In late September 2015, the bodybuilding and fitness community literally went into meltdown following the breaking news that Kai Greene would not be competing in the 2015 IFBB Mr Olympia.
On the 14th of September just a week before the 2015 Mr Olympia, Kai Greene posted a video on his You Tube Channel stating he would not be allowed to compete on the Mr Olympia stage in Las Vegas.
Kai’s video showcased a raw, broken and almost speechless man, far from his usual positive and philosophical self. In the video Kai states that “I am regrettably of the realisation that I am not going to be allowed to compete” indicating that the decision was not one he had arrived at on his own terms.
Kai then proceeds to explain that “behind the scenes there is just so much more going on that I’m unable to share with you, there is a lot more that’s happening and still in the process of happening, that I cannot say”. Immediately the video went viral and speculation as to the parties involved in this ‘injustice’ towards a professional athlete began to flood the bodybuilding and fitness community.
There are certainly two sides to the story (potentially more) and at this time it is still unclear exactly what happened in the lead up to this shocking announcement. It is yet to be confirmed or denied if Kai was in-fact banned from the 2015 Mr Olympia contest or if the decision was on his own accord, but there is certainly plenty of speculation within the bodybuilding and fitness community as to what really happened.
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Although nothing was confirmed at the time of Kai’s announcement, most speculation was directed towards some form of conflict between the launching of Kai Greene’s new supplement company, DynamiK Muscle, and the organisers of the 2015 Mr Olympia Expo, American Media Inc. ("AMI").
Rumours within the industry suggested that with the launch of DynamiK Muscle planned for the Mr Olympia weekend, Kai may have attempted to use his high profile on the the Mr Olympia Stage as a means to secure booth space for DynamiK Muscle at the Mr Olympia Expo at no cost. If this was the case, obviously the IFBB/AMI did not budge and as a result DynamiK Muscle were left without a booth, and Kai was left without a Mr Olympia appearance.
However, in the days following the release of Kai’s video, new information came to light from the IFBB that painted a different side to the story. Mr Olympia Promoter, Robin Chang, expressed that Kai had not been prohibited from competing in the 2015 Mr Olympia competition but instead had yet to sign his Mr Olympia contract (a pre-requisite for all Mr Olympia competitors), a contract which had been in his possession since April 2015.
Mr Chang explained that under the standard rulings of the IFBB, Kai had up to a week prior to the Mr Olympia check-in to sign the contract. “If he REALLY wanted to compete, all he had to do was sign the contract and send it back to us, like he has done the past 6 years” explained Chang.
Now that the entire 2015 Mr Olympia Expo and Competition has played out, Mr Chang still deems that he never received a signed contract from Kai Greene… Interesting.
Following these initial insights, rumours circulated that the Mr Olympia ban was possibly linked to contract issues with AMI, which also owns Flex Magazine. Similarly, rumours began to circulate that Kai’s affiliation with ESPN may be the cause of the ban after Amazon.com was named "Official Retail Sponsor" of 2015 Mr Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend and awarded the broadcasting rights for all competitive activities. However few reports or substantiating evidence after the fact have pointed to either rumour as the major catalyst for the ban.
The Plot Thickens
The culmination of events eventually led to IFBB and Mr Olympia judge, Lee Thompson, announcing his decision to break away from the IFBB to launch his own Pro and Amateur federation called NPC Global. In a high-end, professional video featuring Kai Greene as the prolific athlete, Lee makes it known that the NPC Global has a vision “to create a shared economy by rewarding the athletes”, expressing that “it is the athletes who sacrifice so much to make this business and lifestyle so great”.
Lee’s video certainly sends a stern message to the bodybuilding community, explaining that the NPC Global and Nspire Community are ready to answer the call and concerns of all fitness and bodybuilding competitors. “We are taking control of our future”, Lee proclaims. But could this new organisation be taking advantage of the Kai Greene fiasco in a shady and unethical manner in attempt to take down the IFBB?
On September 27th, fitness industry front man and bodybuilding commentator, Marc Lobliner, revealed some shocking new insights on TheTigerFitness YouTube Channel in a video titled “Kai Greene’s Involvement in NPC Global with Lee Thompson | Breaking News!”.
Lobliner states that “Kai was used” and everything is not as it seems with the NPC Global. A credible source revealed information to Lobliner that Kai Greene had no knowledge of Lee Thompson’s plans to launch NPC Global and is not pleased with the entire media craze that has resulted. Lobliner goes on to explain that Kai Greene doesn’t need the publicity to launch his supplement brand DynamiK Muscle and it would have been far more lucrative for him to compete in the biggest IFBB show of the year, the Mr Olympia.
As more information filters down it actually appears that Lee Thompson and his organisation, NPC Global, are potentially funded by none other than one of the largest online supplement retailers on the planet, but at this point this is just further speculation.
What we do now know is that Lee strategically planned the launch of NPC Global, including a video where he ‘used’ Kai as the poster boy to create more publicity for his new organisation. All of this was carried out during a time when it would be perceived that Kai’s ban at the Mr Olympia was linked to his affiliation with NPC Global… very questionable business practices indeed.
Lobliner further reports that Kai in fact has no direct affiliation with Lee Thompson or NPC Global, and that Lee has taken advantage of Kai to promote his organisation, going to such lengths as to wait 5 hours in line to see Kai at the Mr Olympia weekend. Slowly and surely things are looking very shady for this so called ‘uprising’ organisation, NPC Global… as too is the history of Lee Thompson himself, which is brought to light across various search engines online.
It is all a lot to take in…
There is no doubt that within the last couple of weeks the IFBB and professional bodybuilding world has been shocked by controversy after controversy. Although Kai’s announcement of his withdrawal from the 2015 Mr Olympia may not entirely be at the fault of the IFBB, and likely has no link to the NPC Global, it has still left a sour taste in the mouths of fans of ‘The People’s Champion’, Kai Greene.
It was only months ago in early 2015 that the NPC/IFBB were put under scrutiny by the most influential bodybuilder of all time, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who expressed his displeasure with the current state of the IFBB and his belief that the physiques of today are no longer appealing to the masses. Arnold attacked current IFBB judges, and in particular IFBB President, Jim Manion, stating that “you’ve got to look at everything, for instance so many of these guys have their stomachs sticking out….it used to be that you should have a V-shaped body, now it’s like, I dunno, a bottle shaped body or something like that."
The NPC and IFBB governing bodies have since acted upon Arnold’s comments with the creation of the new Classic Physique division, a throwback to the athletic and symmetrical physiques of the 70s and 80s. Some fans welcome the new division, but most it seems have criticised the IFBB of simply carrying out some serious damage control in light of Arnold’s criticisms.
Additionally, in the months leading up to the Mr Olympia, 2 of the sports biggest stars, Steve Cook and Dana Linn Bailey, withdrew from their respective divisions, supposedly due to monetary concerns. For the entire MassiveJoes.com GAINS Trust Video on these 2 high profile withdrawals HERE.
For a sport and organization that relies heavily upon its competitors’ fan base, it appears the future of the IFBB as the premier bodybuilding federation could be in jeopardy.
Where To From Here?
This latest culmination of events, from Kai Greene’s announcement of his Mr Olympia withdrawal, to Lee Thompson’s decision to leave the IFBB and start NPC Global, to the overall bodybuilding community’s aversion to the behind the scenes politics of the IFBB, it appears an upheaval of professional bodybuilding is evident in the future if this wonderful sport seeks to continue growing its fan base.
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