Iain Valliere took part in the latest Bro Chat podcast to discuss the future of 212 bodybuilding and the upcoming 2023 Arnold Classic. During the video, Valliere explained why the 212 division should dissolve and talked about the nearing showdown between Nick Walker and Andrew Jacked.
After the 2022 Mr. Olympia contest ended, a pair of former 212 athletes emerged in second and first place. Hadi Choopan won his lone Olympia title while Derek Lunsford, who received a special invitation for the Open class, delivered an impressive second-place finish. The night also saw reigning champion Shaun Clarida pick up his second 212 Olympia title.
Unlike the 2022 Olympia, the 212 division was omitted from this year’s Arnold Classic as well as a few other divisions like Women’s Physique. Fan excitement reached new levels a few weeks ago when the Arnold organizers revealed the Men’s Open contest winner would receive a record $300,000.
The added incentive worked like a charm, with Nick Walker, Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay, Andrew Jacked, and Patrick Moore announcing their entries. With the show approximately a month away, Iain Valliere joined Fouad Abiad to discuss the ‘212 takeover’ and how Andrew Jacked could push Nick Walker in Ohio.
Iain Valliere on Andrew Jacked vs Nick Walker: ‘I Think Nick Is Unbeatable at this Show to Be Honest’
According to Valliere, Walker has the 2023 Arnold Classic in the bag. He specified that the top three at Olympia last year, (Walker, Lunsford, Choopan), were well ‘ahead’ of the competition in Vegas.
“I think Nick is unbeatable at this show to be honest. I think Nick is going to be better than he was at Olympia, and I think that Olympia — he was really good. I think he was still a step ahead of Ramy, Samson, Andrew and those guys. That top three especially, was kind of like a very solid group ahead. I think Nick, Hadi, and Derek were kind of like their own three.”
Valliere suggested that bodybuilders like Andrew Jacked will struggle with the muscularity and hardness of Walker’s physique.
“I didn’t see Brandon being that close to Nick and I didn’t see Ramy being that close to them either,” says Iain Valliere. “Look, I said here myself. I think Andrew Jacked is probably one of the most impressive physiques on the planet when you see him in person. But I think Nick has a very different level of muscularity and hardness, especially from the side and back.
Andrew is very big, but he doesn’t have crazy front to back thickness like Nick does because he is so tall, through the arm, delt, chest, side leg, things like that, Nick just has in spades. Nick’s back shots are just fuc**ng insane.”
Even though Valliere doesn’t think Andrew can beat Nick, he conceded that the Nigerian could out-perform ‘The Mutant’ in a few poses, like the ab and thigh and front lat spread.
“If Andrew was in really good condition could beat him in an abs and thighs, front lat spread, but beat him? No.”
Valliere On Dissolving 212 Bodybuilding: ‘Some Guys Won’t Be As Good As Derek, Some Guys Won’t Be As Tall As Yao Ming, It’s Just Fuc**ng Reality’
Valliere believes 212 Bodybuilding should be absorbed by the Open class. He suggested athletes from that category should test their resolve in the Open, like Shaun Clarida and Derek Lunsford have.
“You really have no fuc**ng case for keeping the 212 around,” says Valliere. “Because I still think the guys that are really fuc**ng driven to be the best, would stick out a few years of getting shit on if they believed in their heart. Like the Dereks of the world, would have stuck that shit out and been in the Men’s Open and would have ended up where they are.”
“That’s the same thing as saying guys that are like 5″10′ shouldn’t pursue basketball and that we should make a shorter net for the guys that are shorter. It’s stupid,” Valliere suggested. “With 212 – I just think a lot of those guys could end up in the Open just like it used to be and be fine.”
To illustrate his point, Valliere explained that the NBA doesn’t lower the net for athletes who aren’t tall enough.
“No matter how much I train, I’m not going to be as big as Ramy or as fast as Usain Bolt,” Valliere added. “Some guys won’t be as good as Derek, some guys won’t be as tall as Yao Ming, it’s just the fuc**ng reality. People are not all created equally and just because they aren’t, doesn’t mean we should fill the gap.”
Valliere wasn’t the only athlete wanting to rid the world of 212 bodybuilding. One of the ‘original giant killers,’ Lee Priest, recently opened up on the subject. Priest competed with mass monsters like Ronnie Coleman during his tenure. He believes athletes should have to go through the same difficulties that he endured as a pro.
The nearing 2023 Arnold Classic will give fans an idea of how 212 bodybuilders are faring in the Open class once again. Similar to Priest’s conclusion, Valliere is confident athletes can find success in the sport irrespective of their height/weight.