombstone.

Gruff vs. Railgun MAX

Gruff takes a shot to its forks from Railgun MAX.

Gruff then participated in a grudge match against newcomer from China, Railgun MAX. Right off the bat, Gruff charged across the box and received a minor shot that popped it into the air a bit, but didn't hamper it much. Gruff then took a shot to the left side, then to its forks twice, but the damage wasn't massive. Gruff received a few more blows to its left side, but Railgun MAX began billowing out smoke as Gruff took a shot to the forks again, then drove the smoking bot into the corner, using its flamethrower and leaving Railgun MAX's right tire a bit smoky and singed. Gruff simply came back over, lifting its opponent, then flipping them over. Gruff then used its arm like a clamp, dragging Railgun MAX around, throwing some more fire onto it before shoving it into the screws. Railgun MAX was counted out, giving Gruff the win by knockout.

Discovery Season 5[]

Gruff vs. HyperShock

Gruff slams HyperShock into the screws and roasts it.

Gruff's first fight of the fifth season was against HyperShock in the Main Event of the third episode. Gruff was not off to a good start as they were attacked and thrown into the air, nearly getting flipped over. Gruff was then attacked again and this time was flipped over near the arena barrier but righted itself. After another attack or two, Gruff started to take control as HyperShock was noticeably slower and had lost the use of its weapon. Gruff managed to slam HyperShock hard into the screws before HyperShock stopped moving near the pulverizer. Smoke began to pour out of HyperShock as it was counted out, giving Gruff the win by KO.

Gruff vs. Whiplash

Whiplash pins Gruff as it emits smoke.

Gruff then took on the Vasquez family and Whiplash. Early on, Gruff tried to remain equal with its opponent but was quickly shoved into the arena barrier and flipped over in the corner. Gruff righted itself and was able to land a few fortuitous pulverizer shots on its opponent. However, Gruff had little to counter against Whiplash's attacks and took damage before being shoved again. Gruff attacked with its flamethrowers but Whiplash was able to escape. Whiplash's weapon motor then began to smoke, leaving them without their spinning disc. As the match wore on, Gruff began smoking too and its drive slowed. Both robots went the distance and the judges awarded Whiplash a unanimous 3-0 decision.

Gruff vs. Extinguisher

Gruff slams Extinguisher onto the base of the screws.

Extinguisher rams into Gruff.

Having lost to the quick and agile Whiplash, Gruff was now at 1-1 and faced Extinguisher. Gruff started off strong as they were aggressive with their flamethrowers and lifter weaponry, and were able to quickly flip their opponent over. With their opponent still upside down, Gruff sent them into the screws, where Extinguisher ended up on its nose. Unwilling to end the fight this way, Gruff righted them and brought their lifting forks into Extinguisher's weapon, leaving the two stuck together. Gruff however struggled to lift its extra 250 lb opponent but eventually succeeded in that and taking them back to the screws. With both robots stuck together, the match was paused for a separation, though this was cut from the TV airing. Extinguisher was able to escape as Gruff began to experience drive issues. tTe brushed half of their drive had failed, leaving the brushless motors to pick up the slack. These motors had been overworked and began overheating. This caused Gruff's drive to finally give out and as they took one final shove from Extinguisher, Gruff was counted out. Extinguisher took a rare win by knockout and this defeat severely hurt Gruff's chances of making it into the tournament.

Gruff vs. Bloodsport

Bloodsport pushes Gruff against the wall as Gruff activates its flamethrower.

Gruff nearly flips Bloodsport.

