by Christian Duque
2x Mr. Olympia Big Ramy was the biggest, freakiest bodybuilder at one point in time. Ten years ago ‘ish when he won the NY Pro, he was said to be a future Mr. Olympia. In 2017 when he took 2nd to Phil Heath, everyone expected him to win the title in 2018. Phil was bloated, injured (according to some), and the time had come for him to be toppled. Heath would be toppled but it would be the late, great Shawn “Flexatron” Rhoden that sealed the deal. Ramy lost his way as of 2017, left the camel crew, and had quite a few blunders until 2020.
2020 was a key year. He did the Arnold Classic for the first time and got his ass handed to him by WIlliam “The Conqueror” Bonac and a still-dangerous Dexter “The Blade” Jackson. He was then supposed to do another contest to qualify for the O, but he pulled the Covid card, and was lucky enough to be given a special invite.
I don’t think he looked particularly insane in 2020, but he won the Olympia looking pretty decent. In 2021, for his first title defense he looked like absolute trash and was given another gift. I think he tried to milk it again in 2022, but that was also the year he skipped the President’s show and snubbed him for 10 days without giving any sort of explanation. Some have said that this snub had nothing to do with him losing the title in Vegas, and maybe it didn’t, but Ramy didn’t just lose and take 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th. He lost the title and was relegated to 5th place! I don’t think that’s ever happened to a defending Mr. Olympia. So draw your own conclusions, but the fact of the matter is that Ramy got his ass kicked.
And once Ramy lost the title it only went downhill from there. Although many of the top authorities in the sport admonished him against doing the 2023 Arnold Classic, he looked very good in Columbus, OH. This suggested that maybe what happened in Vegas in 2022 was a fluke, but even though he looked way better in at the ASC, it still wasn’t the Rami of old. So what gives?
Some say Ramy might be injured and undergoing stem cell treatment in exotic destinations around the world. If that’s the case, we hope that he’ll heal up, but even with the vast hopes that are placed in holistic and new age treatments, we’ve never seen anyone come back from serious injuries using that sort of hocus pocus. It does have value and it can help regenerate muscle tissue from what I’ve read, I just don’t know that it’ll restore Ramy to the point he was pre-injury. And that’s only if he’s injured at all. He may not be. Perhaps it’s nothing more than a throwback to all those years where he’d come in off or spill over. Then again, I do think it’s more than that.
Another factor that The Egyptian Phenom can’t escape is the fact he’s no spring chicken anymore. He’s not old but he’s also not young. He’s also lost the Sandow in a really horrible way. Again, whether you’re 2nd or 10th, it usually doesn’t matter. Unless you win the contest you’re not the winner. As much as that I think we all can agree, right? I mean it’s pretty obvious, right? However, when you’re a 2x champion and you’re widely believed to 3-peat and you walk away with a 5th place finish, that’s a colossal failure. Then you regroup and come back looking way better at the 2nd biggest bodybuilding contest in the world and you leave with the same placing as at the biggest bodybuilding show in the world. Not only that, but you take 5th against less quality guys and that spells disaster. Now mind you, some of the guys in Columbus were spot on and ultra-competitive, but when a guy the size of Big Ramy barely beats the lightest guy on stage, The Giant Killer Shaun Clarida, it’s time to seriously reassess. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be something Ramy can do.
Look at what William “The Conqueror” Bonac did after the 2023 Arnold Classic. Bonac is a two-time ASC champ and came up very short at the 2023 Arnold. Instead of regrouping and planning to redeem himself at the 2023 Mr. Olympia, he opted to take the rest of the year off, and come back at his best for the 2024 Arnold Classic. That’s not something Ramy can do. He couldn’t even stay away from the Arnold, just three months after being toppled at the Olympia. I suspect he’s going to keep competing until the wheels fall off and I hope to be wrong.
It would be sad to see Ramy go down the road of 1983 Mr. Olympia Samir Bannout who stopped competing in the late 80’s placing out of the Top 10 at pro shows. Listen, if you love competing and you’re doing it for the love of the sport, then have at it. But I’m not going to sit here and lie to you. Seeing a Mr. O taking shit placings is a bad look. Thankfully Dex retired when he did. When he called it quits at the 2020 Mr. Olympia, he did so taking 9th place. That’s a former Mr. Olympia, a 10x Arnold Classic champion. If he’d competed in 2021 or 2022, he may have been outside the Top 10. Thank God he retired when he did.
Ramy can’t stop. And maybe if he did, he could save his career, skip the Olympia, skip next year’s Arnold, and maybe do the 2024 Olympia totally rested, healed up, and revived. Sadly, that’s just not going to happen. And I don’t think his coach is going to advise him that way, either. Hopefully his son won’t get in my face for my position, but I just don’t see Chad telling Ramy to take a break and let his body heal like William Bonac is doing. It may also be time to retire for the 2x Mr. Olympia.
One thing’s for sure and that’s that no one is talking about Big Ramy. He’s posting less than ever, the media has practically written him off, and except for a minor spot in Olympia promotions Ramy is out of sight and out of mind for most bodybuilding fans. If you were to poll most fans, in whatever country and of whatever age at the present time, none would put Ramy over Dauda, Walker, Lunsford, Choopan and maybe not over Curry, either. Ramy is largely living off his past and he’s not in a position where he’s gaining any new fans. This has got to have registered with him and even though he’s one of the nicest guys, I can’t imagine he’s taking it well. He’s regressing in terms of his placings, the quality of his physique, and with his reach with the fans.
The 2023 Olympia is going to be a very interesting year for Ramy. Will it be his return to greatness? Will it be the reality check that makes him seriously consider retirement? What say you?