On the mend from a severe hamstring tear and grade 1 calf tear, Open star Nick Walker is here to take a look at how the 2023 Mr. Oylmpia show shook the world. The latest Mutant and the Mouth Podcast, published on November 14, 2023, saw Walker examine the strengths and weaknesses of Hadi Choopan and the newly minted champion, Derek Lunsford. In addition, “The Mutant” gave his thoughts on the dramatic aftermath that ensued after Hadi Choopan exited the stage during the picture ceremony.
“With the way I was looking, with the way me and Matt had this whole thing planned out… that Sandow would have been sitting on my fucking… whatever,” said Walker.
Carrying the weight of Iran on his back, Hadi Choopan trained with a chip on his shoulder for all of the 2023 season to retain his championship. He was largely counted out by experts in the field, with many bodybuilding legends such as former Mr. Olympias Samir Bannout and Ronnie Coleman backing the all-American Lunsford to emerge victorious.
The 2023 Mr. Olympia finale was a nail-biter with Lunsford, Choopan, and Samson Dauda fighting for first. In the end, Lunsford received the judges’ nod, though controversy online has continued with many fans arguing in favor of Choopan winning. Similar to IFBB Pro League Vice President Tyler Manion, Walker examined the top three in detail.
“It Was Close” – Nick Walker Recaps 2023 Olympia, Praises Samson Dauda, and Breaks Down Hadi Choopan Situation
When assessing the finalists’ physiques, Walker acknowledged the show was close with Choopan winning poses thanks to his conditioning whereas Lunsford won poses courtesy of his shape, aesthetics, and dominating back detail.
“For finals, that’s what I went to. Listen, it was for me personally it was close. All three were really really close. I can see why Derek won, very happy for Derek, I love Derek. I think, listen, from the front, I think Hadi wins certain poses based off just conditioning in my opinion and hardness.
But Derek also had the better shape. Now, from the side, in my opinion, you could go either way. It’s just what you like. I think the detail in Derek’s side leg was slightly better than Hadi’s but I think the upper part of Hadi’s body from the side tris and side chest was more conditioned, hard and dense than Derek’s. From the back, I would give it to Derek in both poses,” said Walker.
Walker thought Dauda had the potential to place higher than third until he began to sweat during the comparisons in the finals.
“I would give him the back double and back lat. From the most muscular though I would probably just give it to Hadi just because I think he’s very dominant. I think you know… Samson possibly could have placed a little higher if he wouldn’t have started sweating in that final pose. I think that broke him. I think Samson looked phenomenal and I think it was his best to date.”
“He [Samson Dauda] improved man and I’m happy for him. He really did,” said Walker. “Yeah he still got work to do there [the back].”
In addition, Walker added that Derek wasn’t as hard from the front as Choopan, and he’s unsure if that is due to training or muscle maturity.
“Derek from the front he’s never hard. So like I don’t know if it’s a muscle maturity thing, I don’t know if it’s a training thing, I don’t know what it is,” said Walker. “No, I think Hadi’s shoulders look fine.”
In Walker’s opinion, he can “100% see why” the judges sided with Lunsford. However, he had a few reservations about the big win:
“I can 100% see why they picked Derek without a doubt. This is one of those things again where I don’t think Derek took out the champ but if they believe Derek is better that night… then Derek is going to win.”
Lastly, Walker addressed Hadi Choopan walking off the stage after his first picture was taken. According to Walker, Choopan tried to hand his silver medal back to Bob Cicherillo.
“I agree [Hadi Choopan owes some apologies]. I agree. I don’t care what the situation is,” said Walker. “I was in shock. I’m not going to lie I chuckled a little bit because I was so shocked, I’m like dude my man just walked off stage and tried to hand the medal back. Who does that?”
“No he tried to hand the medal back to Bob. Yeah he knew bro. It was because – the only reason why I giggle because first of all, it was just so random. Then I was getting ready to leave because they lined them all up, okay, I spoke to Maria, I said before it gets crazy we can’t get out of here so let’s roll now. She’s getting ready to wheelchair me, but we’re still watching.”
They go to take one picture with the hands up and Hadi just takes his medal off and just walks off…. and we’re like, what the fuck? I don’t wasn’t really paying attention [to the crowd],” shared Walker. “I don’t really know. I mean, I was kind of rolling out.”
Choopan’s infamous 2023 Olympia walk-off and controversial loss attracted a lot of negative attention. So much so that even Samson Dauda took to Instagram to plead with fans about maintaining a more positive attitude when it comes to bodybuilding contests, productions, and results.
While it appears Nick Walker is out of commission for now, his return will ignite even more talk about who might shine in the top three at the next Mr. Olympia, which is scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, Nevada from October 10-13.