|In Response to Jeff Wright's (Video) Rant
by Christian Duque
As many of you have probably heard, there's a somewhat new video rant
that's gone viral on facebook. In it, NPC Bodybuilder Jeff Wright takes
aim at the [new] Classic Men's Physique Division, but also takes potshots
at [traditional] Men's Physique & [women's] Bikini. It should be noted that
the premise of the video is to project Wright's seemingly heartfelt
frustration at the alleged wrongs committed against bodybuilding &
bodybuilders in the fitness industry thanks to the presence of less than
noteworthy divisions in Men's Physique & Bikini. The presenter makes a
series of incendiary, largely baseless accusations. He's so clueless that at
no point in the 10+ minutes does he ever he called the new division, the
division who seemingly inspired this rant, by it's correct name. It's Classic
Men's Physique in the U.S.; it's Classic Bodybuilding in Europe.
I debated whether or not to write this article. So many people that I have
come to like & respect have publicly "liked" this video & hundreds have left
comments (the vast majority of which are supportive). The video is being
shared & re-posted. But did anyone ever bother to ask for proof? Of
course not. Why ask for proof? It's on facebook - so it must be true...
|1:10 - (Bikini) "How do you improve in bikini? If you're ugly you're ugly.. you never win."
Aside from Jeff's male chauvinistic & off-base perception of the Bikini Division, there is a scoring criteria - and
looks have no bearing on the cards. In fact, what are looks, anyways? If anything, they're merely one person's
subjective assessment of another person's outward appearance. The idea that bikini athletes are basically beauty
pageant contestants or that bikini competitions are nothing more than T&A showcases is wholly inaccurate &
patently offensive. In eight years of running StrengthAddicts.com, I have interviewed countless hard-working
Bikini athletes. They're homemakers, career professionals (including doctors, attorneys, engineers, etc), & cancer
survivors, just to name a few. The ultimate insult to these women is to question whether or not they're athletes. It's
a sad commentary when it's an NPC bodybuilder looking down at them, their sacrifices, & their efforts at earning
the coveted IFBB Pro card.
3:30 - (on Men's Physique) "I get it..., it's bringing a ton of money to the organization; that's why you'll never
hear any Pros ever say anything bad about it... but guess what, the money isn't going back to the athletes
anymore. Nobody is getting supplement contracts anymore, they're being dropped like flies."
In this quote, Mr. Wright cites the story of one unnamed athlete in an unnamed magazine. The athlete in question
told the reporter that because he couldn't build legs for bodybuilding, he opted for MPD & was able to earn a pro
card. Jeff uses that sole example as a premise to implying that most competitors in Men's Physique are not
talented. Later he avers that Men's Physique competitors are ruining the supplement game for bodybuilders.
He calls his MPD colleagues "these little pansy boys with the board shorts," and goes on to say that a supplement
company can "scoop up 10 of them for half the price of a top bodybuilder." He then does a ridiculous imitation of
what he deems to be the typical MPD competitor accepting a contract for supplements only. Finally, Jeff clearly &
plainly accuses MPD Competitors of "ruining it for everybody," adding that "the prestige is dead."
This again is baseless. Based on what data can Jeff make bold statement such as this. How many big supplement
companies have dropped major bodybuilders, opting instead for a stable of MPD competitors? I'm a firm believer
that if you're going to make a statement, you should have the facts to back it up. The idea of scapegoating MPD or
Bikini for the shortcoming of bodybuilding is weak. It's just as weak as being awarded a tenth place medal.
If Jeff states that companies are signing MPD & Bikini ATHLETES to contracts, how then can he say "the money
isn't going back to the athletes anymore." That's because Jeff, based on his video, does not believe anyone
besides bodybuilders to be athletes. And this video has received 90,000+ views?
