by Christian Duque
When Nick Walker called Hadi Choopan “a one hit wonder” just a day ago it sent shockwaves throughout the fitness industry. The 2023 Arnold Classic runner-up and 2022 Mr. Olympia second runner-up was assessing the risk threat of top tier bodybuilders on the pro circuit. His analysis was substantially flawed but the soundbites are undeniable.
He claimed that Samson Dauda (who easily beat him in Columbus) had a flat back. He implied that Brandon Curry would be out of the Top 6. He said Ramy was finished. He also said that Andrew Jacked who many believed also had him beat in Columbus would be outside the Top 6. While he didn’t take any cheap shots against Derek Lunsford, he dropped a bombshell when it came to reigning Mr. Olympia Hadi Choopan.
By calling Hadi a one hit wonder he openly and brazenly declared war on The Persian Wolf. This couldn’t come at a worst time as the defending champion believes he’s being usurped by lesser competitors – guys he beat in 2022 – but who he believes are getting all the spotlight that’s owed to him.
Walker’s statement pours salt on the wound. He didn’t say he’d have his work cut out for him or that the odds might be against him. He basically said that Choopan had no shot to win and you can rest assured that that statement will receive a response from Choopan’s camp, which may or may not include Hany and Evogen as well. The champ’s coach is perhaps his biggest believer and that’s a guy with very strong ties to the bodybuilding media. At some we’re going to see an all out war. It’ll be a fight that will make the feuds between Fouad and Justin [Shier] or Dave Palumbo and Bob Cicherillo seem like child’s play.
Hadi has a very real problem on his hands. He’s been easily the least active Mr. Olympia since the introduction of the title. He didn’t go to the Arnold Classic, didn’t go to the Pittsburgh, and hasn’t done a thing to grow the sport of bodybuilding. The fans are extremely unhappy with Choopan especially given how close it was between him and Lunsford last year in Las Vegas, NV.
From another perspective i think the powers that be have had enough as well. Two years of Ramy and a year of this ghost have left a very bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths. How can we expect to grow bodybuilding if its ambassador to the world lives in one of the most isolated countries insofar as ties to the West go and quite frankly never leaves said country?
All Hadi seems to do is post training footage on IG. That’s not even enough for a nationally-ranked amateur competitor so why would he think it would be enough for the top bodybuilder in the world? I wonder if his sponsor(s) is happy with him. I mean even the “progress photos” he’s posted have been scrutinized. A great many people are saying he’s posting old photos and trying to pass them for new. Although i wouldn’t call Choopan lazy there’s no question that his self-imposed isolation has made him all but forgotten with the sport’s handicappers and media outlets. Most commentators don’t even talk about him and that’s causing the champ to lash out. He’s livid at being ignored but he isn’t livid enough to make a change. As we head into July, he still has over four months to change his ways. Or does he?
With the Olympia this close, Choopan has to hunker down and prep. His time to guest pose around the world, appear at huge expos, and give out awards and do in-store appearances would have been from January-June. He pissed away his time on top by being MIA. Now he has to live with it and he’s going to have to sit and sulk with comments like being called a one hit wonder.
The fact of the matter is that while I think Walker has sour grapes over getting passed over at last year’s O and dusted at this year’s Arnold, he still makes a valid point. It took Hadi all these years to finally win a Sandow and then he did absolutely nothing with it. He’s young yet, at just 35, so age isn’t what’s going to prevent him from winning again, but he’s a short bodybuilder with a physique that few would call pretty, Some have even suggested he has some suspicious looking bodyparts. Whatever the case may be, if he loses in 2023, history alone stands in his way of ever winning the Sandow back.
I don’t necessarily agree with much of what Nick said, but the same way I think Ramy is done, I also highly doubt Hadi will win Sandow #2. His physique just isn’t that good and I realize that’s heresy to his hardcore fans but it is what it is. He’s a short former 212 guy who had a great 2022. He also had a great 2020 Olympia where he won the People’s Champion award.
Is Choopan a one hit wonder? I’ll leave that for you to decide. I think it’s pretty clear where I stand. Lastly, I’d like to point out that Nick is really dying to be talked about. Even though he appears in a commanding spot in Olympia promos and HD Muscle is likely to run a number of ad campaigns centered around him, the fact he’s throwing mud at his fellow competitors is unlike him. He used to despise people that did that. But that was a different time. That’s when he was the Arnold Classic champion and everyone’s bet to be the next Mr. Olympia. There’s a reason Nick took a crap on Samson. Dauda wiped the floor with him and Jacked nearly did the same. The Mutant isn’t fooling anyone. Even though I agree with him that Hadi won’t win another Sandow, the fact he’s talking about the reigning champ shows how desperate he is for attention.
It’s pretty lame if you ask me. If you want my super early prediction for the 2023 Olympia I’d put Hadi at 3-5. I’d put Nick Walker in the same range. If you want something with a little more specificity – I’ll play along.
At this point in time given how the judges are scoring and taking into account we’re at just around four months out I’d put Hadi at 3rd and Nick Walker at 5th. Yes, fifth. And yes, third. Please make a note of this because my predictions don’t tend to change much and absolutely no one has made predictions this early that I’m aware of. I’ll discuss why I have these guys where I have them for future articles here at Iron Magazine. For now feel free to call me crazy. Also be sure to share this article to your social media platforms. I betcha a lot of people agree with Nick Walker’s assessment of Hadi Choopan. The question is will they admit it or not.