The 2023 Arnold Classic crowned Samson Dauda as the new champion earlier this month, with Men’s Open star Nick Walker finishing runner-up. In a recent Mutant & The Mouth podcast, Walker, Nick Trigili, and Guy Cisternino discussed the outcome and whether the current judging system needs an overhaul.
Shortly after the ‘The Nigerian Lion’ raised gold above his head, many fans were surprised by his victory. He defeated Nick Walker and Andrew Jacked in the finals to secure the title. However, veterans of the sport, Chris Aceto and Jay Cutler have both suggested Walker could have easily won as well.
In addition, other bodybuilding staples like former Mr. Olympia Samir Bannout have taken issue with the results. He claims Walker should have won with the physique he brought. Bannout also called out Dauda’s seemingly perfect scorecard, despite some in the sport describing the contest as close.
Walker urged his fans to keep commentary surrounding the judges and contest respectful. With more time to accept his second-place showing, Walker joined Trigili and Cisternino to discuss his physique and the current state of judging in bodybuilding.
Nick Walker on Recent Loss: “I Had The Combination of Everything Except for Shape”
Looking back on his performance in Ohio, Walker said he brought an effective combination of fullness, hardness, and dryness. He added that he wasn’t as full in Ohio compared to his last Mr. Olympia competition where he placed third.
“I always thought conditioning wins. That’s why I usually pride myself on being one of the most conditioned guys in the show. I know you need to be obviously full, you can’t be flat, you know. Even the Arnold for me, I really thought I had the combination of everything except for shape, whatever. I don’t have the best shape in the world. You talk fullness, you talk hardness, you talk dryness,” Nick Walker said.
“I wasn’t as full as I was at the Olympia but I also wasn’t as conditioned as I was at the Arnold at the Olympia neither,” added Walker. “But I was still full. So, I just really thought overall I had everything they wanted, in my opinion.”
Trigili, Cisternino Call for More Transparency in IFBB Pro League Judging: “Enough Hiding”
Trigili believes judging should return to its old ways and the officials’ names should be made public.
“It used to have all the judges’ names there [the scorecards] and everyone of their scores for every single athlete for every single round, and there were three points and you also got points in the posedown. So, if they felt like you won the posedown, you got extra points there. And you could see exactly where someone won or lost a show; it was clear as day and what judge put you where.
So you’ll know going show to show, ‘Oh, this show is just looking for that, that judge is looking for this, my odds of winning this show is this and the high and low bullshit matters but now we can actually see where it matters. They tell us they drop the highs and lows, we don’t know what they drop, we have no idea, we just have the final number,” Nick Trigili said.
Cisternino added that scoring should be done electronically and judges shouldn’t be allowed to change them once they’re ‘locked in.’
“I always said they should be in cubicles and not be allowed to talk to anyone around them. Now, with the way technology is, the scores should be electronic, automatic, once they’re locked in. Two things: I think the scorecards are going to be much more all over the place in the beginning, but you’re going to see peoples’ opinions that come into play that actually matter because it’s very hard for me or you or even Nick to sit here and tell me there’s not that many shows where somebody walks out and you’re like, he won easily hands down won,” says Guy Cisternino.
Before ending the discussion, Trigili said judging has improved as of late, but highlighted the need for more transparency with the scoring process.
“The judges need to be on these scorecards dude. Enough hiding. We need to know what judges are scoring,” shared Trigili. “I have no problem with the winners, seconds or thirds. This is the first show I’ve had in a while where I was like it could have went either way. Usually, I’m like, ‘Oh, they got it, perfect.’ That’s a tip to them. I think they’re doing a great job, I just want for bodybuilding to be a little bit more transparent with the scoring.”
Given the fan backlash to the judging at the Arnold Classic, Jay Cutler tackled the sensitive topic in a recent Cutler Cast podcast. After looking over the results, Cutler thought the judges got it right a few weeks ago, but added that anyone from the top four could have earned gold.
RELATED: Bob Cicherillo: “If Samson Dauda is Anywhere Close to 100%, He Wins the Olympia This Year”
In the meantime, Walker plans to focus on factors that he can control such as making improvements to his package. The 2023 Mr. Olympia competition will take place November 2-5, in Orange County, Florida.
Watch the full video below:
Catch full coverage of the 2023 Arnold Classic, including pre-judging, event recaps, analysis, and final and full results at our Arnold Classic coverage hub: FitnessVolt.com/arnold-classic
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