Reigning Mr. Olympia Hadi Choopan is livid as he’s becoming increasingly isolated from the bodybuilding world. He’s made repeated comments such as “this is my time” in response to the media’s fascination with guys like his runner-up Derek Lunsford, former Arnold Classic champion Nick Walker, and 2023 Arnold champ Samson Dauda. He’s also lashed out indirectly at several outlets for overlooking him. That said, The Persian Wolf has only himself to blame. He’s taken isolation to levels we haven’t seen since the Dorian Yates 1990’s. Even back then it was a problem as the magazines took exception with the fact that they were clueless as to The Shadow’s plans. They didn’t even know where he was most of the time. They just assumed that he was in his dungeon gym, putting on size, and never skipping a meal. If it wasn’t for his DVD’s you wouldn’t see or hear from Yates between Olympias. Hadi, on the other hand, is active on social media, but that’s about it. He routinely posts training footage and will speak to his fans (in Farsi for the most part), but he’s been doing that for years. And even his social media postings have come under scrutiny as many fans aren’t sure if his progress photos are current or blasts from the past.
While it makes perfect sense for Choopan not to compete on other stages – even at the 2023 Arnold Classic – that doesn’t excuse him from showing up at big shows or expos. Not only wasn’t he in Columbus this year, he also wasn’t billed to appear at Jim Manion’s Pittsburgh Pro. Between Columbus and Pittsburgh he could have made up a ton of lost ground and received a boatload of press. Instead the reigning Mr. O simply posts on Instagram and occasionally is featured on his sponsor’s platforms. That’s not growing bodybuilding and it’s certainly not cutting it for his own fanbase. This is why no one talks about him. Even Big Ramy posed in the Burgh this year. Where was Hadi?
You simply cannot be a ghost in 2023. You have got to make appearances. And these “appearances” can be as simple as Derek and Samson hitting some poses in a gym with some phones and cameras running. You don’t even have to go to expos, but you have got to get out there. Hadi could be guest posing all over the world for big money, but he’s not. He could have DVD’s out or streams – he doesn’t have any. He could do seminars – he’s not doing those, either. In fact, Hadi has done a worse job growing bodybuilding than Ramy did. And believe you me I didn’t even think that was possible.
Just a day ago, Nick “The Mutant” Walker went so far as to officially state that Choopan will be “a one hit wonder.” Only time will tell if that’s the case, but we need Mr. O’s like Brandon Curry, Jay Cutler, and Ronnie Coleman. We need champs who will do right by the fans and really pound the pavement AND work social media. They need to be everywhere.
Mr. Olympia is SUPPOSED to be bodybuilding’s ambassador to the world. I wonder if Hadi knows that?