Despite their previous loss, Gruff made it into the Round of 32 as the No.31 seed. In the first bracket round, they fought the No.2 seed, Bloodsport. Gruff was armed with only one of its two lifting forks and chunks of steel dubbed "chocolate bars" with the intent on sparing Gruff's front from some of the impact of Bloodsport's weapon. Unfortunately, this strategy didn't really come into play as the first impact broke off 1/3 of Bloodsport's weapon. Despite this being a favorable outcome, Gruff started being pushed around thanks to Bloodsport's front wedgelets. Gruff managed to get in a lift that cost Bloodsport one or two wedgelets. Gruff still didn't have the pushing power to strike back and ended up being sent under the pulverizer before showing signs of being noticeably slower in driving. Gruff managed to rip off Bloodsport's remaining wedgelets before time ran out but the judges awarded Bloodsport a 2-1 split decision and a spot in the Top 16.

BattleBots: Bounty Hunters[]

Gruff vs. Gemini

Gruff grapples Gemini.

On top of the main competition, Gruff also competed in the Tombstone Bounty Hunters tournament, starting off against Gemini. Due to damage sustained in the main season, Gemini had little choice but to beef up the one half to heavyweight level, giving it the "big boy pants". Gruff started off well, absorbing the impacts and taking red Gemini around the arena with the lifter. Gruff let go then proceeded to repeat the process, this time getting under Gemini from the rear. A bit of smoke began to pour out of the red Gemini but they continued to fight until Gruff grabbed them again and took them hard into the arena barrier, where the red Gemini landed on top of Team Gruff's pulverizer. With no way to get down, the red Gemini was counted out, allowing Gruff to advance to the next round.

Gruff vs. Deadlift

Deadlift pins Gruff against the rails.

Gruff backs away from the now immobile Deadlift.

Next up, Gruff faced newcomer Deadlift, fresh off a statement win against JackPot. Gruff didn't start off that well as it was unable to get under Deadlift and was taking shots in return as a result, nearly getting flipped over against the arena barrier. However, Gruff got the flames going and Deadlift's weapon soon stopped working. Gruff then took a shot from the killsaws before managing to get under Deadlift and flip them over. With Deadlift's weapon disabled, they were unable to right themselves and were counted out. Gruff won by KO and moved on.

Gruff vs. Kraken

Kraken gets to grips with Gruff.

All that stood between Gruff and a rematch with Tombstone was Kraken and Matt Spurk. Gruff did not have a good start as they were grappled by their opponent and carried around the arena before eventually being released but not before taking it out on Kraken's minibot. Gruff then started to get the upperhand as they hit Kraken hard into the arena barrier, flipping them over, leaving Kraken struggling to right themselves long enough for a countout to begin. Gruff waited but Kraken was now in a position where it could right itself and Gruff was taken to the Screws before flipping Kraken again. Kraken righted itself much more quickly and both robots survived to a judges' decision. The judges awarded Gruff a unanimous decision and a rematch with Tombstone for a piece of the prize money.

Gruff vs. Tombstone

Gruff tries to tank the hits.

Gruff had reached the final stage where it met Tombstone in a rematch from 2019. Gruff was able to absorb the impacts it was given from Tombstone, but little bits were flying off and its lifter was starting to suffer damage. Gruff managed to slam Tombstone into the arena barrier, but Tombstone recovered and continued its assault. Gruff's lifter was getting all bent out of shape and its flamethrower's tank was ruptured before Gruff's movement was noticeably reduced. Gruff continued to take punishment, even as it was being counted out, giving Tombstone the win by KO and a piece of its own bounty.

Discovery Season 6[]

Gruff vs. Switchback

Sparks fly as Switchback's weapon makes contact with Gruff's armor.

Gruff takes Switchback to the pulverizer.

Gruff torches the rookie bot as it lays immobile.

