by Christian Duque
Bodybuilding fans have taken to social media and the boards with the news that Big Ramy and Chris “The Technician” Aceto are joining forces once again. Ramy started with Chris, then went to Dennis, then to the Camel Crew and then to Chad Nicholls. With Chad he got two Mr. Olympias. That’s something he could never get before and the whole while Dennis was involved.
Some say DJ only helps at the last minute like he did with Dennis Wolf. Others say his role is far more calculating. Whatever DJ’s role may be he comes along for the ride and coaches that want to work with Ramy just need to accept it.
The bottom line is that Ramy never reached his potential with Chris but was young enough where if he’d only stuck it through he may have won the Sandow that much sooner. The problem with Ramy is one that’s shared by many of the top guys. They’re all on the cusp of greatness. Some have size, others have remarkable aesthetics, and a select few have the best of both worlds.
Sometimes the trick can be something as simple as sticking with the plan. We’ve heard it time in and time again that when it comes to The Egyptian Phenom he is more about hand-holding than anything else. We’ve heard rumors that he literally needs to be begged to train. Others have said that he needs a coach that constantly checks up on him. Maybe back in the day Aceto couldn’t offer that level of oversight. I mean he always had a pretty full roster of guys.
That being said there is such a thing as second chances. I could tell Chris was genuinely happy for Ramy’s success. He was happy to see his former client hoist a Sandow and beat top guys. Aceto has helped others reach that pinnacle but he, like the camel crew, missed their chance with Ramy. They had several good years but they just couldn’t tie it all together like Chad had. Chad, there’s a controversial figure in the sport. I mean think about it, there would be no Ronnie Coleman without Chad Nichols. Even Ronnie will you that. It’s not like this coach has an inflated sense of self. He’s an extreme coach that’s been known to push strong cycles, but he brings about results. Whether it’s Ronnie or King Kamali, most people who have worked with The Diet Doc will tell you, he’s the absolute best.
So when Ramy tried his luck with Aceto and the Oxygen Gym crew and kept coming up short, everyone was convinced he’d win with Chad. And that’s exactly what happened. Both guys lived up to the hype.
But just as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Why? Who knows. The fact is Ramy lost the Olympia in a very humiliating way. He didn’t take 2nd or 3rd. As another popular saying goes “you have to knock out a Mr. Olympia to win.” And in 2022, that’s just what happened. I mean taking a close 2nd hardly counts for a knockout. Being Top 3 doesn’t exactly sting that badly, either.
The fact that Ramy lost the title to a midget and got relegated to 5th place is a knockout all day and night. The fact that he tried to regroup and compete at the second biggest show in the sport and did worse is even more telling. But wait, he took 5th there too, how’s that worse? It’s worse because he took 5th to lesser quality guys at the 2023 Arnold than he did at the 2022 Olympia. Whether you blame it on Chad, Ramy, or a little on each, the magic was over. When Ramy skipped the 2023 Olympia it made all the sense in the world but it all but put the final nail in the coffin. People were no longer talking about Ramy’s comeback. In fact, they weren’t talking about Ramy at all.
Ramy needed a rest. That much we can all agree on. He never stopped. Even if he wasn’t competing nonstop, you have to bank on the fact that to keep well over 300lbs of muscle on his frame, he had to have been running a huge amount of supplements. Not only that, but a guy with that size and training as he does, never came off. Even if he wasn’t competing nonstop, his body never really got a break. Once he started winning Olympias then the pressure was on. 2020 was a big year as well. He did the Arnold Classic, won the Olympia, then won again in 2021, and by all accounts hit it really hard in 2022. He had no intention of losing the Sandow, but it’s very possible that from his first NY Pro win all the way to losing the O in 2022, his body just gave out. Maybe he didn’t have any injuries, maybe he didn’t eat the wrong carb, maybe it was just time to take a rest. I mean this guy is no spring chicken.
The question is, does he take a year-plus break, clean out his system, and reboot with the same coach he lost the Olympia with?
I think Ramy wants to turn the page. Perhaps in his mind Chad took him as far as he could. Now he needs to go back to his roots. The break with Chris was amicable. The same can’t be said about his break from the camel crew.
Plus, the Oxygen Gym group has been working faithfully with Brandon Curry for many years. That’s their guy now and they’re not about to put Brandon to the side to work with Ramy. So in a very real way Aceto probably got the job by process of elimination and because of the fact he’s a guru that Ramy respects. It would be interesting if Dennis James oversaw his entire prep, too, but that might be too much pressure for a guy who moonlights as an MC and commentator. I think his preferred role is to chime in from time to time and second guess existing coaches to ensure he has a place in the mix.
Could Ramy win his 3rd Olympia with Chris Aceto? The odds are stacked against him, but they’re also stacked against Hadi, Brandon and any other past Mr. Olympia hoping to win back the title. No one likes to give stats any kind of deference, but in the sixty years of the title, the only past Mr. Olympia that have ever won the Sandow back was Jay Cutler. No else has been able to. Not Ronnie, not Phil, not anyone.
If Ramy has truly rested, if his body responds like it did when he was winning NY Pro’s, and if he can follow Aceto’s plan to the t, then if anything else it’ll make for a very interesting Road To The 2024 Mr. Olympia.
If you talk to guys like Jay Cutler or Jose Raymond, they’ll tell you that The Technician is the man. He’s got a star-studded resume and he has all the knowhow and the familiarity with Ramy and his physique that this partnership may actually bring Ramy back to the stage at 100%.
The question then becomes if a 100% Big Ramy can beat other top guys – like Derek Lunsford – also at 100% in 2024? Only time will tell, but at the very least I can say I’m interested in following this story. Expect more articles throughout the year.
Let’s see what Ramy and Aceto can produce. What do you think?