The question of whether or not 2x Mr. Olympia Big Ramy should or should not retire is an interesting one. After losing the title at the 2022 Olympia and being relegated to 5th place, The Egyptian Phenom tried to regain lost ground by earning a decisive victory at the second biggest bodybuilding show in the world at the 2023 Arnold Classic. Despite the fact most of the media discouraged the former champ from competing so soon after the O, he pressed forward and was poised to win in Columbus, OH. In fact, The Oak himself was taking selfies as the defeated Mr. Olympia hit poses on stage. It made many remember the days when Arnold would do the same with the late great Cedric McMillan. Sadly, Ramy took the same placing at the 2023 Arnold as he did at the 2022 Olympia, only for the later contest he lost to guys he placed ahead of at the ’22 O. In fact, 212 Mr. Olympia Shaun Clarida nearly knocked him off.
I think that the decision of retirement is for Ramy and Ramy only. His chief concern should be his health. If the stem cell treatment he’s rumored to have didn’t work and if his body is in any kind of pain, he needs to seriously evaluate what competing is worth to him. If he is injured or he is in pain and wants to keep at it, he should come up with a game plan where he competes only once a year. Maybe that’s the Olympia or maybe it’s a smaller show. Doing two huge shows (Olympia and Arnold) in one year is a mistake. In all honesty, he really should consider skipping the 2023 Olympia. Look at Phil Heath. He came back in 2020, took a strong 3rd, and has sat out the last two O’s. He may very well come back and win his 8th Sandow, but he’s not going to do it through burning himself out. If anything Ramy needs a break.
If there are no health concerns, then maybe he can do multiple shows a year, but there still needs to be a game plan. If he’s going to keep competing he should set a standard. If he starts placing out of the Top 6, that should be immediate grounds to retire. A former Mr. Olympia shouldn’t be taking poor placings. Top 10 is really the breaking point. There were contests in the 90’s where 1983 Mr. Olympia Samir Bannout took 14th place. We don’t need to see that again. A Mr. O needs to know when it’s time to hang ’em up. You were once the #1 bodybuilder in the world. You can’t be seen taking 14th place – ever!
Ramy remains a fan favorite and he’s known to be a competitor who sells lots of tickets. He’s a fixture of the fitness industry and has become of one of the most beloved champions on social media since Jay Cutler. Although he’s a man of few words, he’s a bona fide freak, and a sizeable number of bodybuilding fans simply can’t get enough of that look. Additionally, Ramy commands huge support in Egypt and throughout the Middle East.
While Hadi Choopan has a world of support from Persia and beyond, it’s a little different in the Arab world. We could delve into the reasons why, but let’s not. Ramy, on the other hand, is bigger in that region than sliced bread. He could be 1st, 5th, or 9th at the O or the Arnold and he’ll always be a rockstar there. Moreover, there are growing rumors that Jake Wood may be selling the Olympia to investors in Dubai or Kuwait. If that ever happens, Ramy’s fanbase would double or triple, as the Olympia would likely be held in his backyard. Why would investors in Dubai buy the Olympia and have it in Vegas or Orlando?
Still, there’s at least some speculation that Ramy’s fall from power was, in part, a result of his snub of NPC and IFBB Pro League President Jim Manion. The Pittsburgh Pro sees all the top bodybuilders come and guest pose, most especially the reigning Mr. Olympia. Not only was Ramy supposed to appear at the 2022 Pittsburgh Pro, but he never showed up, and he didn’t bother to give an explanation until 10 days later. For 10 days, Jim Manion looked like an asshole to the bodybuilding world. And when Ramy did break his silence, he gave a half-assed explanation as to why he was a no-show.
I, for one, said on various articles and videos that Ramy would not win the Olympia for a 3rd consecutive time as a result of the snub. The bosses pride themselves on loyalty and respect (Godfather theme music playing in the background; Lol). The top bodybuilder in the world snubs the boss of all bosses and there’s no payback? I don’t think so, paisan!
While “the voice of bodybuilding” seems to think there’s absolutely zero validity to even speculating as to the payback angle, the fact it’s the subject of his last video is certainly cause for pause. After all, it’s widely speculated that Bob unofficially speaks for the two biggest physique-based federations in the world. Very few people are as close to and/or important to Jim Manion as Bob Cicherillo is. The former Mr. USA and former Mr. Masters World is considered a top authority in the sport, far more important to the organization than some bottom feeder zone chairman or random emcee. When Bob speaks the fitness industry listens so to have the theory I pushed hardest be the central theme of his current video is extremely humbling. I’ll never forget it.
“To actually think there’s some conspiracy to take him out of position because he didn’t show up for guest posing is ludicrous. It’s just comical at best. You guys gotta do better than that.”– Robert “Bob” Cicherillo – The Voice Of Bodybuilding
The truth of the matter is that I’ve been fighting the urge to pen an article on this topic for days. Kudos to Kevin Grech of EvolutionOfBodybuilding for being the first. Then Dave Palumbo made a video, followed by Nick Trigili. Muscular Development made videos too. Finally, Bob made a video. Only Bob’s video took direct aim at an angle that I’m pretty sure I was the first and probably most vocal to raise. I raised it on StrengthAddicts and on Iron Magazine so the fact he put it on blast, prompted this article.
The media is all over the question of Ramy’s retirement and The Egyptian Phenom hasn’t been spared from feeling the need to speak up. Although he’s asserted he won’t be retiring, he must find himself in a very frustrating mindset. Just four months ago he was headed to winning his 3rd Olympia. Today, he looks back at a bad Olympia outing, a not so good Arnold one, and the whole world of bodybuilding wanting to know if his career is over.
Only time will tell what Big Ramy’s next move is. What say you?