by Christian Duque
The news that 2017 Arnold Classic champion Cedric McMillan was out of the 2021 Arnold Classic sparked shock waves across the fitness world and sent fans into a frenzy. Everyone wanted to know what was behind this bombshell announcement. Could it have been a setback from Arnold’s “Screw Your Freedom” comments? Was this the result of, as he said, McMillan’s hand injury or was this the cover story he used to avoid awkward situations, such as conclusions from edgier news outlets like RXMuscle and Generation Iron?
And by nervous, this is NOT an excavation, it just means they’d push him harder for the truth. Indeed, if this works to bring the truth to light then it is actually a good thing from a intelligence gathering perspective. Then of course there is the fact that Nick’s Strength & Power (a Redcon mouthpiece by many reports) is making a passionate video aimed at influencing public opinion on the subject, which for skeptics like me almost acts as damage control.
Believe me, I make no secret of being a cynic. In real life (national politics, science, international news) I’m not much into conspiracy theories, but when it comes to bodybuilding, it’s all about them. I rarely, if ever, eat what is served to me. I’m not a Cedric fan either. I didn’t like his video footage of snapping turtles, I don’t think he won a tough Arnold, and I don’t share the fascination Arnold has for him or his body. I don’t hate that guy, but I’ve never been a huge fan either. The fact of the matter is, I didn’t think he was in the top 3 at the Arnold 2021, but he probably would only have because of the fact that he’s a former winner is in the top 6. In a recent video, Nick Trigili (who absolutely kills it with his new show “Bodybuilding and Bullshit”) pointed out that Cedric and Redcon1 are no more. Either they dropped him – or – he dropped them. This is really what I suspect McMillan does not compete. Again, this is just a hunch.
I’m not here to write the pros or cons of supplement companies – I’ll leave that to the readers. What I’m saying here is that successful companies – whatever they may sell – want popular athletes and ambassadors. Cedric is one of the most famous bodybuilders in the professional scene. As a former Arnold champion, he has a certain amount of credibility and star power. Also, as a member of the US military, one might think that this would make him a custodian of a company that is apparently only marketed to service personnel. But we don’t have the inside information; We just know that it would be strange for a company like this with this approach to marketing to cut an athlete like this one who essentially embodies everything that it’s about.
That said, Aaron Singerman has made the headlines nationally and internationally for his openness when it comes to Arnold’s “Scew your Freedom” comment. Singerman was one of the first on the business side of the sport to speak up, but he needed to get his position cleared up quickly as rumor has it that many RC1 athletes weren’t too happy with the idea of boycotting the second largest competition in bodybuilding, over his statements. In fact, the Arnold is 2nd in terms of prestige and prize money. Many athletes need these competitive wins to finance their careers. Sponsorship alone is not enough. If Redcon cut Cedric, politics could have played a role. Other possibilities would be age and / or the injury that may have sidelined him.
Age will always be a factor in physical exercise. While, yes, we came a long way from the 80s and 90s when “40” meant automatic retirement. The older you get, the less chances you have of winning a NY Pro, Arnold, or Olympia. Did you win your first Sandow when you were 43? Well Shawn Rhoden did it, but how many Rhoden people are there likely to be out there? Can you be competitive through your mid 40s like Toney Freeman was or rank high into your late 40s like Al Beckles and Dexter Jackson did? Sure, but how many people have this quality of genetics paired with this work ethic? I mean, you’re talking about the best of the best, and who knows if Cedric could hold out at this intensity for so long.
You know, there is even media out there suggesting that at certain times of the year McMillan is almost consumed by his military work. This is not a type restricted to bodybuilding; he has a lot more on his plate. It’s great for him, but maybe not so great for his sponsors. I can’t tell you if Redcon or its other sponsors were happy with this commitment, but something had to give in because he’s no longer with them.
By the age of 43, the writing could be on the wall and his sponsors may be looking at the younger guns making waves on the pro track. Also, Ced’s career highlight was winning the 2017 Arnold. And while that’s a hell of a feat, it was an incredibly poor lineup too, so much so that when he gave this year’s Mr. Olympia a very similar look, it was almost destroyed. He grabbed 10th place mainly because he was the Arnold champion that year. That’s just my take on his ranking, but anyone who ranks 10th after winning the second biggest title in the sport is clearly not a dominant force. Sorry, but not sorry.
The other possibility is that Redcon dropped McMillan because of his hand injury. While it is possible, I would say it is unlikely. They knew what they were getting when they signed the guy. He wasn’t a spring chicken and every year after 40 most guys start to fall apart. That an injury sidelined him is by no means a shock. What could they possibly have paid him for? I mean, there was no way his check broke the bank. In fact, I doubt he made a quarter of what Kai earned, I’d be shocked. Hell, I doubt Cedric made even a fifth of Greene’s salary, and Cedric pushed Greene to the absolute limit when he won his very last Arnold Classic in 2016.
That was the year Arnold threw the whole sport under the bus because McMillan didn’t get his way. That relationship likely didn’t help Cedric’s case with his former main sponsor, given the current political climate. And I keep bringing that up because of a great bodybuilding and bullshit report. Nick Trigili made a fantastic observation. There are no RC1 mentions on Cedric’s IG, he no longer wears their clothing, and the normal connections between an athlete and a sponsor appear to have been broken. Trigili also pointed out sharply about Nick’s Strength & Power’s damage control angle.
I suppose the other possibility is that Cedric left Redcon1. There is always a chance for it; However, what 43-year-old bodybuilder is going to leave the ship without another sponsor. He might have one, but Nick wouldn’t have had time to shoot his video, and neither would Kevin Grech of EvolutionOfBodybuilding.net have had enough time to publish an article if it were. If Ced had all this planned properly, people would hear the news that he left Redcon in the same breath as the news of his new deal. Plus, 43 or not, Pro Athletes don’t usually think of lucrative contracts.
Of course, we also don’t know how “lucrative” his deal was. He might have gotten $ 3,000 a month, with bonuses and possibly contest bonuses. That’s fine for someone in their twenties, but for a professional soldier who is likely to retire after age 20, three grand a month isn’t exactly a lot of money. Maybe he deserved more. I would be shocked if he made more than $ 6,000 a month. Although it is possible, I highly doubt it.
Another distant possibility is that Cedric left after Aaron went on the offensive with Arnold. The thing is, it’s hard to tell when the break (assuming there was one) happened. Hence, we have to look at social media and schedules and speculate as to why McMillan is no longer with Redcon1. What do you think of the matter? Was it dropped, did it run or what?