by Christian Duque
There’s a tremendous amount of conversation being had as seemingly former IFBB Elite Pro Michael Krizo made the announcement he’ll be competing in the IFBB Pro League. This is not only a major defeat but it’s also a huge hit against “the other IFBB” led by Rafael Santoja. As many of you know the IFBB split in two some years ago. Wayne Demilia was tapped to try to make the Santoja faction huge in America. That didn’t happen, but that federation continues to be a thorn in the side of the Pro League – or at least creating confusion among athletes if anything else.
Internationally, however, the Elite Pro continues to command support in many countries and even Arnold has kept some shows with them. Again, I wouldn’t say Arnold is loyal to anyone or anything. He’s a pragmatist and only cares about what directly affects him. That said if he still working with them that means they’re not completely out of the running but now they are definitely feeling the sting of losing quite possibly their most impressive athlete in Michael Krizo.
The reasons why he left remain unclear but my guess would be Michael wants to compete with the best for the top title in the world. The rival federation doesn’t have anything comparable in terms of prestige, earnings, or fanfare.
To be quite honest I didn’t think the war between the federations was really all that serious. Here in the United States and for much of the rest of the world the Pro League dominates uncontested. Just one look at the depth of lineups and the quality of physiques and it’s very clear which federation is the superior stage to compete on. That being said I don’t anticipate there being a reunification anytime soon. What I do predict is that a lot of people from the other federation will look very closely at Michael’s experience in the Pro League. They will want to see if he places as well and if he’s given a warm welcome. And to be quite honest I don’t think there’s any reason why he would be treated unfairly or judged more harshly than anyone else. Of course the conspiracy theorists on the message boards will probably vehemently disagree with me but all I can say is that if and when Michael hits Pro League stages we will see him do very, very well.
Krizo will hit the ground running as soon as he competes in the Pro League – that as much is for sure! He may not become Mr. Olympia overnight but in a very real way the fact he has dominated the Elite Pro will give him a tremendous amount of confidence going into a new federation where he will initially start out as the underdog but with a giant spotlight on him.
After all, this is the man that has terrorized Pro League champions for years as the best the other federation had to offer. Don’t take my word for it alone just go on Reddit, Facebook Groups, or whatever message boards you like to visit and you will see what I mean. There are endless comparisons between Michael and Nick Walker, Michael and Big Ramy, as well as Michael and every other top champion the Pro League has produced in the last three years.
The day has finally arrived when Krizo will take the stage and see how good he really is. That being said he will also push a lot of the Pro League competitors in the process. In the end the biggest winners will be the fans!
The other element that I think warrants considerable consideration is what will happen if Michael takes abysmally lower placings in the Pro League than he did with the rival Federation. Rafael‘s people could use such an outcome to serve their own agenda.
In other words if Krizo brings his absolute best and for whatever reason maybe does not get placings commensurate with that level of condition, size, and separation, the other federation could use that to raise all sorts of unfounded concerns.
Bodybuilding is a subjective sport and sometimes guys that look the best don’t win but it’s not because of politics it’s because sometimes judges are looking for one thing at one show and another thing at another show. If Michael however does not win I could see the rival federation making a big stink about it and trying to create a problem where there isn’t one. Right now I would imagine they are in damage control mode and by the time Michael competes they will have an arsenal of responses to however he is scored and places.
All that being said, I’m still a little skeptical about Michael‘s decision to defect mainly because I would think the rival federation would have treated their star competitor like a king. It just seems a little weird to me is all. I’m not saying that his defection isn’t real or that it’s part of some grandiose way to embarrass the Pro League but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.
The one thing the fitness industry has taught me is that not everything is what it seems to be. There’s a lot of strategy and there’s a lot of treachery in the world of bodybuilding and fitness. You can’t believe everything you’re told or everything you read. You have to question a little bit at least I do.
And I’m also curious what will happen with regards to other competitors from the rival federation. Will Michael’s defection bring about a domino effect? If so, that could put an end to Raphael‘s organization. The bottom line is without competitors – without high quality competitors – people like Arnold’s are not going to want to have competitions with them. That’s simple and plain – that’s real talk.
With regards to the bodybuilding media, I think many outlets are also going to be extra careful in how they interact with Michael. I think many outlets are going to take a wait-and-see approach before offering him interviews or feature coverage. As previously stated, there is always going to be that underlying fear that this is either an underhanded play by the rival federation or possibly indecision from the athlete. It would be embarrassing for an outlet to throw at support behind Michael if he ultimately went back on his decision to cross over without ever even doing one Pro League show.
There are very few outlets that cover both federations and those that do, do so at their own risk. That’s not to say that either federation would lash out, it’s just to say that outlets do so at their own risk. After all there is a war that is going on and in the fitness industry it is not unheard of for sponsors to expect an outlet to pick a side. But hey don’t take it out on me I’m just the messenger. Or the observer or whatever you want to call it. I’m not supporting it or opposing that mindset.
In summation do I think Michael can beat Big Ramy? I think a lot of people can beat Big Ramy. He looked very unimpressive to me at last year‘s Olympia and nothing suggests to me that he’s going to bring a better physique in 2022. If he was allowed to win looking like absolute garbage what is the incentive to look better this year? That being said maybe the possibility of competing against Michael will light a fire under the Egyptian Phenom, but probably not. When you look at how amazing Brandon looked, if that didn’t make Ramy work harder, nothing will.
So can Michael win the Olympia? Absolutely! Will he? Probably not. Nonetheless it will be very interesting to see what he does in the coming weeks/months.
Do you think he’ll do well? Do you think he can go all the way?