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The Olympia Battle for 2nd and 3rd Is Underway!

  • 9 min read


by Christian Duque

It’s already started just as I predicted it would weeks ago. With Nick Walker’s presence at the 2024 Mr. Olympia secured by way of his bullshit win at the NY Pro over Martin “The Martian” Fitzwater everything is ready to go. The promos have begun, and it seems like the main event will be focusing on media hype between Samson Dauda and Nick Walker. It’s an Arnold rematch with a pairing far more convincing than the experimental Nick Walker rivalry with Blessing Awodibu some years ago.

Blessing just couldn’t get to the point where he was commanding Top 3 attention. Don’t get me wrong, Awodibu is incredibly entertaining and has a great look but it’s a far cry from a Top 3 placing. The powers that be just can’t sell it. And most media outlets even the champions of kneecap sucking aren’t going to run their credibility into the ground suggesting that a guy like Blessing is in contention to win the Super Bowl of Bodybuilding – at least not in 2024. That said, Samson and Nick have some history. Nick couldn’t hold a candle to him back in the day and now after a hamstring injury it seems even less likely. That said, these guys have seemingly comparable resumes (on paper). And that’s all that matters because we’re not talking about handicapping the O, we’re just talking about selling. Plus, what Walker lacks in physique, he’ll make up with his mouth. Samson doesn’t trash talk – he doesn’t have to. Still, the towering Top 3 Olympian isn’t going to take it on the chin, either. Eventually, Walker will succeed in getting under his skin, and we’ll have a full-on media war. It won’t take much.

The battle between Samson and Nick is not the battle for the Sandow. Neither guy can win the Olympia in 2024 and neither guy will. Mark my words. This is why they’re level beneath Derek in the promos. What I gather is that the marketing gurus are almost making Lunsford as the top dog watching the chihuahuas battling over the scraps from his table. This is because no one in our industry believes that either of these challengers can topple Lunsford. The only man who actually could is William Bonac – and you will never see Bonac featured in an Olympia poster as a top challenger. He could smoke both Walker and Samson at 100%, but William doesn’t sell tickets. Could he sell tickets if marketed correctly? Absolutely. There’s no question about it. The problem is they can’t control like him like they can control either Samson or Nick. Nick doesn’t even deserve to be Olympia-qualified. Do you honestly think he’s going to give any lip to taking 2nd, 3rd, or 4th? He’s just happy to be there. The rightful winner in NY was Martin Fitzwater.

And other guy who you will see less and less attention on is Hadi Choopan. Hadi is getting the memo. To those of you who point to The Persian Wolf’s victory in Columbus as a mic drop rebuttal to my implication in this article that the writing is on the wall for Choopan, just bear with me. The Arnold Classic, much like Arnold himself, has always marched to the beat of its own drum. This is why it’s offering more prize money than the Olympia in 2025 and this is why it has a free webcast, as opposed to the Olympia one which was $80 in 2023 and is likely to be more in 2024. The fact Hadi beat Samson at this year’s Arnold is great for his pocket and keeps him in the mix, but it by no means secures his spot as 2nd or better at the Olympia.

Choopan, like Big Ramy, did nothing to grow the sport. They were largely hermit Mr. Olympias comparable to Dorian Yates. They emerged to win the Sandow and were gone after the Olympia Weekend. And while they may have stayed somewhat active on their social media pages, that’s pathetic for the digital age.

How many interviews did Hadi or Ramy do as Mr. Olympia? How many guest posing appearances, ribbon cutting ceremonies, and/or expo appearances did they make while holding the title? I think in their three years, collectively, between the two of them, I doubt they’d break double digits. Derek surpasses these numbers in just one month. Brandon Curry did the same. And let’s not even compare Hadi and Ramy to Phil or Jay. I mean their inactivity was totally unacceptable. And both Hadi and Ramy had poor attendance for even guest posing at the President’s show. Ramy was slated to be there in 2022, was a no-show, and didn’t offer any sort of explanation for ten full days. It’s no shock he lost that year’s title defense, even though the year prior he looked like dogshit next to a vastly improved Brandon Curry and still won. The difference in years is clear and it doesn’t take rocket scientist to see what happened.

Hadi also has history of getting screwed. Even the year Ramy won the Sandow, a case could have been made for Hadi winning. And even last year, a lion’s share of the fans and pundits didn’t think Lunsford deserved to win. It’s my belief that Hadi will fall out of the Top 3 at the 2024 Olympia and given the media frenzy of creating this imaginary showdown between Dauda and Walker, alarm bells aren’t going to sound off when Hadi falls in the placings. There are other guys that need to move up to see a changing of the guard. There’s Andrew Jacked – who’s very well-liked – and who is going move up. Hunter Labrada is also very well liked, and he’ll be in the mix very soon. Akim Williams is a proven threat and has been in the Olympia Top 6. He’s going to be knocking on the door. Tonio Burton has the potential to move up, as does Martin Fitzwater. The Martian behaved himself despite getting royally screwed and that goes a long way. Had he gone on the podcasts and raised hell, he would have blacklisted himself. Not only would that not have changed anything, but it would also have a made a bad bed for him.

Just look at the black cloud over Hadi Choopan’s career for just walking off stage a couple poses shy of the photographer’s wishes. He wasn’t even posing for the judges. Nonetheless, Choopan looked like a sore loser even though he’d congratulated Lunsford and posed for several post-show photos. That stink isn’t totally off the 2022 Olympia champion. Between that bad PR that’s still in the fans’ subconscious and coupled with the media blitzkrieg with Dauda and Walker, the fans will soon forget about Hadi. Even promoter Jake Wood posted photos hanging out with Lunsford, Dauda, and Walker this week.


Well, Hadi is probably somewhere in Iran. It’s not Jake’s fault that the former Olympia champion is overseas. It’s certainly not the media’s fault that they can’t cover The Persian Wolf – he’s not here! But it sure is convenient. Just like it’s been very convenient to make Big Ramy a non-factor. The biggest mistake both Ramy and Hadi committed to their detriment is that they thought the sport needed them. They thought they were such big stars that even if they played it like Dorian, hiding from the world, that the media would want to cover them more. Perhaps they were banking on the idea of supply and demand. That worked back in the magazine days, but not because of the persistence and resilience of hungry bodybuilding writers. Half the time the columns by these bigtime bodybuilders were penned by ghostwriters. Many of the photos were surplus from other shows and lacking the ability to compare shots or study images and videos like we can easily do today, most bodybuilding fans got duped every month. They were subscribing to publications full of fluff pieces, columns written by nerds attributed to freaks, and looking at pictures that may have been from months and/or years prior. There was no internet, much less social media, so then maybe Dorian going under the grid created a level of interest that kept him on everyone’s mind. Trying that tactic today makes you become totally irrelevant.

No one talks about Big Ramy. The guy even had to hype up a guest posing appearance and deny hiring a coach just to remind people who he was. He, of course, didn’t get on stage, and he’s gone back to being yesterday’s news. At the rate Olympia promos are going – few people will predict Choopan for the Top 6, much less the Top 3. This is how it starts. Even though he’s last year’s Olympia runner-up and this year Arnold Classic champion he’s taking a backseat in promos to Samson Dauda (who he beat) and Nick Walker (who wasn’t even in last year’s Olympia). It’s only going to get worse for Choopan.

And the imaginary rivalry and showdown between Samson and Nick will only become bigger and bigger. You just wait and see. You just wait and see.

What are your thoughts on the matter? As always, I hope you enjoyed reading my article, here, at Iron Magazine. Be sure to post a link to this article on your social media feeds – it’s sure to generate considerable conversation.