by Christian Duque
Ok.., not a month goes by that I don’t get emails or DM’s from fans all over the world, particularly from Latin America that would love nothing more than a Jay Cutler comeback. Jay is a former Mr. Olympia, who like Ronnie Coleman, has only increased his fanbase since leaving the stage. This is attributable to having a cutting edge supplement line, fresh clothes, and one of the most successful Youtube channels online.
Whereas, as a lot of former bodybuilding champions sought to redefine themselves, either going into media, movies, and/or trying to embrace mainstream audiences, Jay kept his place, cemented in the sport that catapulted him to fame. He doesn’t prep clients, he doesn’t write for a website, and with the exception of promoting some fantastic contests, he has pretty much continued the life of a bodybuilder, with the only exception being that he no longer competes. Much in the vein of Kai Greene, Jay maintains a respectable amount of muscle, eats clean, and lives the life. Fans have come to respect his candor and the fact that he remains one of the best businessmen in the sport. I can recall the many years he was Coleman’s runner-up and I’d look at his website and marvel. Here you had the second best bodybuilder in the world, racking up more contracts (and quite possibly) more money, than the G.O.A.T. The fact, unlike many champions who squandered away their prize money and industry money, Jay invested, got into real estate, and has seen nothing but success, ever since. I’ve seen him do everything, from releasing music, to appearing in movies, to totally reinventing himself whenever he so chose. His lines continue to be massive and much like when he was on top of the competitive world, he stays until every last fan gets their autograph, selfie, and/or gets to chit chat with him. I feel that other greats have taken note from Jay, including guys like the late, Rich Piana. When you treat your fans the way Jay does, they will be loyal forever. That being said, why do people keep asking, what would it take for him to come back, and how would he place?
So, the first question has been pretty much answered. People see Jay and they relive his era. They remember his battles with Coleman and they respect him as much for his defeats, as they do his victories. In many ways, Cutler has said that when Ronnie retired, the sport stopped being as fun for him. He did in fact hold off Victor in 2007, he made history reclaiming his title in 2009, and he was able to hold off Phil, long enough, as to where he was able to complete the mentoring aspect of their relationship. I mean, Jay pretty much picked Phil and told him he’d be great one day, he talked to him 1:1 when he placed second, and no one was happier for him, when he won, than Jay was. It’s been argued that by the time Phil won, Jay was pretty much burnt out – not so much physically, but emotionally. This is why when he came back, after having his bicep fixed and taking a year off, his heart just wasn’t in the game.
Do you honestly think, if Jay Cutler trained at 100%, came in 100%, and battled like he battled Coleman in 2001 and/or 2006 that he wouldn’t have at least cracked the Top 3? C’mon, give me a break if you think otherwise. The truth of the matter is, I feel, he had other things on his plate. So when the fans talk about a comeback, I say, that’s what 2013 was. Another comeback which I believe was pretty much a carbon-copy duplicate of Cutler’s 2013 return, would be the comeback of Kevin Levrone. That was 100% for the fans; much like Flex Wheeler’s as well. Sometimes, the champions love the fans so much, that they’ll put their bodies through all the stress, just to give them one more time to see them on stage. That being said, I can’t imagine Jay doing that again in 2020 or the foreseeable future.
Still, people always ask, “what would it take?” I think the premise of that question is off. It suggests that maybe there’s an amount of money or maybe there’s a concession that would sweeten the deal. There simply isn’t one. Jay is one of the richest bodybuilders on the planet. He gets mobbed wherever he goes and anything he could possibly want, he works for it, and he gets it. He’s won Olympias, he’s won the Arnold, what is there left? I mean, i suppose if they ever brought back the Masters Olympia, that might be an interesting title for him to pursue, but then again, who cares about winning the Masters Olympia, when you’ve won the open Olympia? Also, from a marketing standpoint, if he could sell dramatically more clothes or supplements from competing, then maybe that might make some sense, but he doesn’t need to compete in order to accomplish that. If Jay wants more traffic, he simply makes more videos. He has a great friend and work colleague in Dave Bourlet. When those guys brainstorm an idea, flesh it out, and then let the tape roll, they come up with some masterpieces.
When you have a video that gets hundreds of thousands of views and you can match those Youtube subs with followers on IG and website traffic, you don’t need anyone or anything. These guys aren’t making videos in some garage either, they study their analytics, and they have their social media down to a science. Who else gets the kind of numbers Jay Cutler TV gets? Guys like Jay are the attraction, they don’t need to pay for advertising, and they certainly don’t even need to have sponsored athletes or top-paid influencers on staff. Could you imagine someone trying to get sponsored by Jay Cutler? What would their selling points be? Jay is more popular, more respected, and taken more seriously than pretty much 99% of anyone on the planet – current pro’s included.
With regards to how he’d place? That’s up for some debate. Assuming he wanted to compete and assuming he had his prep 100%, he could still have a pretty solid chance of making Top 10. Assuming he took the stage injury-free and he was dialed in, I could see him possibly getting into the Top 6. Now, would that be worth it? Again, financially I’d say no. In terms of his legacy, he’s already accomplished everything, so I don’t see it doing anything for his contest record. Also, prepping for a show is anything but fun. Although he’s kept a lot of size on, he’d have to gain considerably more, because Jay was never the aesthetically-pleasing type. In other words, if he was going to do well, really well, size was always his calling card. This is what I always tell people and they simply don’t want to hear it. For a guy to regain that much size, after years off the stage, and given the fact he’s older, is simply a recipe for disaster. Nonetheless, if you’re blunt with the hardcore international fans, you’ll never hear the end of it.
I like to keep my readers happy and I certainly want my articles read, so in a nutshell, I’d say, buy a ticket to an expo, get your memorabilia signed, but don’t hold your breath on a Cutler comeback. If, however, there was ever an allstar masters type contest and if some big names like Jackson, Heath, maybe even Kai competed and/or Martinez, I’m talking a few years down the road and the prize money was big enough, then and only then, could I conceive of Cutler throwing his hat in the ring. Still, I’d say it’s a pretty solid long shot.