IFBB Pro League athletes’ representative Bob Cicherillo has taken it upon himself to educate bodybuilding fans on how judging works in the sport. In a recent MD Power Hour episode, Cicherillo talked about the downfall of Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay and provided reasons why Nick Walker didn’t win in Ohio.
Former two-time Mr. Olympia Big Ramy suffered a crushing defeat at the 2022 Mr. Olympia last December. He went into the show as the favorite to retain his title but came in looking visibly off. He turned in a lackluster showing and left the door open for Hadi Choopan to emerge as the new champion. In the end, Elssbiay dropped down to fifth.
Following the event, there was speculation about whether Ramy competed with an injury. He chose to make a quick turnaround and signed up for the 2023 Arnold Classic, which concluded earlier this month. Ramy presented an improved package on stage in Columbus, Ohio but left the show without gold. Eventually, Samson Dauda took home the top prize with Nick Walker finishing second, Andrew Jacked in third, and Ramy placing fourth after a fierce battle with two-time 212 Olympia champ Shaun Clarida.
The results sparked a heated debate online as fans argued against the judging of the show. ‘The Mutant’s’ fans disapproved of Walker losing to Dauda. Bob Cicherillo hit back at critics for bashing the judging and said Walker lost because he lacked his usual freak factor. A few days later, Cicherillo offered a detailed guideline for properly judging a bodybuilding show while reaffirming his analysis of Walker.
Many considered Ramy’s showing a positive sign of his future in the sport. However, Cicherillo pushed back on the idea of a potential comeback for the Egyptian mass monster. He believes Ramy needs to completely transform his physique and suggested he wouldn’t be able to win another Sandow trophy.
Bob’s critique drew allegations of being a mouthpiece for the IFBB Pro League and organization president Jim Manion. Cicherillo refuted the claims and dismissed theories of Ramy being judged unfairly due to an alleged grudge Manion held against him due to missing a guest posing appearance at the 2022 Pittsburgh Pro.
Cicherillo is confident Dauda has what it takes to win Olympia. He lauded ‘The Nigerian Lion’s’ impeccable muscle shape and backed him to win the 2023 Mr. Olympia if he came at his best. Cicherillo got called out by Ramy’s training partner Dennis James for making an unfair comparison. Although James agreed with the result, he claimed Ramy did not get a fair shake on stage.
Bob Cicherillo doesn’t want fans to give Big Ramy false hope
In a recent MD Power Hour episode on YouTube, Bob Cicherillo shared his analysis of Big Ramy’s evolution in the sport and recommended he take some time off.
“Here’s a question to all the conspiracy people out there who say Ramy’s getting held back, spanked, kept down from the powers that be because he didn’t show up in Pittsburgh and all this crap,” said Cicherillo. “If that’s the case, why would they have even invited him to the Arnold? The Arnold is invitational, they can invite whoever they want. They don’t have to have anybody. If Jim has the power or wish for some odd reason to keep somebody out, why would he let him in the show?”
“Number one, I didn’t tell Ramy to retire. Number two, if you can’t see the differences in his physique, then you got no business commentating bodybuilding. It’s very obvious and evident he’s not the same guy he was a few years ago. He’s got some problems which they brought up themselves.”
“What’s Ramy need to do in my expert opinion? Take some time off. Get your physique back where you got to get it. Fix whatever problems you got going.”
He urged fans to stop suggesting that Big Ramy can regain his Olympia title with his current physique.
“The fans, don’t prop these guys up and give them false hope. Be realistic. I give him an honest answer. If he can’t get back to where he was, I would say maybe he needs to look at something else. What’s option B? Be 10th at the next Olympia?”
“If the problems that Ramy has can be fixed, then I’m all for it. Why would I not want him to come back? He’s one of the best bodybuilders in the world, love the guy. But if you can’t, why would you want to put a 80% Ramy on stage? We all age. We all don’t get better as we go. We all end up with problems and injuries and stuff. That’s the essence of any sport.
“But if you truly care about Ramy or anybody in that position, don’t give him false impressions of what he can put out there and what he can’t.”
Bob Cicheriilo compared judging a show live in person and on a live stream in a recent podcast. He favors the opinion of those in attendance as they get a closer look at the competitors. He extended his support for Dauda and Derek Lunsford as the biggest threats to Choopan later this year.
Cicherillo explains Nick Walker’s loss and other placings at the 2023 Arnold Classic
Bob Cicherillo gave his take on why Nick Walker scored silver. He laid out the judging system and provided justifications for the top three finishers.
“There are no absolutes in bodybuilding,” continued Cicherillo. “Everything is a grey area of aesthetics. It’s somebody’s opinion at the end of the day. But it’s not who has the most amount of strength, it’s about who has the least amount of weaknesses. Why is Samson first? Well, for very obvious reasons. He’s got the best of everything overall; symmetry, shape, proportion, muscularity, and conditioning.
“Now you go Nick Walker and Andrew Jacked, who’s second and third? Walker, freak, all these things, brought it down a little bit too much in my opinion, lost some of that ‘freak factor’ he had at the Olympia. He’s a little long torso and short-legged. He doesn’t have the best aesthetics in the world. But he brings great conditioning, is always on point, and never out of shape.
“Jacked, big, tall, aesthetic, lots of muscle, needs a little bit more thickness from the side, conditioning not as good as Walker. Who do you pick? It’s the one with the least weaknesses and that’s Nick Walker in this case.”
“I can give Nick a few poses but I can also take him out of all the front and back poses because he’s not proportional. If you’re not proportional, how the hell are you winning a front double bicep? You don’t win poses. You get assessed against the other guy.
“Why isn’t Samson win that pose when he’s the most symmetrical of anybody out there? You can see where you can make an argument either way. But that’s why you’re not scored. There is no score for the side chest pose, the most muscular, or the abdominal pose. It’s not scored like that. It’s a general assessment of somebody’s physique. At the end of the day, it’s somebody’s opinion versus mine.”
Bob Cicherillo recently issued a fiery message to ‘biased’ coaches and disputed the accuracy of judging a show online. He believes coaches tend to weigh heavily toward their own clients as opposed to offering more objective opinions.