by Christian Duque
Variety is the spice of life. I truly believe this and what I may think looks great, others may argue to the contrary. That being said after covering physique-based sports for nearly fifteen years I can say that I have a pretty good idea of what divisions make money and which do not. And while purists of the sport may not think much of looking at muscle strictly through a financial lens, that’s precisely what promoters must do each and every time they plan a contest.
This is why over the years we’ve seen less and less contests offer divisions like female bodybuilding and fitness. Fitness, especially, is a hard sale at smaller contests where there’s just no demand for the division. Plus since most shows are now national qualifiers, you might get a local contest where a bikini or figure competitor opts to cross over into fitness, is the only competitor, and wins a national qualification. I’ve seen this happen on a number of occasions and I’ve seen these same poor souls get washed off regional and national stages when they take their utter lack of experience against actual fitness competitors. It’s a slaughter. And aside from the embarrassment the competitor(s) face, it’s also an investment blunder for the poor promoter who offers a division that draws one or two bodies, total.
Good promoters listen to the people. They read the articles, watch videos, and listen to their veteran competitors. If a promoter has guys and gals who have been doing his/her shows for years all of a sudden start clamoring about a new division they’ll take note. That said I can’t imagine any guy I know pushing for Men’s Wellness – anywhere.
And you guys know that I covered contests throughout the United States and I was able to witness competitors lobbying the Federation for divisions like Men’s Physique, Bikini, Classic Physique, and then Wellness. All of those divisions made sense and they all represented a category of physique that was carried by large numbers of men and women. It was also a look that a lot of competitors would want to grow into. But just because you have Bikini on one side (women) doesn’t mean it should be automatically on the other (men). There are divisions that just don’t translate. It’s like 212. For 212 it makes sense for the men, but that doesn’t mean there should be a female version of it.
Then again if there’s money to be made, it’ll be made. The sheer shock value of the Men’s Wellness Division cannot be argued at this point. It seems like everyone is talking about it. And even though everyone is saying it’s a hard pass or that it’ll never happen, it’s being talked about. I could see guys doing this as a goof. Others might do it just to get hits. I mean we know of people eating freeze dried scorpions for hits, so who would be that surprised to see a guy in female Wellness bottoms posing down in front of the judges?
We also know of quite a few guys that can’t earn a pro card in either bodybuilding, classic, or MPD. Would these guys subject themselves to competing in a male booty division for a pro card? I think we also know the answer to that.
Even still, assuming that competitors signed up to compete in Men’s Wellness who would want to see it? That’s where the real issue is in my opinion.
No one is going to sit there and watch this. Even though it might present some earning opportunities for promoters, maybe suit designers, I can’t imagine many audience members sitting still to watch a bunch of guys that look like women from the waist down posing on stage. It would be a very bizarre look and I honestly think that many folks would take issue with the sport not being family friendly. I know that seems bizarre since it would be a division like any other – at least conceptually – but I don’t think it would be smooth sailing in places like The Bible Belt. And that’s considering that Bikini got off to a rough start as well in places such as that.
Take Kentucky, where I’m at, I think Men’s Wellness would create quite a backlash. Not only do I not see it being offered here but I could see people actually boycott contests that dared offer it. Again, it would just be another physique-based division on paper, but I think it would push all the wrong buttons in a lot of people. And others might just get up and leave the venue.
If promoters forced the audience to stay or to watch, by wedging it in between popular divisions like Bikini and Wellness, people would be up in arms. The same could be said if they made it the first division to go while bigger divisions had to wait. There’s any number of ways for promoters to force an audience to watch a division or a presentation they don’t want to see, but most people would take to social media and start hitting up the state chair and the national headquarters of whatever fed sanctioned the contest.
Ultimately it comes down to customer service, demand, and profitability. I don’t see Men’s Wellness doing right on any of those fronts by promoters or organizations.
What should also be noted is that while this news story is real it may not represent the position of any federation. This may simply be the case of a promoter or maybe a group of promoters trying something new. In which case it may never see the light of day. Then again, I don’t think any promoter – in any federation – would dare offer an entire division out of thin air. That’s just asking for all types of disciplinary action, not to mention losing their sanction altogether.
Only time will tell where and when Men’s Wellness gets launched. Will it ever be a thing in the United States? I HIGHLY doubt it, but if there’s money to be made and enough people are willing to compete for fame, fortune, and/or a pro card, then Men’s Wellness may be a thing pretty much anywhere and everywhere.
What’s your take on the idea of this new division? Do you think that whatever division women have men should have too and vice versa? What say you?
As always thanks for reading my article, here, at Iron Magazine. I look forward to reading your feedback in the comments. Also, if you’re looking for some pretty lively debate copy and paste a link to this article on your social media feeds and get ready for people to lose their sh*t!