by Christian Duque
Guys, let me point out something that you should all take to heart. If you are in the fitness industry and confide in people, proceed with caution. I’m not saying you can’t trust anyone, but you do have to be a really solid character if you’re talking about your personal life, business, or anything else that you don’t want the world to know. When news broke that IFBB pro Sergio Oliva Jr. was not performing at the Chicago Pro, the news spread like wildfire.
Everyone was talking about it, but the only person who hadn’t made an announcement was Sergio. That should have been an automatic red flag for the media, but it wasn’t. Sergio published a very carefully worded, but at the same time very emotional video in which he confronted friends and outlets. Oliva made a number of excellent points including the fact that his friends’ decision to go public with his business resulted in him losing money, putting him in an awkward position with promoter Tim Gardner, and it absolutely is Last thing he wanted loyal fans to know why he can’t do Chicago. The bottom line is that nobody “took the 30 seconds to write Sergio” because that’s not what this industry is about. Everyone is an “influencer”, everyone wants a “media outlet” and everyone thinks they are journalists. It’s a world where everyone struggles to publish because everyone wants to be the “leader” on the news. Fact check and principles take a back seat to the hits. It is what it is. And when the sport gets really boring, the media relies on clickbait. I can relate to Sergio’s video, but I’m surprised at how naive he was and I want to take this opportunity to talk about the bigger issue of trust.
One concept that many people have to look beyond is to precede a statement that it is “off the record”. You may think that if you say this and get some kind of confirmation from the listener, it will somehow make them accept the terms, but it doesn’t mean anything. You can tell people that something is “off the record” until the cows get home, but if that makes them gain popularity, they will immediately expel you. Well, sure, if you confide in one person it might not be that big of a mistake, but when we see competitors stalling with media personalities it’s insane. If you talk to someone who is known for covering the news and they drop an media bomb that is “off the record,” don’t be shocked if you don’t the second the conversation ends read about it all over the internet. And what’s worse, the person who burned you could go up and down in denying it. Or, you could just apologize. Apologies are easy to make, especially when they mean nothing. Lots of people will burn you over and over, apologizing for it every time. If you confide in someone like this and get burned, it is your own fault.
Sergio’s video didn’t just blow up certain people. Not only does it suggest he got it wrong, but his anger is undeniable. The video itself is now being hacked up and posted by a variety of channels searching for content on social media. It is rivalries that keep many of these sites in business between competitions, and Sergio has been feeding them for months. In fact, I didn’t see Sergio’s video on his platforms, I checked out a channel I like that analyzed it completely, with comments for every 10-15 seconds of it. No disrespect to the outlet I saw it in; After all, I probably would never have seen it if they hadn’t shared it.
The truth is, I don’t have the time or interest to look at every competitor’s social media feeds. I have a weekly program, write 10 articles a month for Iron Magazine and also maintain various social media platforms, but I’ve never pimped up the pages of athletes. That being said, I check out all of the outlets that basically do it for me. That’s why I subscribe and if a story really appeals to me, then I can write an article and do my own research. This topic is important to me because I see how many people get burned – from level 1 amateurs to world-class professional superstars.
As for the subject, there is currently more to it than what is written. There was a rather lively exchange between Sergio and the person he accuses of burning him. I would say the person’s name, but then I could be accused of looking for matches and I don’t. I don’t have anything against this person, just that I tagged him on a couple of posts on IG and I think he didn’t like that, so I just stopped tagging him. At first the exchange seemed like that of a sincerely apologetic person, but the more the lyrics became, the more suddenly it became clear that everything I wrote in this article was the impetus to break the story. These guys are friends with industry, but that’s about it. They’re not really friends, at least not from what I’ve seen. The guy Sergio thinks he burned may have done so, but he points out that Sergio has never cared about his life, what he went through health-wise or sometimes stopped competing. It may or may not be true. The guy also stated that he’s not a news agency, just a guy who likes podcasts. Well, that is also up for debate.
If it looks like a duck croaks like a duck, who cares if a duck says it or not? You may not call yourself a news agency, but you basically do the same thing that Palumbo and his co-hosts do. All I’m saying is that if you talk about bodybuilding, competitors, shows, and rumors for 2 hours, you can’t really take your mind off this theory. If that doesn’t make you a news agency or a newscast, then I don’t know what that does.
In the end, I feel sorry for Sergio, but he really should have known better. This wasn’t the first time, and it certainly won’t be the last time a person is burned in the fitness industry. I hope anyone reading this article will remember this should they ever be tempted to open up to someone. Be very careful what you say and who you say it to. If you only say something to one person and it goes viral, you know who burned you, but in Sergio’s case, he confided in 5 people. When all five people have been active in the fitness world, I’m just surprised it stayed a secret for so long. The bodybuilding world is the last place you’ll ever want to open up.
Regarding Oliva, he promised fans that he would host the Arnold Classic in Columbus, OH in 2021. He also made a point of sending an open invitation to all IFBB Pro League superstars to really think about entering the competition. While the event won’t qualify contestants for the 2021 Mr. Olympia, it remains the sport’s second most important competition and the fact that it is held in their hometown brings back a desperately sought sense of normalcy. While the O is being held in Orlando, FL for the second year in a row, the Arnold is taking place where it always has been. That is extremely powerful. If Sergio won this competition it would be a complete turning point in terms of his future Olympic endeavors. Of course we would like to see that !!
What do you think of Sergio’s dilemma?