Bodybuilding veteran Kevin Levrone has soaked up a lot of knowledge following a career that lasted over 20 years. In a recent RxMuscle interview, Levrone discussed Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay‘s chances at the upcoming 2023 Arnold Classic on March 2-5, in Columbus, Ohio.
During his lengthy tenure, Levrone was a perennial Mr. Olympia contender. Pushing himself against legends like Dorian Yates, Ronnie Coleman, and Flex Wheeler, Levrone carved a reputation out of consistency and hard work. He brought eye-catching conditioning when he performed on stage, which led to him winning a pair of Arnold Classic titles (1994,1996).
While he’s stepped away from competing, Levrone has remained interested in his former profession. The last time fans heard from Kevin he appeared in a Muscular Development video to recap the 2022 Mr. Olympia contest. In response to Ramy’s fifth-place finish, Levrone thought the 38-year-old ‘gave the judges an excuse to get rid of him.’
Weeks after losing his title, Elssbiay threw his name into the upcoming 2023 Arnold Classic. A total of $300,000 hangs in the balance as Ramy aims to defeat frontrunners Nick Walker, Samson Dauda, and reigning two-time 212 Olympia Shaun Clarida. With the event approaching, Levrone took a closer look at Big Ramy and his potential comeback.
Kevin Levrone Casts Doubt on Big Ramy’s Comeback at 2023 Arnold Classic
Levrone said Ramy placing fifth at 2022 Olympia was a ‘tough blow,’ and that it makes sense he’s trying to redeem himself in Ohio next month.
“You know as sad as it is to see him lose, I was there. It probably took the wind out of his sails. I know the fans and people like me watching – it was a tough blow. Thinking as far as an athlete and a champion, wanting to redeem himself – that’s a normal thing. That’s probably a normal move for him. Who can say what the future will bring for him, you know.
We can sit back and say well he can’t do this or this can’t be done. I mean, he’s still young I believe, he’s still young. Time will tell what falls because there was a time of the day when I tore my chest and people call me fly by night, and I couldn’t come back and couldn’t do this,” says Kevin Levrone.
Having met Ramy personally, Levrone doubts the former champion is willing to put his life on the line to get ripped/shredded. He added that Elssbiay “doesn’t have the balls to take it to that place.”
“Knowing Ramy and knowing his personality – I’ve sat down and talked with him. He’s not as crazy as someone like you [Dave Palumbo]. I’m going to put it to you straight: you have to be half-crazy to take it to that edge and just say, ‘you know what, I don’t give a shit what happens, I’m going to put my life on the line for this show, I’ve certainly felt like that and certainly did that a lot of times.
I don’t think he’s got the balls to take it to that place where he needs to say, ‘you know what, no matter what happens, I’m going to take it and get ripped and get shredded. I just don’t think it’s in his DNA,” Levrone explained.
Before ending the discussion, Levrone emphasized that athletes have a limited amount of time to make money and praised all of the competitors who entered the Arnold Classic on short notice.
“I think it’s a good move. I think they should go out there and make the money. I mean, that’s what it’s all about. What’s the point of being a professional if you’re not going to get in shape and compete. It’s all about getting on stage, using your physique as a business. Because this is a business. You can’t get all emotional and try to duck shows and run out of a show because there’s competition. Get out there where the competition is and see how good you are. You only got that small window of opportunity.”
“Hats off to the guys for jumping in it. Go do all the shows you possibly can but do it smart. For me, you know, it was like, you get in shape, I’m glad we had the European Tour, because once you get in shape, it’s easier to maintain that shape. Instead of getting in shape and then waiting and coming back, dieting up and down.”
In preparation for the March’s contest, Big Ramy received an intravenous stem cell treatment to revitalize his physique. Ramy and his coach Chad Nicholls have kept his progress under wraps for the most part, but the Egyptian native shared a recent physique update, where he showed off his back.
This will be Ramy’s first Arnold Classic competition since 2020, where he took third place. Should he claim the title in Ohio, it will set Ramy up for a path back to his Mr. Olympia title, currently held by Hadi Choopan.