by Matt Weik
If you've spent some time in the industry or have been a bodybuilding fan for a while, Craig Titus is a name you've probably heard (and not for good reason). In fact, the name Craig Titus and his ex-wife Kelly Ryan are two names that Google often searches for. Both Craig Titus and Kelly Ryan were competitors in the fitness and bodybuilding industry. Craig is an IFBB Pro bodybuilder he competed in in the 90s and 2000s and Kelly as a fitness competitor.
Craig is currently 53 years old and is in prison until December 23, 2026 (which will make him 59 when he is released). Now, it's not uncommon to hear from bodybuilders that conflict with the law. More than once, it's because you own or sell anabolic steroids. Whether you think this is a real crime based on data on the use and benefits of anabolic steroids is an entirely new article that can be written at a later date.
But Craig himself seemed to be in a sort of downward spiral, and even other bodybuilders around him saw a dark side that troubled them, and they expressed not only their concern about him, but many since he was in prison from them You have commented on his troubled past and bad decisions.
I published an article about Kelly Ryan a few years ago and it has been a very popular article ever since. The duo made headlines that led to their arrest (more to come). With that in mind, I'd like to ask if Craig Titus is the most problematic IFBB Pro bodybuilder ever.
For Craig Titus, the writing was on the wall before he even became a professional
If you look at Craig's bodybuilding resume, the man had incredible potential. He started competing in 1988, where he won both the middleweight division and overall victory at the NPC Houston Bodybuilding Championships. After his win, he placed well until 1996 when he won his IFBB Pro Card at the NPC USA Championships. But in 1995 something happened that Craig Titus put on the law enforcement radar.
In April 1995, Craig was arrested and pleaded guilty to spreading ecstasy. Although it cannot be confirmed, it was said that Craig was also a consumer of the drug, which is why he had it in his possession. Craig then appeared before a judge and, as many thought at the time, got a 16-month wrist hit at house arrest, at which he was supposed to wear a surveillance anklet at all times. However, this was just the beginning for Craig Titus.
Craig Titus was back two years after his drug arrest. In July 1997, Craig Titus was arrested again for drug abuse – this time it was an anabolic steroid. There was no chance of another punch on the wrist. Craig was found to be using anabolic steroids that violated his probation. Because of this, Craig Titus was jailed for 21 months. Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, Craig threw out the old "hold my beer, look at this" for his last act.
After his release, Craig apparently went back to drugs. It is clear that he did not learn his lesson the first time. However, he decided to continue reading his passion for bodybuilding and although he did not compete between 1997 and 1999 (because he was behind bars), he stepped back on stage in 2000. He had a good run through 2005 where he consistently placed in the top 10 but then the wheels dropped off abruptly.
Craig Titus married Kelly Ryan, where they were involved in the wrong lifestyle and essentially led the life rock stars sing about – lots of sex and drugs from what friends said. Industry friends of Craig and Kelly said in interviews that Craig Titus continued to use drugs and was involved in a sexual relationship with his and Kelly's personal assistant at the time. Kelly finally started and Craig admitted the matter.
Everything went up in flames
The world of Craig Titus and Kelly Ryan changed the day they decided to murder their assistant in December 2005. The same assistant Craig had an affair with. Many have speculated that the murder was the result of a poor decision based on drug use. In any case, murder is murder and there will be serious consequences.
As if the murder wasn't bad enough, Craig and Kelly threw the body into the trunk of their jaguar, drove into the desert (in the middle of the night) and lit the car to dispose of the body. Apparently a fire in the middle of the desert was seen (at night) by people driving on the highways, and the police were called to investigate the fire. When the police arrived, they found a burned jaguar with a very badly burned body in the trunk, which they later identified as Melissa James.
Craig Titus and Kelly Ryan drove from Las Vegas to Massachusetts, where they were arrested a few days later. Both Craig and Kelly pleaded guilty to several charges. Craig Titus was convicted of second degree murder, kidnapping and arson, which were sentenced to 21-55 years in prison. Kelly Ryan was sentenced to 3-13 years and has since been released (in October 2018).
The troubling story of Craig Titus has triggered shock waves in the industry, and since Craig there has never been a person disturbed in the industry. Do I think Craig Titus or Kelly Ryan are really bad people at heart? No. But I also believe that good people in the hands of drugs can be extremely stupid people. And I think that's the case we've all seen with Craig Titus and Kelly Ryan. Hopefully we never experience anything like this in our industry and everyone can behave appropriately and keep their nose clean.