by Christian Duque
“If you want to do it, do it.”
With Kai Greene running around at 317 pounds doing his best and training like he’s staging the comeback of the decade, a lot of people in the industry just can’t get enough. The fans have been begging for it since Kai half withdrew from the stage after the 2016 Arnold Classic.
There were years when it looked like The Predator was about to reclaim its place among the best and compete for the greatest title in body-based sports. In a year it was hours. Kai was in shape, he was ready to go, but he just couldn’t sign his contract, he just couldn’t do the show even though he was filming a video a few hundred meters away. Kai is a complicated guy who keeps very strong lines in the sand. You can say what you want about him, but you have to admit that the guy really cares about his personal values and principles. There are many speakers in bodybuilding, but how many are ready to really take the step? It’s easy to lick your gums – like Lee Priest has made his entire career – but when the going gets tough, what do you really stand for? What are you really about?
We all know Lee revolted and never came back, but what exactly was he revolting against? The guy has a shipload of contracts, covers on all magazines and great placements – including a top 6 at the Olympics. What the hell did the priest have to complain about? To this day, fifteen years since he last appeared on an IFBB stage, I still don’t know what Lee’s entire agenda was about. If his goal was to improve the athletes’ conditions, he would have attended the meetings and stood side by side with real leaders like Shawn Ray and Bob Cicherillo. Instead, he was nowhere to be found. All we know is that here’s a guy who stood up to the best, competed on smaller stages, got older, and is now making videos with RXMuscle. For years he only talked about comebacks, how he could beat Flex Lewis when he was at the top and / or how the 212 was basically made for him. We never saw Lee standing next to The Welsh Dragon, we never saw him put his pro card back in, and we may never see him compete again, but that didn’t stop him from annoying fans. Some call it a way to stay relevant, others just call it an art form. Kai does it all the time. Others use it to varying degrees, but all in all, it’s marketing. Oddly enough, Lee Kai preaches about something he doesn’t practice. Kai could do a job where he has nothing to say to the priest. “I’ll line up when you do.” Can you imagine the look on the little bodybuilder’s face? It would be priceless. Still, the question remains, will Kai compete?
I often call Kai the most popular bodybuilder in the world – second only to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Some people disagree, but I’m just telling them look at the numbers. For example, go to Twitter. Nobody in the fitness industry does well there, but Kai does. Check out YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. Look at Kai everywhere. From e-books to personal training to appearances. Unlike many top bodybuilders, Kai doesn’t limit himself to posing as a guest at a bodybuilding show or walking around in the audience. It can and has been featured at comic conventions, film festivals, and art exhibitions. Much like Lou Ferrigno and even Kevin Levrone (during his acting / music days), Greene is known in a wide variety of different walks of life. Believe it or not, there are people who celebrate his role in Stranger Things or Generation Iron films but aren’t too familiar with his competitive record. There are others who may know him for his art.
It’s hard to look at Kai and, last but not least, realize he’s a bodybuilder, but what I mean is that Greene is popular for a variety of reasons – beyond muscle. Still, the lion’s share of his fanfare is due to what he’s done on stage. His fans are fanatical and believe that he has been robbed several times. Many call him and really recognize him as uncrowned Mr. Olympia. He may not have a single Sandow on his coat, but in the realm of public opinion he has the equivalent of many. In fact, Kai’s popularity has always far surpassed Phil’s. If reach means money, Kai will be at the top of the world for a long time. So why come back on stage?
There is one camp that believes Aaron Singerman may have forced a competition clause on him when Kai left Dynamic Muscle and officially joined Redcon1. There is absolutely nothing to support this. All there is is wishful thinking from millions of fans around the world. Many want to see the epic showdown that will likely never take place. They want Kai to face Phil, but Phil is no longer the defending champion, he’s no longer at his best and he may not get on stage again. If he does and he’s not 100% and Kai wins, it won’t be nearly as epic as 2013 or 2014. Also, Kai would have to beat Big Ramy, a personal friend and someone who has waited many years to get to this point .
To Ramy, bodybuilding is all he has, but that doesn’t apply to Greene. IF – and that’s a big if – Kai competed, I don’t think anyone thinks he would hold the title for long. It’s not because he couldn’t, but because I think he’d get bored of eating, sleeping and breathing to defend a title. Bodybuilding will always be life for The Predator, but not necessarily the stage. If he comes back I think Arnold and / or Olympia are one-off events and Greene would cross them off his list afterward. That being said, IF (another big if) Kai comes back it will be on his terms, not because of media pressure. All Dave does is promote Soundbites in the hope that people will care enough to see all of the 58 minute content. The hope is that viewers will watch long enough to buy some protein powder, a box of fruit-filled protein treats, and maybe a t-shirt or two. That’s the name of the game. Fast hits and catchy sound bites.
I wonder if Lee believes his own hype? It’s not like he’s the first, and he certainly won’t be the last to add his voice to that of the many asking Kai to make this year – the year! Everything has already been tried without success. Perhaps the priest’s request will not fall on deaf ears. Perhaps Kai appreciates and respects Priest’s track record enough to include his perspective, but I’d bet against it. Lee’s attraction is to Meatheads and a few pros, but I wouldn’t say the younger pros look at him the way they look up at Dexter Jackson. If Dexter asked Jackson Kai for a bodybuilding program to come back, I can almost guarantee it would get a reaction from Greene. Lee Priest is not a Dexter Jackson. Let’s leave it at that. Aside from eliciting a response from such a request from The Blade, it could even get the Predator to sign on the dotted line. To expect Lee Priest to have such an impact, especially on a living legend like Kai Greene, is just ridiculous.
Do you think we’ll see Kai either on the Arnold or the Olympia stage this year? Is there anything unique that is really different in 2021 than in previous years? Do you believe there is a competition clause in Kai’s contract?