Egyptian bodybuilder Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay left the door open for a new champion to emerge and paid the price for it at the 2022 Mr. Olympia last December. While many seem to count him out, others believe he could get back in the winning column. In a recent episode of The Muscle Maturity podcast, former Mr. Olympia Samir Bannout called on Big Ramy to get his health in order and encouraged him to take a similar approach as Derek Lunsford.
The 2022 season turned out to be one of the most exciting and competitive of any in recent years. Former two-time Mr. Olympia Big Ramy went into the Olympia contest as the betting favorite to retain the title based on his overwhelming muscle mass and size. He was tasked with the challenge to ward off proven veterans like Hadi Choopan and a crop of new talent in rising sensations Nick Walker and Andrew Jacked.
Along with the mass monsters of the Men’s Open class, former 212 Olympia king Derek Lunsford entered as the wildcard after receiving a special invite to test out his abilities in the Open Olympia. In the end, Ramy missed the mark and suffered a crushing defeat. He got dethroned by Choopan and dropped down to fifth place with Lunsford taking silver.
Following the result, fans were quick to bash Ramy and called on him to step away from professional competition. He was hoping to redeem himself at the 2023 Arnold Classic but could not assert his place in the mix of title contention. IFBB athletes’ representative Bob Cicherillo theorized Ramy would not be able to win another Sandow trophy unless he completely transformed his physique.
Ramy hit back at the critics for asking him to hang up his posing trunks. He expressed his passion for the sport and indicated no plans to move on anytime soon regardless of the outcomes. Ahead of his guest-posing appearance at the 2023 Pittsburgh Pro, Ramy hinted at the possibility of taking a brief hiatus for the rest of the year.
Big Ramy opened up about his drive to regain his status as the best bodybuilder in the world last month. He believes training with anger helped him amp up the intensity and would ultimately benefit him on stage.
When it was time for his guest-posing appearance, Ramy presented an improved package but got outshined by the likes of Lunsford, Walker, and 2023 AC champion Samson Dauda. Cicherillo admitted Ramy looked better although he was not convinced the improvements were enough.
IFBB head judge Steve Weinberger recommended Ramy take to the sidelines to work on his shoulders, arms, and back muscle development along with his overall proportions.
Samir Bannout urges Big Ramy to get healthy
In a recent Rumble video, Bannout called on Big Ramy to prioritize his health and take some time off to heal the issues. He also suggested Ramy quit using hardcore supplements.
“I think one good year of maintenance training and really work in every way to improve his health in general,” said Bannout. “I talked to Ramy and he said according to doctors that would be in his best interest. It’s really hard for me to say 100 percent but more likely he should take care of his health and take a break from hardcore supplements, you know what I mean? Let his mind and body more healing time.”
Although Bannout wants Ramy to slow down, he doesn’t recommend taking a whole year off.
“If he takes off completely and becomes a couch potato, he’s done.”
Bannout believes following a similar path devised by coach Hany Rambod for Derek Lunsford could benefit Ramy.
“Maybe Ramy should follow similar principle like what Hany’s doing to Derek, maybe he can promote his mass again and get healthier, cleanse his liver and cleanse everything in his body and relax his mind.”
Lunsford has gained a lot of momentum since his last outing at the 2022 Mr. Olympia. Legendary bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman sees him as the man to dethrone Choopan and called him his favorite bodybuilder of this generation earlier this month.
Bannout shares his most dangerous competitors for 2023 Mr. Olympia
Samir Bannout backed Derek Lunsford as the biggest threat to Choopan’s title at the 2023 Mr. Olympia along with Samson Dauda.
“Hadi will be ready for sure but again it’s not going to be easier, it’s going to get harder because everybody wants him right now. The most dangerous guy would be Derek and then Samson and then who else is dangerous? Nick, Andrew is dangerous, Krizo. Can Krizo do it?”
Earlier this month, Big Ramy confirmed he would not sit out a year and plans to step on the stage for the upcoming 2023 Mr. Olympia. His focus is set on bringing a better package and not on the placement he gets.