His attacks against the NPC & IFBB also do not go unnoticed. The same tired, old attack about $$. The federations
didn't create new divisions because the CARD CARRYING MEMBERS asked. They didn't start the divisions
because the PEOPLE have been begging for it for years. Of course not, the powers that be only had one
motivation - money. Come on!! When does that anti-NPC/IFBB bullshit start to get old? These divisions are here
because mainstream society simply does not want to look like today's bodybuilders. I'm sorry; it's just the reality. If
we are to truly promote fitness & healthy eating & supplementation, we need physiques that inspire people. If you
honesty don't think that new divisions are stacked with talent - from Sadik to DLB to Ashley Kaltwassar & Michelle
Lewin, then you're completely & utterly DELUSIONAL.
4:50 (on CMP) "It shouldn't go back to the days of Arnold. It should be advanced like everything else."
The idea that today's bodybuilding is "advanced" as compared to the look of Arnold, Sergio, Zane, Robby
Robinson, or Samir Bannout is patently absurd. Mr. Wright does make a distinction; he is ready to mark down
distended stomachs, but that's about it. He also praises the physique of Cedric McMillan, calling him "an
evolutioned Arnold." (Evolutioned is not a word, but thats ok). At this point, Jeff still talking about Cedric, states
"wouldn't he be the face of Classic [Physique] Bodybuilding?" He then suggests that if Cedric were to drop to CMP
and win the CMP Mr. Olympia, that he would be rewarded for conditioning that didn't cut it in bodybuilding. In other
words, CMP (like MPD) is a division for losers. That's basically the gist of what Jeff is saying throughout the video.
I get that Jeff made this video back in September, but it's gone viral today. His commentary was as foolish then, as
it is presently. It's a timeless in its stupidity. I have never heard anyone call today's bodybuilding "advanced,"
when comparing it to that of the 70's & early 80's. Classic MPD is drawing big names like Darrem Charles (hardly
someone who Wright could accuse of not having the muscle, symmetry, or conditioning of the best bodybuilders
on the planet). The new division has also sparked some interest by recently retired IFBB Pro Mark Sindayen - a
natural who comes in ripped to shreds, has beautiful shape, & is a master poser. It's also caught the attention of
2014 Team Universe Overall Winner, IFBB Pro RD Caldwell Jr. - another natty, known for his extreme strength,
thick muscle density, and classic posing. There are also some key NPC athletes looking at the division, including
NPC Bodybuilder Jerome Dinh - one of the most sought after, most sponsored, and most praised athletes in the
business. Dinh has a look that screams 1970's. In fact, he may very well be the next Sadik Hadzovic.
The decision to compete in CMP is not a shortcut for bodybuilders who couldn't hack it, rather, it's an alternative
for bodybuilders and MPD competitors who are trying to achieve a look that's truly aesthetic & inspiring. It's
something the fans & talking heads have been dreaming of for years. To suggest that creating a Golden Era
physique is somehow rewarding lackluster bodybuilding shortcomings is once again, an absurdity.
6:50 (discussing the amount of Pro Cards being issued to for non-bodybuilding divisions in the NPC)
Here, Jeff states that these people don't even know what "IFBB" stands for and they don't even know who the
reigning Mr. Olympia is, stating "how sick is that." He remind us all that, "if there were no Mr. Olympia Open
Bodybuilding, there would be no Bikini, no MPD, none of that shit."
The idea that a competitor, particularly an IFBB Pro, doesn't know what the abbreviation for his/her federation
means is, again, patently absurd. All IFBB Pro's take great pride in promoting the federation, as well as the sport
throughout the world; to suggest anything different, is simply laughable.
And while it is true that [open] bodybuilding is the flagship division, calling any other division 'shit' is hardly
appropriate - personal opinion or not. In fact, Mr. Wright may never be ready for a Pro Card b/c this
attitude/agenda he's pushing hurts the very sport he's allegedly concerned with saving. There is a desire that Pros
be AMBASSADORS and there's absolutely nothing ambassadorial (or even respectful) about his video.
7:45 Jeff states "I think the only people that should [go pro] are those who win the entire show." He
also states that if you're in your class & lose, "you can't be in five other classes."
