Evolution of Bodybuilding

Gary Strydom talks about the WBF… the controversies, steroids and money

Gary Strydom talk


Gary Strydom talks about the WBF… the controversies, steroids and money.

Gary Strydom was a huge name in the bodybuilding world in the late 90’s, especially with the IFBB.

Gary had a fantastic physique, many believe his week point was his back, but Gary still managed to earn some great results.

In 1990, Gary decided to sign up with the new federation at that time run by wrestling promoter and owner of the WWE, Vince McMahon. The bodybuilding federation was called the WBF (World Bodybuilding Federation).

It is believed that Gary was paid in the region of $350,000 to $400,000 per year. He signed for a three year contract. In 1990 this was crazy money, especially for a bodybuilder and the IFBB was not paying their athletes that kind of money and many did not even have a contract.

A number of other bodybuilding greats crossed over to the WBF, such as Berry De Mey, Mike Christian, Danny Padilla, Lou Ferrgino, Eddie Robinson, Mike Quinn and a number others.

Gary was the poster boy of the WBF, he was on the majority of their magazine covers and as well he was the WBF World Champion for the two years they were in business.

Strydom turned to his social media to deny certain claims that were made on a recent Youtube video by Nicks’s Strength and Power.

Nick produced a good feature on Gary’s time with the WBF, but certain points mentioned in the video were denied by the bodybuilding champion.

The first point that Gary said was false was that Vince McMahon did not create the WBF to take down the IFBB, he created the WBF to give bodybuilders another option and to give something different to the fans.

Gary believes the IFBB Pro athletes today should be thankful that Vince did this because after the WBF bodybuilders started to get contracts with the IFBB Pro and were earning money. Gary does state that the Weider’s could not match what Vince offered him, so he left. It was a business decision for himself and for his career. Gary insists he still loves and respects the Weider’s for what they created with the IFBB.

Gary also denies another incident that Nick mentions in his video. Nick said that Vince skipped Gary when it came to drug testing.

This is what Gary had to say about the matter in his own words:

“The only thing I must repute is the fact that Vince let me skip the drug testing? That’s false. I think all of that finger pointing to this was due to how Vince manipulated me in a meeting in a conference room in LA (With all the other athletes present) where he asked me in the meeting if I would do a drug test. I said yes (All the guys thought I knew something and suspected I was using a secret drug including Louie) I only agreed like that because he had threatened me on the phone the week before that I had to do it or forfeit my remaining contract. I called his buff and refused only to find out that he would’ve halted those payments. I thought it would hurt the federation and thought it would hurt the show but in the end I understood why he did it. He had no choice. Actually, he tested me more intensely than any other athlete. He couldn’t afford to keep me around because even off all the gear I still appeared in the “form” that could have been perceived that I was still on the gear. During these FBI investigations and false claims made that he sold steroids to the athletes he had no choice but to clean everyone up around him. It was bullshit he never sold anything and never encourage anyone to do anything but work hard. Hulk Hogan made that shit up and in my mind the famous Hulk Hokkie still remains to be a f#ckin punk in my mind for doing that to Vince. So yea Vince wanted everything related to steroids away from the parent company as it could have taken everything down.”

The drug investigation by the FBI could of also brought down vince McMahon’s super successful wrestling federation, so he basically removed anything that would give the authorities suspect of athletes using steroids, even though they were clean, their look still gave this indication.

Gary also emphasizes that Vince McMahon is a man of his word for the fact that when the WBF closed down after only two years, Gary still had a third year on his contract. Obviously one would expect not to get paid, but Gary has said that Vince paid him his full contract even though they did not work in the third year.

Even though many bodybuilders today said they were happy not to make the move to the WBF, in reality Gary Strydom made more money in three years than some of the best bodybuilders even today would every make in their entire career.

In his comments as well, Gary emphasized that “Bodybuilding should not be something that shortens your life it should enhance and extend your life.”

Gary basically disappeared from the sport afterwards, only competing a few times with the IFBB. Gary said that the sport was getting to ‘toxic’ and he wanted to have a long and healthy life.

It’s great to hear directly from the athletes about their time with the WBF. At the time it looked as it was going to bring the entertainment factor to the bodybuilding world. A new federation and a new magazine was a bold move by Vince McMahon.

Vince definitely had the funds to continue if he wanted to, but when it was going to start to effect the super successful wrestling federation, Vince decided to pull the plug on his bodybuilding dream.

Fast forward to 2018. Not only are their more than two federations, but the IFBB and IFBB Pro League have went their separate ways. Bodybuilders have the choice to follow their dream to compete at the Olympia contest, or they can compete with the IFBB and compete in the new IFBB Elite Pro League.

The full explanation from Gary Strydom:

Vince did not focus on taking the IFBB down he wanted to create something else instead of just the IFBB for bodybuilders. Every bodybuilder at this time should be thankful as it forced the Weider’s to pay their athletes more money. Of course they wouldn’t match what I got offered so I left. It was a business move. I loved Joe, Ben was another story. THANKS NICK NICE VIDEO!!! The only thing I must repute is the fact that Vince let me skip the drug testing? That’s false. I think all of that finger pointing to this was due to how Vince manipulated me in a meeting in a conference room in LA (With all the other athletes present) where he asked me in the meeting if I would do a drug test.
I said yes (All the guys thought I knew something and suspected I was using a secret drug including Louie) I only agreed like that because he had threatened me on the phone the week before that I had to do it or forfeit my remaining contract. I called his buff and refused only to find out that he would’ve halted those payments. I thought it would hurt the federation and thought it would hurt the show but in the end I understood why he did it.
He had no choice. Actually, he tested me more intensely than any other athlete. He couldn’t afford to keep me around because even off all the gear I still appeared in the “form” that could have been perceived that I was still on the gear. During these FBI investigations and false claims made that he sold steroids to the athletes he had no choice but to clean everyone up around him. It was bullshit he never sold anything and never encourage anyone to do anything but work hard. Hulk Hogan made that shit up and in my mind the famous Hulk Hokkie still remains to be a f#ckin punk in my mind for doing that to Vince. So yea Vince wanted everything related to steroids away from the parent company as it could have taken everything down. Also, I had that third year and it could have been a way to escape payment for that last year. In the end in good faith he paid everything out in full to me. So I got 3 years of monies for 2 years of work.
I think it was a great decision to go with the WBF. No regrets. I did deliver in those 2 years and would have delivered for him in the third year. Actually, I was looking forward to the show down with the Incredible Hulk/ Lou Ferrigno. Louie pulled out of that last show??? ALL I GOT TO SAY IS VINCE IS A MAN OF HIS WORD SO I ONLY HAVE GOOD THINGS TO SAY ABOUT VINCE!!! I basically did not compete all those extra years because I found competitive bodybuilding very toxic and wanted to preserve the quality of the later years of my life. I paced myself and it’s essentially the reason why am alive and well today.
I started bodybuilding because I loved the lifestyle and it turned into a profession that created income. I milked it for that and had fun along the way. My history in the sport is etched into the sport because of the WBF and the IFBB. Am forever grateful to both federations and will always cherish all the friends I made and the wonderful places I went to because of bodybuilding. God bless all of you and take care of yourselves. Remember this: For all of those bodybuilders out there young and old… Bodybuilding should not be something that shortens your life it should enhance and extend your life.