Men’s Open bodybuilder Nick Walker is still reeling from his second-place finish at the 2023 Arnold Classic. Speaking with Guy Cisternino, Walker discussed Samson Dauda‘s controversial win in Columbus, Ohio.
“I already had my hopes high. I’m like, ‘oh my God, I just won this shit.’ Then they said, ‘second place Nick Walker,’ and I was just like… what? It hurt,” Nick Walker shared.
At the 35th annual Arnold Classic, all eyes were on Andrew Jacked, Samson Dauda, and Nick Walker during prejudging and finals. Many agree Walker brought some of his best conditioning to date, but Dauda’s shape and lower body carried him to victory. Meanwhile, Jacked reached the podium in third place in his debut at the marquee event.
Just days after the results were announced, Walker pleaded with fans on social media to keep their comments about the outcome respectful. Earlier this week, athletes’ rep Bob Cicherillo, who was in attendance at the Arnold, suggested Walker should have earned third instead of second. He’s also gone to great lengths to inform others about the judging process at big events like the Arnold Classic and Mr. Olympia.
One of Jacked’s coaches, Chris Aceto, processed the results recently. He took issue with the scorecards and said they were confusing because Walker faced off against two athletes much taller than him. While the scorecards made the show look like a ‘slam dunk’ for Dauda, Aceto believes Walker would have outmuscled him in a one-on-one comparison.
Nick Walker Opens Up Stomach Bug, Refueling During Show, and Samson Dauda’s Controversial Victory
According to Walker, he was 238 pounds the morning of prejudging and said he encountered a stomach bug later that night.
“The morning of prejudging, I was 238. Thursday, we carbed up a lot man. I wasn’t eating more. I was eating probably 500 grams of rice per meal, 30 grams of almond butter, or 20 grams of – yeah, and 80-100 grams of banana, some meals had a muffin in them.”
“It was like 11:30 at night I want to say, I got on the toilet and just diarrhea bro. Just straight diarrhea right, for a half hour. Maria thought I was throwing up actually. She was like, ‘is that diarrhea?’ I’m like, ‘yeah.’ It was weird. I sat on the toilet, not to get really in detail here – it was solid like poop coming out. But yeah, this is good, it’s solid. Then, I got really sharp pain in my lower stomach. I’m like, ‘oh,’ then I pushed hard, and it was just water.”
While Walker accepts that Dauda brought a great package, he didn’t think it was enough to knock off a former Arnold Classic champion, like himself.
“Well they called me first for second. When I heard that, I was just like ‘what the fuck.’ I’m with you, when there’s a champion here, you gotta take out the champ. And I don’t think and listen, Samson looked incredible, hats off to Samson but he didn’t take me out.”
“I actually said that to Maria. I said look, ‘depending on how this is going to go, I’m first or I’m third,” said Nick Walker. “When they called Andrew, I was like, ‘I won.’ That’s exactly what I thought.”
He said the second-place outcome was difficult to accept, especially since he entered the show on short notice following the prize money increase to $300,000.
“I mean, it was a hard pill to swallow. You know, because not wanting to even do the Arnold to start and then they upped the prize money, and they’re like, ‘hey, we want you to do it.’ You’re like, ‘okay,’ I got to flip the switch back, this is a big deal. That was rough.”
Considering the improvements Andrew Jacked made since his earning his pro card at the Arnold Classic Amateur, Walker is confident he’ll one day dominate the Open.
“At the end of the day, this was the most competitive Arnold in years’ history right now. I honestly didn’t even expect Andrew to be as good as he was. When he got naked to pump up and tan, I was like, ‘okay.’ He came ready. I also am very happy for Andrew. Andrew is probably one of the nicest, funniest guys I know. And to see him work his ass off and actually see it pay off – I was very happy for him.”
“Let me tell you something man. This is my own opinion. The moment he improves on the weak points that everyone says he has, he isn’t going to lose. No one is going to beat him,” Walker shared. “Andrew’s front lat, Andrew’s ab and thigh, nah bro. He’s insane.”
Dauda’s coach, Milos Sarcev, also chimed in on his client’s major victory. He suggested one of the main reasons Walker came up short in Ohio was because he lost volume in his legs. Furthermore, Sarcev specified that Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay failed to place higher due to a lack of detail despite bringing a better package from his last Olympia.
Nick Walker plans to use the rest of the off-season to make adjustments for his third Mr. Olympia competition this November. Fans expect another exciting battle between Dauda and Walker, who both share the same goal of dethroning the reigning Mr. Olympia Hadi Choopan.