by Christian Duque
On a recent Instagram LIVE that included Phil’s take on a variety of topics, including a possible comeback at a contest other than the Mr. Olympia, he answered a fan question about Big Ramy that sparked my interest. It’s a comment that speaks to my theory that Big Ramy is being punished for missing the 2022 Pittsburgh Pro and for other behind-the-scenes issues that I know of but that I’m unable to write about. I’m unable to write about them because I’m privy to the information because of two highly recognizable sources in the fitness industry. One is a top level competitor and another is a big supplement company owner.
The information may be factual or a rumor. I honestly don’t know, but my gut tells me what it tells me.
Phil thinks Big Ramy looked remarkably better at the 2023 Arnold Classic than he did at the 2022 Mr. Olympia. He even stated he wanted to get with the judges so that they could explain to him why they scored the 2x Mr. Olympia the way they did.
If you read between the lines that means the 7x Mr. Olympia categorically disagrees with how they scored The Egyptian Phenom and the statement about getting with them is 100% rhetorical. A guy like Phil who’s arguably one of the greatest bodybuilders who’s ever lived doesn’t need a panel of suits explaining to him what muscle, condition, and symmetry is all about. If anything, he could school them. And what’s also noteworthy is that the sentiment Phil put out there is one that the vast majority of the fans agree with. Countless bodybuilding aficionados were perplexed by Ramy’s crappy placing in Columbus, OH. That wasn’t subjective, it wasn’t apples and oranges, it was personal. If anything it was payback and now it’s not just me saying it.
Big Ramy’s reign was an interesting one, but even the way he won raises an eyebrow. I mean he didn’t even qualify to be on the Olympia stage back in 2020. He competed in that year’s Arnold Classic, which was a first for him. He was supposed to hit the stage in Columbus, stun everyone in the house, and qualify for the biggest show in bodybuilding by winning the second biggest contest. He would have done what Dexter Jackson did in 2008, winning the ASC and the Olympia in the same year. The problem is he didn’t take into consideration that he was up against William “The Conqueror” Bonac at 100%. That became apparent the second the guys hit the stage. Bonac dominated that lineup without a second thought. And not only that but Dexter “The Blade” Jackson was still competing at a very high level. He was still quite sharp and he was battling The Conqueror for the win. And while Ramy was in the #3 spot he wasn’t a competitive Top 3. He wasn’t pushing Dexter or much less William.
Those guys were fighting for the top spot and Ramy was just there for the ride. After The Arnold, Ramy then waited until the last possible minute to compete and qualify. He allegedly caught Covid and then got a special invite. He got rewarded for not thinking ahead and during the worst year of the pandemic, waiting till the last minute to qualify showed utter irresponsibility. But even still, he got rewarded with a chance to compete with champions and past Mr. Olympias. From there, he went on to topple a hardworking defending champion and defeat a returning 7x Mr. Olympia, in Brandon Curry and Phil Heath, respectively.
Ramy’s reign was best described as inactive. He didn’t do guest posing appearances, he didn’t work expos, and he certainly didn’t compete outside of the Olympia. Ramy didn’t do interviews, he didn’t do IG LIVE, he just let time pass. He did movies, signed a huge supplement contract deal that he’d eventually lose, and missed key events.
When he missed the 2022 Pittsburgh Pro after saying he’d be there it sent shockwaves throughout the fitness industry. Not only didn’t he call, text, or even email that he’d be absent, but he stayed totally quiet for ten days. For ten days the bodybuilding world tried to rationalize the irrational. They tried to explain what could have happened and many pleaded, even implored Ramy to make a statement. When he finally did, it was weak. It was short, unimaginative, and very hard to believe.
Pittsburgh is a show where bodybuilders go to show respect to the President. The President has done so much for the sport and is considered by many to be a modern day version of Joe Weider. Ramy was the 2x defending Mr. Olympia and many believe he thought he was bigger than the President.
It’s one thing to miss a scheduled appearance, but to not call in is just disrespect. To not apologize or even say a peep for ten days adds insult to injury. It’s like each day that he chose to remain silent and keep his platforms dark was like adding salt to the injury. Every bodybuilding media outlet was reporting on it and he did nothing. So when he took the stage at the Olympia it was all over.
Whereas most defending Mr. Olympia’s who have lost the title over the years might take a 2nd or 3rd, Ramy was relegated to 5th. And even when he returned looking way better, he took 5th again, this time at the second biggest stage in the sport. This is ironic because back when Ramy was in good favor, he was able to look like trash (2021 Olympia) where he still won even though Brandon Curry had put on 20lbs of muscle, brought up his legs (per the judges feedback in 2020), and came in far more conditioned than The Egyptian Phenom. And let’s add that Ramy made no improvements from 2020 to 2021 and was noticeably holding water.
The point is, when Ramy was in good favor, he could still win despite looking like trash and his chief competition looking stellar. And in 2023 even though he looked way better than 2022, he took the exact same placing – this time against lesser quality guys. If that’s not cause for pause, you’re either a federation lackey or just plain stupid.
What’s very noteworthy is that Phil Heath put his confusion on Ramy’s Columbus placing on the record and I applaud him for that. I don’t know who Ramy pissed off and/or how long the dark cloud over him will last, but I’m not the only one who thinks something is up. My guess is that if Ramy tries one more time, and let’s say he looks even better than he did at the 2023 Arnold, and still eats crow, then he’s done. At some point he’ll see the writing on the wall and move on. At least that’s what he should do if he’s smart. Otherwise, I can see him wasting a lot of time and money. No matter what he says and no matter what he does if he’s been deemed never to win again, he will never win again.
That said, Ramy could easily reinvent himself whether using social media or branching out into other endeavors like Phil has. I think after 2020, Phil probably figures he’ll never be Mr. Olympia again, either. No matter what he brings to the stage, his goal of reclaiming the title is a fleeting hope at best. This is why he’s open to coming back, but not necessarily to the Mr. Olympia. That’s smart thinking and I applaud him for that as well.
I could go on and on. I’m just speculating after all, but I do believe there’s some truth in what I’m saying, and I’d like to applaud Phil one more time for raising some pretty controversial questions. I’m sure he’ll be getting a phone call, if he hasn’t already.