IFBB International-IFBB Pro League
These last recent weeks have been probably the most delicate in the sport of bodybuilding and fitness in recent years.
The split between the IFBB International and IFBB Pro League/NPC has not gone as smoothly as one would think.
Evolution of Bodybuilding.net has no contract or obligation to side with any organisation, but we have a right to express our thoughts regardless of what other people think.
The IFBB Pro League/NPC are saying that they are your only ticket to the Mr. Olympia stage.
Now, if you don’t compete with the NPC in the USA or internationally, you will not have a chance to compete in the Olympia or in any Pro League shows.
On the other hand, IFBB International has reconstructed their association to make the IFBB Elite Pro League, adding prize money to every show they have.
New pro cards are being handed out and a point system was introduced.
According to recent reports, the NPC will be organising four shows in the UK in 2018, giving the opportunity to any amateur athlete from any organization to compete with them.
The IFBB International has strict rules when it comes to competing with different organizations, the NPC are trying to take advantage of this rule to attract more competitors to their organization.
As the Amateur Olympia is popping up everywhere, the IFBB International Ben Weider Diamond Cup competition is also becoming a popular fixture. So regardless what the NPC or Olympia organization do, the IFBB International will continue to function as normal.
Before the split, the NPC were suspended by the IFBB due to rules being broken during the Olympia amateur show in Vegas a couple of days before the 2017 Olympia Weekend.
Some say that the NPC split with the IFBB before the suspension; whatever the case is, the rules were broken. IFBB International are also insisting that other rules were broken.
Proof was given as to how some judges were treated at what was to be an international show run under IFBB International.
Then the split was announced a few days later.
Going back a week before this happened, AMI (American Media Incorporated) purchased what was left of the IFBB shares in Olympia. So now, AMI owns full rights to the Olympia brand along with Flex and Muscle and Fitness magazines (We will get back to this further in the article).
Now, athletes in Europe, the Arab states, Turkey, Persians, Kuwait and other countries have to decide whether they will compete in the prestigious World Championships or the Diamond Cup series of the IFBB International or the new NPC shows to try to win a pro card in either division.
NPC is insisting that ‘If you win… You’re in’ to try and convince athletes it is the only way to the Olympia stage. This is true… but how many athletes from the nations we mentioned will have the chance to make it to the USA? As we have seen in recent competitions, some of the best athletes in the world could not even get a visa to get into the USA. What use is it to have an IFBB Pro card if you can compete in the so-called biggest competition in the world?
Getting back to the IFBB International. Yes, they have very strict rules and, on occasion, problems have occurred. But they are the biggest bodybuilding federation in the world and nobody can take this away from them. A dream of Joe and Ben Weider that managed to become reality.
We should not forget that last year, NPC faced their own controversy when a high-ranked official, Lee Thompson, created his own federation called the NSL. Lee went on a crusade revealing a number of insider details which ended with both associations battling it out in court.
IFBB International is affiliated with 190 national Federations and is recognized by over 90 Olympia Committees.
It can no longer send athletes to the Olympia with this split, but they do have the World Championships, European Championships and the Diamond Cup series that has become very popular. These competitions are very prestigious and many athletes dream of competing in these events.
In recent weeks, supporters of the IFBB Pro League/NPC seem to have forgotten that some of the best athletes in the world, who are now competing in the IFBB Pro League, came from the IFBB International World Championships. Not all the best athletes in the world have come through the NPC.
The level of bodybuilding and fitness with IFBB International is very high and some argue it is at a higher level than the NPC.
At the 2017 Mr. Olympia, the presentation of some physiques was unacceptable for a show that is supposed to be the best of the best. It makes you appreciate the amateur level that much more, since the physiques are much more refined.
Some of the NPC pundits should get out of their comfort zone and check out the level at the IFBB World or European Championships before they trash IFBB International.
The Olympia has become a monopoly run by certain figures who are in it just for the money.
At the 2017 Olympia weekend, we were shocked to find out after the show ended that some of the biggest bodybuilding media companies were not given press accreditation for the event.
What has the sport come to? Do you have to kiss ass and bow your head to everything AMI/Olympia says to earn a press pass to cover a contest and promote the sport?
God forbid you mention them in a bad way… because you will not get a press pass to the Olympia… so what?
We are here to give praise and criticise when it is needed. We will not suck up to anybody.
An athlete signs with AMI Flex… you cannot interview him, so what is the use?
What is the use of having a Mr. Olympia winner when he cannot express himself to all the press? The only way to do this is shoot out a tweet and hopefully you get an answer.
In the near future, Flex magazine and Flex Online will most probably be the only media outlets given press freedom. AMI own the Olympia and Flex, so it only makes sense for them. Press passes should be given out depending on the track record of a website or magazine. It should be a level playing field. The press should not be scared to express their opinion for fear of being excluded from the Olympia.
With AMI having 100% control over this, it will be harder for media outlets to get these passes for the Olympia; they will all end up having to purchase VIP passes to get decent seats to take photos and cover the show.
We are not totally against the way the IFBB Professional league runs things. For example, the Arnold Classic is a fantastic series of shows. We are just unhappy at the way the supposedly best show in the world (Olympia) is being run.
Why is it that the Mr. Olympia winner gets approx. $400,000 and the 212 winner gets approximately $40,000? This is a bit disgusting when you consider that the 212 class is just as exciting or more exciting than the open class.
The money has to be shared more evenly if they want the pro’s to keep coming.
Some IFBB Pro athletes are still complaining today that judges are not rotated between shows, so their placings never improve. This is an argument that has been going on for over 20 years; even Shawn Ray is on record saying this.
And to end on a note that is sure to make us more enemies … we can safely say that the IFBB Elite Pro league will be exciting and that they will have a great future. The split will just make them create more shows to generate more competition and provide more opportunities for their athletes.
Regarding the IFBB Pro League/NPC… they should worry about their own thing and stop making people think they are the perfect association, which they are not. We will continue to cover their and other associations’ shows as we have always done without any fear or bullying.
Read more: IFBB suspends the NPC