by Christian Duque
Bob Cicherillo is one of the most recognizable figures in fitness. He was a pioneer of bodybuilding radio, is a professional bodybuilder, and promoter. He’s also been on television, from commercials to movies, and has served as Athletes Rob for many, many years. Perhaps his biggest claim to fame, however, has been as emcee of the Mr. Olympia.
Bob has earned a reputation as being one of the most prolific announcers in the sport. Promoters scramble each year, hoping to include him in their productions, and he most definitely adds value wherever he goes. The Olympia has, undeniably, breathed new life into his career. Both the fans, as well as the competitors, have grown fond of his antics, from his corny jokes to making the world sit at the edge of their seats awaiting major decisions. Chick has also worked tirelessly as Athlete’s Rep, a post he seems to hold indefinitely. That being said, for as well placed as he is, I don’t believe he’s an official nor do I believe he speaks for the Federation, it’s officials, or its judges.
I think that if the powers that be wanted to make an official statement, they would use NPC News Online, not Cicherillo’s Instagram. And when I refer to the Federation, that includes the judges and all conferences, therein.
The Chickster’s recent commentary on his IG regarding Hadi Choopan’s Olympia placing has caused a snowball effect on popular programs like Nick Trigili’s Bodybuilding and Bullshit to major websites like Kevin Grech’s Evolution of Bodybuilding, in just a matter of hours. Many, now, believe that Hadi could have either placed 2nd or won the Olympia, but-for one bodypart. They believe that the placing he received was a punishment for a “jimmied up” look and they believe that’s an official thing. And who or what do they cite? Bob.
I’m not saying Cicherillo would make something up and then run with it. That’s not the kind of thing a man’s man like Bob would do. Also, I don’t think Bob needs nor wants to put himself in the spotlight. If anything, I’m sure Bob wants to play down his superstar profile and maybe lead a normal life. That being said, he may want to resolve some issues with some of the more vocally disgruntled fans in the sport. I mean, there’s IG pages, Facebook groups, and YouTube channels where the infighting has gotten pretty personal. The fans are angry and they can’t understand how The Persian Wolf is on his second People’s Champion title, yet, can’t seem to get judged according to what they think Choopan deserves. Many of his fans believe he bested Ramy and in their dismay, are casting some pretty serious aspurcions. Maybe making a statement with what he thinks motivated the judges’ scoring, is Bob’s way of putting out fires.
The problem is, we’re not talking about just any judging panel. The judges in question are the most skilled, most respected men and women in our sport; I highly doubt that they need Bob Cicherillo speak for them. The notion, alone, is kind of ridiculous. And even though Bob never said he was speaking for the IFBB Pro League or the judges, I can totally see where lay people, including proactive media, wanting to break a story and/or read between the lines, might arrive at such a conclusion.
But if Bob was speaking out of school, wouldn’t he get a phone call or some sort of a reprimand? Well, that’s assuming that the powerful people are even watching his Instagram video. The people I’m talking about live on planes, they’re working with top level promoters/companies, and they deliberate and decide things that affect thousands of athletes all over the world. It’s not like they have the time to sit around and watch random Instagram videos or keep up with trivial matters.
That being said, if a major supplement owner like Hany Rambod where to start making calls, asking what gives with Cicerillo’s video, and why he’s speaking with any degree of certainty as to the alleged feelings judges may have had with regards to his sponsored athlete and client, Hadi Choopan’s physique and scores, then maybe Bob might get a call.
This is significant; just because no one has told Bob to shut up, doesn’t mean that what he’s saying is what the judges thought. Also just because he’s not directly saying that he’s speaking for the Federation or the judges, doesn’t mean that a lot of people won’t think he is.
What I find very interesting is that Bob never covered his ass by stating that he did not speak for anyone but himself. That’s a mistake that could be costly for him. And for those of you who think Bob fears no one and would laugh off anything, if he’s confronted by Big Steve, Jim, or anyone else who truly matters, Bob’s smart alecky vibe could be no more. He’d listen, he’d process, and he’d act accordingly.
Personally, I don’t understand why Bob would stick his neck out like this, and release a statement regarding Hadi and Hadi’s scores. It’s only going to pour gasoline onto the fire.
Countless bodybuilders use SEO’s – in fact, it’s only the minority, I’d say, that don’t use them at all. Also, this isn’t natural bodybuilding. If athletes take gear to get bigger and/or diuretics to dry out, then where’s the moral judgment to allegedly punish a competitor for using a little oil or shooting a certain muscle group with their supplements as opposed to others?
What you start to see, when going down this slippery slope, are double standards. That pisses people off. It’s like one set of rules for one guy and different ones for another. The perception of fair judging goes out the window and people start to create their own narratives. What’s worse than that, is that people start to believe in them.
Bob can’t imply that Hadi would have been second – or worse, imply that he would have won the Mr. Olympia – had his delts looked differently. I mean, he can imply whatever he wants however much he wants, personally, but not when he’s speaking as if he has insider information as far as what the judges were thinking.
He’s putting the judges in an incredibly awkward spot. If they stay silent, it might look like they endorse Bob’s position. If they contradict Bob and say he doesn’t speak for them, then this will create doubt, as Bob is a key figure of the Mr. Olympia, and already-angry fans may start to think it’s a conspiracy.
In fact, many of these fans may have already taken Cicherillo’s analysis as fact and won’t bother reading or listening to anything else. Quite frankly, even if the judges had decided to score Hadi down for suspicious delts, having Bob speak for them is a bad look. Bob isn’t a judge – I don’t even think he’s test judged. Why is he speaking on scoring at the most prestigious bodybuilding contest in the world?
I like Bob and I respect his body of work; however, there’s no way, in my opinion, that his statements on Hadi could have been sanctioned. And if they weren’t sanctioned and he just went ahead and published them anyways, given his high profile, I think that’s a move that could cost him dearly. I also don’t think he polled the judges and/or made these declarations with their blessing.
At the rate we’re going, every news outlet will weigh in. I’m sure RX, MD, and GI will probably run stories. Patrick Bet David of Valuetainment is Iranian… don’t you think he’ll weigh in?
Hadi is also not just some random competitor. He has two People’s Champion awards. By all accounts, he’s one of the most popular bodybuilders on the planet. Does it make any kind of marketing sense to single out this competitor and punish him for suspicious delts?
I mean we don’t even know if there’s oil in them, to begin with. Unless he had an MRI or an ultrasound, then it’s just a suspicion at best. The idea that judges would deny a competitor a placing, especially the Mr. Olympia title, based on a hunch, doesn’t exactly make them look too good. And while Bob’s backdrop looks pretty spiffy, that’s nowhere near the production value we’d see on an official statement from a top level official on a top level matter, such as this. I’m sorry, but I think he’s just talking out of his ass
Again, I really like Bob and I hope he won’t be mad at me for writing this article, but I don’t think he has any idea what the judges were thinking and I certainly don’t think anyone, with any real power, signed off on this video he put out. Chick may be the voice of bodybuilding, but he’s not the voice of the IFBB Pro League or the Olympia judge’s panel.
In any event, something tells me we’ll be seeing a clarification from Bob in the near future, but maybe not. Who knows, thoughts?