This position flies straight in the face of historic NPC guidelines. If we were to apply Wright's position, then class
winners at the NPC Nationals would not be worthy of a Pro Card (because they didn't "win the whole show"). Older
competitors could not compete in more than one class at NPC Masters Nationals, either. In fact, class winners at
Team Universe would also be ineligible, unless they won the overall.
It's mind-boggling to me that over 1,000 key people in the industry have "liked" this video. I guess people will like
anything. It's really pretty depressing that so many people are praising this nonsense.
At 8:28 (talking about bodybuilding muscle & his male customers at GNC) Jeff states: "he'd rock that shit; he'd
be making selfies every five seconds in the bathroom."
Again, this quote shows just how detached Jeff Wright is. The idea that the average GNC customer would love
nothing more than to look like a Pro Bodybuilder is asinine. Our sport is not breaking into the mainstream because
of bodybuilding; it's MPD, Bikini, and in some cases Figure that are bringing in new fans in droves. Go to any local
or regional show of any quality, and you'll see that the MOST competitive (& popular) divisions are MPD & Bikini.
These divisions also bring the fans, sell the tickets, & give promoters a great program to sell to would-be sponsors
& vendors. In fact, some Pro shows have opted to include MPD and leave bodybuilding out.
The 250+ lb, lats like carpet rolls under each arm, & no neck look is actually not going to open doors in the
business world, either. I love bodybuilding & happen to think the look is mighty cool, but when people walk in to
Wright's GNC and stress they don't want to get big like a bodybuilder, he shouldn't second guess them. They're
not lying & his counter arguments do little to change my opinion.
At 8:55 (on drugs) Jeff states "most of these bikini girls & MPD guys are on the cycles just as big as the
I've met countless MPD IFBB Pro's that don't juice at all. I collaborate with more IFBB Bikini Pros who are 100%
natural than I can even try to count. But let's play along. There's PED's in every sport, from MLB to table tennis to
fitness. To suggest that a 5'0, 110lb bikini competitor is taking the same cycle as say Bostin Loyd, is quite frankly
ridiculous. It's points like these that really seal the deal that Jeff doesn't know if he's on foot or horseback. He's
recycling a lot of tired old rhetoric mixed in with raw emotion & off the cuff anecdotes that don't really say much.
At 11:40 Jeff states that the NPC are "handing out pro cards like Tics Tacs."
This is another tired, recycled point of contention used often by anti-NPC/IFBB elements to discredit newer
divisions. There are countless highly talented, hard-working competitors, from Russell Mania to Logan Barnhart,
fighting tooth & nail prep after prep vying for a pro card. It's insulting to suggest that the MPD Pro card is not a
In conclusion, I think it's very depressing to see divisions attacking each other. It's counterproductive & downright
negative. Every division is important in its own right. All NPC & IFBB competitors are most certainly ATHLETES. I'm
still not sure of Jeff's intentions with this video. I feel that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but to see a video like
this go viral is utterly depressing. I hope people reflect on this article.
|Before I delve into this article, I'd like to give my detractors some material.
I'm not a competitor. I wouldn't call myself a bodybuilder at the moment.
What I am, however, is a writer in the fitness industry, a super-fan, & a
huge supporter of the NPC & IFBB. I see a video like this, getting the
reaction it has, and I feel a great disservice has been done to the sport.
It's my intention to have you read some of the nonsense Mr. Wright
published. It's a lot more reflective to read something in black & white than
to subconsciously take it in when a fast talker is at work. I honestly don't
think that the vast majority of those who praising Jeff's facebook tirade
believe that bikini competitors and Men's Physique competitors are not
athletes. Perhaps Wright is tapping into more of an entertainment value.
Maybe people enjoy the fairy tale because it's funny to see a guy who
barely clears the light switch coming apart such as he does over a whole
of nothing. If Cervantes could entertain millions over time with tales of Don
Quixote fighting windmills, maybe today's bodybuilding audience is
entertained by baseless, divisive rants. Let's break this video down.
|Going strong since 2008!!