Gruff returned for the 2021 season, with its first fight confirmed to be against newcomer Switchback. They came into the fight with little in the way of alterations, though Switchback had purposely aligned their 6.5lb AR500 steel discs in the drum to evade Gruff's forks. Switchback captain Greg Needel had watched all of Gruff's previous fights in preparation for the fight. As it began, Switchback immediately spun up and delivered a shot as Gruff tried to slide underneath the rookie bot. Gruff successfully breached their ground clearance from the side and pushed Switchback against the barrier before allowing their drum to pop make contact with the floor and free their opponent. Gruff returned to the middle of the BattleBox and activated their flamethrowers as Switchback was momentarily held up in the killsaw slot, but this largely served to obstruct the view of Switchback's team as they lined up an attack with the drum. Gruff got underneath Switchback again and sent them to the pulverizer before freeing them, all while evading their primary weapon. Switchback was able to spin back up and naively charged in, flipping themselves over on impact. For unknown reasons, Switchback could not self-right and was counted out as Gruff charred the rookie bot with their flames. Gruff took the knockout, beginning the season with a win.

Gruff vs. Hydra

Gruff takes on Jake Ewert's Hydra.

Gruff lies immobile as Hydra celebrate their first win of the season.

After a dominating win over rookie Switchback, Gruff's next opponent was Hydra. As the match started, both bots quickly met in the center of the box and tried to best the other’s ground clearance. Hydra fired two flipper shots that ultimately missed. Hydra was then finally able to get under Gruff and only slightly pop it on its rear but when Gruff landed, was able to toss Gruff towards the screws and upside down. Hydra was then finally able to get under Gruff and only slightly pop it on its rear but when Gruff landed, was able to toss Gruff towards the screws and upside down. Hydra followed this up with two more flips before Gruff was able to get away in an attempt to regroup. However, Hydra quickly pursied its opponent and flipped Gruff upside down again, followed by two more with the last one almost sending Gruff onto the Upper Deck. Gruff’s flamethrower appeared to start malfunctioning as flames were now coming out of the bottom of the robot. Hydra meanwhile was able to once again toss Gruff upside down before getting caught on the killsaw slots, but was able to quickly meet Gruff again and this time flipped Gruff onto the screws. Hydra fired its flipper again but only brushed against the side of Gruff as it continued to be chewed by the screws. Hydra’s flipper, which appeared to be much weaker than in previous fights, was still able to land a flurry of flips on Gruff, tossing a few feet in the air each time. As Gruff was trying to regroup, Hydra got underneath Gruff again and flipped it towards the corner near the out of the arena zone. Hydra fired its weapon once more, and threw Gruff out of the arena, right by the entrance for the BattleBox. Gruff was counted out, falling to 1-1 for the season.

Gruff vs. Cobalt

Sparks fly as Gruff is attacked by Cobalt.

Gruff's propane tank erupts.

Gruff's third and final Fight Night opponent was fellow 1-1 bot Cobalt. As Gruff charged at its opponent, Cobalt had already spun up and Gruff found itself flipped it upside-down. Gruff had its fork caught in the killsaw slot for a moment, but was soon free and threatened with their flames. However, Gruff ran right into the front of Cobalt again and was launched high into the air, buckling a lifting fork on impact. Gruff took a hit from the 100lb pulverizer before hitting Cobalt's disc head on once more, again flying across the BattleBox. Cobalt continued its relentless assault as Sam McAmis' machine appeared to have lost drive on one side, throwing it against the arena barriers. Smoke began to emit from the underside of Gruff after the next impact damaged their propane tank, and it burst into flames soon after. Unable to show translational movement, Gruff was counted out and Cobalt advanced to 2-1 for the season.

BattleBots: Champions[]

Gruff vs. Glitch

Gruff spews fire over Glitch,

Gruff returned for BattleBots: Champions and fought Glitch in the first round of the bracket.


