by Christian Duque
I like Shawn Ray. We started out as little rivals on the muscle development forums, but that’s not a shock; We’re both very headstrong people who say what we want, when we want, and how we want. We don’t really like censorship and we don’t see the point in kissing your ass. If your job is good, it speaks for itself. Getting on your knees is just not an option. Not only is Shawn a headstrong and principled person, he’s an IFBB Hall of Fame bodybuilder, top Olympic gold medalist, competition director, media personality, promoter, and more !!
That “more” encompasses a lot, from working on a variety of projects, like overseeing Jake Woods Digital Muscle, to sponsoring a number of the most exclusive companies in the industry. In fact, today’s article is about Shawn becoming Mutant Nutrition’s ambassador to the world. Shawn told me about this huge partnership in the days leading up to the IPO; However, being as downcast as I am, I wanted to be sure that I wrote this article with plenty of time to ponder and ponder.
Meanwhile, excellent articles have been written by Kevin Grech of EvolutionOfBodybuilding.net and Natural Mr. Olympia John Hansen. This article is sure to be in good company. And to be honest, there will be many more articles and videos to follow as Shawn Ray’s fans become more aware of the huge commitment. The fact is, there are fitness stars who are big for a few months, a couple of years, and there are those who are very legendary. Shawn Ray is not a legend because he is in the Hall of Fame or because of his social media followers, it is the entirety of all of his many accomplishments. This is a guy who has always been on top – it’s the story of his life.
Imagine a life where you are bullied wherever you go. Crowds of screaming fans are going mad and want autographs, photos and the opinion of the champion! How many times do you think Shawn has been asked how to build muscle, how much protein he eats, or what is the key to being successful on stage? It takes a consummate professional to make fans feel special, even if their questions get a little lame.
You must love what you do and you must show respect for people. Unfortunately, I have to say that many of today’s professionals are watch watchers. You don’t want to be there; some don’t even like to exercise. I can think of many other, far less challenging paths to stardom than bodybuilding, but for some it’s just a passing thing. Fans can see almost immediately who’s full of it and who’s real. Fans can generally read bullshit, but bodybuilding fans have the sharpest instincts of all. Maybe it’s because our sport is an underground sport, or maybe it’s because our industry is full of fast-talking snake oil sellers. Who knows? The bottom line is that “Sugar” Shawn Ray passed the test a long time ago and continues to do so worldwide.
It may seem hard to believe in the States and Europe, but there are still many unknown waters in the world. There are places where the only interaction with bodybuilding was through the movie Pumping Iron, and that’s only because Arnold Schwarzenegger is in the lead role. The actual sport in the film is secondary to the life and interactions of the actors.
Interestingly, some of the virgin lands in question have great resources, from world class venues to wealthy prospects and fantastic training facilities. In other words, there is lots of money to be made, and for companies like Mutant Nutrition, they will find gold with a real bodybuilding legend like Shawn Ray. You get huge value for everything you pay him. I’m not going to speculate on dollars and cents, but I know my husband, Shawn, and I know he knows what he’s worth and what he brings to the table. Unlike many of his contemporaries who may seem big (while living on little more than cat food), Shawn wrote the book about good business and planning ahead of time. If you are financially stable and you are living your life on your own terms, it is a good idea to study the deals carefully before signing on the dashed line. I think this is a good partnership for both parties; both sides benefit from each other.
Mutant has the reach and recognition value to make itself strong, especially in new markets. They also have a history of really building people up. Let’s not forget that this is the company that put Rich Piana on the map. Prior to Mutant, Rich was a second-rate bodybuilder nationally, devoid of most of his tattoos and virtually devoid of followers. I don’t want to credit Mutant for making it big on his own, but they certainly were an early driving force. When Rich split up and launched Love It, Kill It, his booth happened to be Kitty Korner from Mutant’s at Arnold. Maybe it was a coincidence – or – maybe it was good to be close to Mutant. The split appeared to have been amicable, with the company aiming for many more victories, proving that its place at the top did not depend on a single athlete or product. And they have been a driving force in the industry ever since! This also impresses existing customers and potential new customers. Remember, the fitness industry pie is not getting bigger and everyone wants a slice! More and more companies are entering the market every year, and many crash and burn before the ink has dried on their company agreements. It’s a dog-eater world, but the best always rise to the top.
While 2021 will bring us closer to normal, the world will look brighter than ever after Covid. It will be very interesting to see what Shawn can do for Mutant when the contest season goes up in flames all summer. Autumn also brings massive events !!
The Arnold Classic is said to have one of the best lineups of all time !! While there won’t be an exhibition of its own, the event will draw a who’s who to Columbus, OH, and I know Shawn will be there, especially since he won the title twice. I mean once … (Lol). And shortly thereafter there is the Superbowl of Bodybuilding, the Mr. Olympia 2021, where Shawn is a driving force in the planning and execution, not to mention the stage as co-emcee with Bob Cicherillo. The fact is, Shawn Ray keeps raising the bar, growing and trying to help others do it. His help, however, is not a charity; If he can make money with you, he will, but that’s far from giving a man a fish. That’s an important difference.
All in all, I am very happy to see what Shawn has achieved. I think what he does is also very important for competitors who are literally petrified after the stage. Not only was Ray able to continue his success into retirement, but he was also able to reinvent himself and stay current and relevant. This is very important for professionals who have no idea what life will be like in retirement. Yes, Shawn has retired from the stage, but he’s probably working more now than ever. The stage and the titles are a fantastic foundation for what is to come.
Participants don’t have to compete in their 50s unless they want to. You can and will earn money once you have hung up your suitcase, you just need a good role model. And I can’t think of anyone better than Sugar Shawn Ray!