IFBB Pro League athletes’ representative Bob Cicherillo is a revered analyst of the game known for his often hot takes. He isn’t afraid to ruffle some feathers no matter the topic at hand. In a recent video uploaded on YouTube, Cicherillo issued a fiery response against those calling for the end of the Men’s 212 division.
The Men’s 212 class was first introduced as the 210-pound division in 2008. The IFBB experimented with different weight caps before settling on the 212-pound mark in 2011. Since its inception, it has proven to be an increasingly popular category in the sport.
Numerous contenders have made their splash in other divisions, such as Former 212 competitor Hadi Choopan, who created history by winning the Men’s Open division at the 2022 Mr. Olympia. Former 212 Olympia champ Derek Lunsford switched to the Open group last year and scored silver at the Olympia.
There has been a movement questioning the validity of the 212 class in the wake of the success some contenders found in the Open. Bodybuilding veteran Lee Priest suggested that the league remove the category from the Olympia event and add the prize money to the Open section. He believes the top 212 contenders would be able to hold their own against the mass monsters based on the performance of Choopan, Lunsford, and former Olympia king Kamal Elgargni.
Men’s Open standout Iain Valliere isn’t a fan of the 212 either. He voiced his disapproval of the group and theorized contenders should work on developing their abilities to compete in the Open instead. On the other hand, Lunsford argued the 212 needed to stay based on the opportunities it provided athletes who were working their way up.
Bob Cicherillo issues a fiery message for those wanting the 212 division to end
In a recent YouTube video, Bob Cicherillo hit back at those calling for the elimination of the Men’s 212 division.
“There’s some people calling for the demise of the 212,” said Cicherillo. “Let me just clarify that. Those aren’t people those are idiots. Let’s get that clear. Only an idiot would want to get rid of a division that’s been so successful and provides history for people.”
“ gave the chance for Joses, Felix Lewis’, and everybody else that we can bring into the discussion an opportunity to turn professional, compete in an even level playing field against people that were within 10 pounds, not 50 or 70 pounds. It’s literally given careers to people. Ask these guys if they want to get rid of it. We provide a platform that people can literally go from one division, they outgrow it and go to another.”
“The Hadi Choopans and Derek Lunsfords, these are guys that were able to transition. If you’re that good god bless go to that but why would we want to get rid of it for the other 99% of guys who have done very well and again has provided contracts, guest postings, starting businesses, representing supplement companies. I’m sure Flex Lewis would have done very well in the Open but it’s a little more impressive when you’re a seven-time Olympia champion.
Bob Cicherillo faced heat for his criticism of former two-time Mr. Olympia Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay two months ago. He remained steadfast in his suggestions to the Egyptian to move on from professional competition and doubled down on it following the conclusion of the 2023 Arnold Classic. The pair made peace weeks later as Ramy indicated no plans to hang up his posing trunks just yet.
Cicherillo believes Ramy would compete at the upcoming 2023 Mr. Olympia. He backed Choopan to defeat fellow Open sensation Nick Walker at the event. However, he favored Samson Dauda to triumph over all after his Arnold Classic win.
The 57-year-old extended his support for Kamal Elgargni to add the 2023 Masters Olympia title under his belt last month. He’s confident the former 212 champ has what it takes to come out on top of the show without adding size.
The 212 division has enabled many contenders to make a name for themselves in bodybuilding and it’s hard to imagine what the sport would look like without it given its immense success.