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  • 8 min read

by Christian Duque

History has a funny way to repeat itself. Here we go again, once again, Nick Strength And Power is promoting his ages’ old theory that The Black Swan, Breon Ansley, should leave the division he helped build. Once again, Nick Miller polls his fans, after pushing the idea that Breon should make the jump. Although reigning champion Chris Bumstead inspired it, Nick honed it on it and went on the record, stating (1) he agrees with Bumstead (big shock there), and (2) that Breon should move up to The 212 Division.

Nick adds that most Classic Physique competitors coming up aren’t looking at Breon as the guy to beat and if that weren’t enough, Miller also asserts that Ansley will never beat Bumstead, again. This isn’t anything new. For those who know the history behind the biggest YouTuber online and the 2x Classic Physique Mr. Olympia, this shows just how biased certain media outlets are. It’s also interesting because media personalities, very much like fans, hold certain positions that stay the course of time. Although Bumstead beat Ansley last year and although Ansley dropped a placing from 2019 to 2020, he continues to be one of the most respected and feared competitors in the division. So why did Bumstead make a point to say his chief competition, today, is Terrence, on Digital Muscle? Why did Ronnie Coleman say that his successor would be Victor Martinez, even at a time when Jay Cutler had taken 2nd to him numerous times and pushed him for so many years? I think you can figure that one out for yourselves.

Coleman knew Cutler was gaining on him. He knew that he was starting to fade, meanwhile, Cutler was getting better and better. Also, Cutler was the most humble and low key Olympian there was. He took his runner-ups without any crying or negativity. He always showed Colemen huge respect and it probably, would have meant the world to him, if Ronnie publicly recognized him as his chief competition. But maybe doing so, would have lit a fire under Culter.

There was no way Coleman was going to help bring about his defeat and ultimately, his demise. As long as Cutler was 2nd, Coleman could rule the roost. So whenever The G.O.A.T. was asked who his chief competition was, he’d say Victor Martinez, even though it was Cutler taking second, Gustavo taking consecutive 3rd places, and even Gunter beating him in 2002. Victor Martinez was nothing more than a convenient diversion, but it also served to psychologically break Cutler. At least, that was probably the plan. When – ever – has Bumstead called Ansley his chief competition? When – if ever – has he given Breon that respect? The fact is, Terrence took 2nd last year and looked great, but did he look so great that it forever shuts out The Black Swan from battling for the title? C’mon, give me a break, huh.

The fact is, Breon, is a shorter, far more compact physique-based athlete. He’s an extremely artistic poser, who knows he has several shots in his wheelhouse. He can also perfectly execute floor poses that a tall competitor like Bumstead would look silly, even trying. Although CBum has seen huge successes, physique-based sports favor shorter competitors, so if anything, I could see Breon and Terrence battling for a title, but at some point, it might be Bumstead taking a 3rd or worse. And while that’s a very likely possibility, I’ve noticed that the media have all but agreed to promote the theory that Chris is unbeatable, that he represents everything the division aspires to, and that if his reign is ever to end, it will end when Bumstead says it ends.

Although fans aren’t really big into long runs – in fact – fans hate when a champion wins over and over again, the media loves it. The fact there’s a top dog, means they can write all sorts of storylines, pinning everyone against this, supposedly, larger-than-life competitor. Those are easy articles to write and the much-talked about guy will of course, play along. I mean, wouldn’t you? If a bunch of writers and outlets are proclaiming you as the best thing since sliced bread, are you going to turn down all those accolades and all that love, down? Hell, no!! If anything, you’re going to bask in it, and want more!!

I saw the Digital Muscle interview and those guys are killing it. The platform has grown like wildfire, but like any other bodybuilding platform, a big part of their success, depends on traffic. It’s one thing to get hits and to get people clicking on your website, but nowadays, getting people to stay – is huge. Also, all of these stations look to guys like Nick, especially to Nick because he continues to be the most popular YouTuber. Some sites (e.g. RXMuscle), initially, tried to downplay the YouTubers, they tried to do a better job of gaining traffic, but they failed. For some reason, bodybuilding fans don’t require much in terms of bells and whistles; they like younger commentators, they like stats, and they’re very loyal to newer outlets. When you look at Nick Strength And Power, Desktop Bodybuilding, and a few others, the outlets tend to revolve around the host(s). If the hosts hold a certain opinion, their viewers tend to adopt it. This is why so many commentators have flocked to Bumstead and gone more and more silent on Ansley. If you think it’s because of physiques, training, and/or the progression of the sport, then I have a bridge in New Jersey to sell you.

It’s all about hits, who sponsors what, and how to grow audiences. Bodybuilding used to be about the best physiques, but when social media took over (as the magazines faded away), there were a whole new set of playing rules.

Let’s look at history. What happened when Sadik left MPD for Classic? How did that go? What happens if Derek or George ditch 212 for Open? Let’s bring up the great, KING George Brown, who took a controversial 2nd at the 2016 Arnold Classic and who many (myself included) consider a threat for the MPD Olympia. Over the years, many pundits have tried to convince George that he should try Classic, that it’s there he will go all the way to the top. I mean, the grass is always greener on the other side, right? Well, George has always disarmed these folks, by saying, “why leave MPD, when he can be the very best?” Men’s Physique is George’s division, just like Classic Physique is Breon’s. Anyone trying to get Ansley to leave, isn’t doing it because they want the best for him. If anything, they want to secure Bumstead can reign with relative ease, indefinitely into the future, by getting Breon out. Secondarily, and perhaps primarily, they might be raising that idea to see Ansley fail. Again, I wouldn’t call Miller, an Ansley supporter by any means. He also wasn’t much of a supporter of Dexter Jackson’s or others. Like I said, media personalities, today, like fans, have no quarrels putting their cards on the table. Even if NS&P may try to make nice in the weeks prior to big contests, we all know where he stands. It’s a matter of public record.

In the end, as I’ve often said, if Nick were some random bodybuilding fan spouting off on a message board, I certainly wouldn’t care; however, when you’re the biggest channel and you purportedly speak to an audience of over a million people, whatever you say, will get discussed. That’s just the nature of the beast. When the most popular youtuber says (pre-contest) if Ansley doesn’t win he should leave the division, then months later (post-show) seizes another opportunity to say Ansley should leave the division, that says a lot. With regards to Bumstead, he’s scared of Breon, because that’s the one guy who has been at the top before, who dominated at one point, and who may very well knock him off his throne. He may say Terrence is who he’s watching, but it’s Breon who he fears most. Anything short of that, is utter bullshit.

What say you? What’s your take on who Bumstead really fears?