by Christian Duque
Dexter “The Blade” Jackson is the winningest pro in the sport of bodybuilding. Having won the 2008 Mr. Olympia, the Masters Olympia, 9 Arnold Classic titles totaling nearly 40 pro titles, his reign of dominance was unlike any other in the sport. The fact that at 50 years of age he nearly won the 2020 Arnold Classic was remarkable. I mean anyone who saw the contest knows that he pushed William “The Conqueror” Bonac to the limit. This was the show where Dexter decimated Big Ramy, who would go onto win the Mr. O six months later.
The Blade could have easily gone another 2, 3, or 4 more years winning big titles and getting top honors at shows all over the world, but his family and close friends wanted him to slow down. They wanted him to enjoy life and a take moment to smell the roses. What was there left to prove? What is there left to prove, now, in 2023?
Some say that Jake [Wood] would have to put up a lot of prize money to make it worth Jackson’s while. Some actually believe that money could pull The Blade out of retirement, but I’d have to vehemently disagree. I think Dexter is financially set and he has no need to put his body through hell and back just to get a check. That aside, what could Jake possibly pay anyways? $50k? $100k? I highly doubt it’ll be more than $35k and to a guy who won the Open O, that’s chump’s change.
Please don’t think I’m calling Wood cheap. He’s anything but that, but Masters Bodybuilding hasn’t been marketed correctly in a long, long time. Some might even argue that the sport left it for dead at the conclusion of the reign of Vince Taylor. That was a LONG time ago! Could I see Jake building the event up and paying $100k in a few years? Sure, but for the very first time? No way.
Jake is losing millions with the Olympia and paid way more than the event is worth. He also got a portfolio of print magazines at a time when print was essentially dead. Then again, all he really wanted was to see the return of the Ms. Olympia so he got a big win there.
That said, no matter how rich a person is, rich people hate losing their shirt as much as poor people do. At some point you come to the realization that you basically got bamboozled. Therefore, throwing a ton of money at an event that’s been collecting dust on the shelf for years is unlikely. Then again, as much as I admire him for all he’s done for muscular women, I think it’s pretty clear he’s not the best businessman so maybe his inner circle will convince him otherwise. Maybe he’ll give away the farm.
Even still, money alone isn’t going to draw Dexter out. No one – actively competing – is dumb enough to talk any kind of shit, either. If they did and somehow managed to piss him off, he’d probably come back just to wipe the floor with everyone!! No one is looking for that kind of smoke. The Masters O would go from being Easy Money to World War Three!! No one will ever forget Frank Zane’s snub of Arnold at the ‘79 Olympia and how The Oak returned in 1980 to make sure Frank didn’t get number 4. No one is looking to get on Dex’s bad side.
I could see Jackson returning if Victor Martinez made a comeback. These two had an interesting rivalry at the Arnold Classic. Both guys pushed each other and dld so in a positive manner. The fans loved seeing them battle on the Columbus stage with the greatest bodybuilder of all time looking on. It made Arnold proud to see guys like Jackson and Martinez win his title. When Nick Walker won, The Oak couldn’t get of the venue fast enough!! So maybe if Vic came back, that might get Dexter to consider a return for old time’s sake.
The lineup would have to be stacked. The 9x Arnold champ wouldn’t be caught dead coming back to compete against a bunch of scrubs. Again, please forgive me if I offend anyone, as all pro’s deserve respect for their accomplishments but when you stand next to Dexter Jackson you’re being compared to a living legend. This is a very unique situation we’re talking about so unless you’re on Dexter’s or Victor’s level you’re going to fade fast. If you can hold your own, that’ll be the highlight of your career. The thing is, Dexter won’t compete unless it’s a challenge for him.
If Dexter comes out of retirement to win a weak show, he’s going to be embarrassed. We’re talking about one of the absolute greats so everything needs to be perfect just to begin to seriously entertain the sheer notion that The Blade might compete.
At this point, I’m largely of a wait and see mindset. Dex looks super healthy, rested, and happy. He’s in phenomenal shape and I’m sure if he just looked at his old diet and old training protocol he’d be ready for the stage in just a few short months. There’s a lot of variables however and a lot of what-if’s. Only time will tell.
What say you? Will Dexter come out of retirement?