Discovery Season 4
Fight Nights
Fight Night Rumble vs. Gemini, Marvin Won (JD)
Fight Night vs. Copperhead Lost (Split JD)
Desperado Round 1 vs. End Game Lost (KO)
Fight Night vs. Tombstone Lost (JD)
Exhibition Matches
Exhibition Match vs. Railgun MAX Won (KO)
Discovery Season 5
Fight Nights
Fight Night Main Event vs. HyperShock Won (KO)
Fight Night Main Event vs. Whiplash Lost (JD)
Fight Night vs. Extinguisher Lost (KO)
Top 32
31st seed
Round of 32 vs. Bloodsport (2) Lost (Split JD)
Bounty Hunters
Bounty Hunters - Tombstone Episode
Round 1 vs. Gemini Won (KO)
Round 2 vs. Deadlift Won (KO)
Round 3 vs. Kraken Won (JD)
Bounty Match vs. Tombstone Lost (KO)
Discovery Season 6
Fight Nights
Fight Night vs. Switchback Won (KO)
Fight Night vs. Hydra Lost (KO)
Fight Night vs. Cobalt Lost (KO)
BattleBots: Champions
Sin City Slugfest
Round of 8 vs. Glitch TBC


  • Wins: 7
  • Losses: 9
Competition Wins Losses
Discovery Season 4 Marvin and Gemini (Undercard Rumble)

Railgun MAX (Grudge Match)

Copperhead (Undercard Match)

End Game (Desperado Tournament)

Tombstone (Undercard Match)

Discovery Season 5 HyperShock (Main Event/Undercard Match) Whiplash (Main Event/Undercard Match)

Extinguisher (Undercard Match)


BattleBots: Bounty Hunters Gemini



Discovery Season 6 Switchback (Undercard Match) Hydra (Undercard Match)

Cobalt (Undercard Match)

BattleBots: Champions TBC TBC

Faruq Tauheed Introductions[]

"This bot would make a terrible librarian because when it tries to shush you, it spits out flames. And you can't have fire around books, duh. Here's GRUFF!"

"This bot's got the biggest flame of all. It'll light you up like methanol. It's going to melt you like a crayon in the dryer, like a cheese stick in the deep fryer, and there's nothing you can fon-do. GRUFF!"

"This bot will melt you like Philly cheese steak. And for dessert, it'll turn you into chocolate lava cake. It's GRUFF!"

"This bot will burn you worse than Gordon Ramsay. Kids, don't fry this at home. It's got you on blast with a flame that will make you insane, so you better watch your ash. It's GRUFF!"

"This bot's ready to spice you up. You better curry cause it's cumin for ya. When you're outta time, it'll say par-slay ya later. Here to bring the flavor, it's GRUFF!"

"After his 'bout with Tombstone last year, fans started to talk and he became the people's champ, just like The Rock. This year, the Giant Nut is the only place he's looking if you smelllllll what GRUFF is cooking!"

"From Palm Harbor, Florida, he breathes fire and has giant forks. Haha, now it's time for a barbecue! Give it up for GRUFF!"

"This bot is named after a kid’s book that’s pretty legendary. Oh, the places you’ll go, like inside the cemetery. Going against him, you’re definitely going to perish. You must have one fish, two fish, bluefish, death wish. Give it up for GRUFF!"

"His parents always said that this bot played too rough. It killed all the bots at summer camp but being away from home is tough. It played Killer Kumbaya and ate sacrificial s'mores, but it was hard to play tetherball when the bots were tethered to the floor. Grenading Camp Granada, it's GRUFF!"

"From Palm Harbor, Florida, more temperamental than a police captain who's getting too old for this stuff, it's GRUFF!"

"From Palm Harbor, Florida, all killer, no fluff, it's GRUFF!"

"From Palm Harbor, Florida, you're about to get snuffed. It's GRUFF!"

"You think that you're tough? You haven't met Gruff. It's all menace, no fluff. This bot's got the stuff. You'll be saying, 'Stop, that enough!' 'Cause you're about to get snuffed. Give it up for GRUFF!"


  • At 3000°F, Gruff's flamethrowers reach a higher temperature than any other weapon in BattleBots history as of its debut season.
  • The bot's name was inspired by the fictional tale Billy Goats Gruff, as well as team member Sam McAmis having been around goats since childhood.

See Also[]