by Christian Duque
IFBB Hall of Fame bodybuilder "Sugar" Shawn Ray has never shied away from making peace. He recently conducted an extremely controversial interview for Valuetainment, which has made many waves in the fitness industry. His appearance triggered such a reaction that many fans ran to the message boards and social media, hoping to make their opinion known to the world.
Bodybuilding fans love to argue and it is usually the fans who bring the arguments to all possible intense levels. Some people are so excited about the boards, Reddit and network apps that text, phone calls and sometimes personal exchanges can be easy in real time. What makes the tensions even more chaotic is the fact that most people in the U.S. (and worldwide) receive either recommended or mandatory quarantines. There are no competitions to take part in and / or discuss, so there is very little news and most of the competitors don't even publish preparatory content, since definitely nobody knows when the amateur or professional season will start.
Fans are bored and how better to pass the time than to get involved in a feud? Well, to be fair, you need two to tango, so who could have reached Shawn? With whom could Shawn have an ax to grind? Normally, a bodybuilder of Shawn's caliber wouldn't throw down with a young buck or an armchair quarterback, but every now and then an interview comes where everything goes, where great champions like to speak unfiltered and uncensored. Similar to Dorian Yates, Ronnie Coleman and other notable champions from the past, Shawn Ray has some very strong opinions about the current state of bodybuilding. He's not looking for drama, but he doesn't seem interested in retiring either. This is a man with a very strong opinion.
When a champion of Shawn's caliber speaks of current champions, everyone listens. Without going through his detailed curriculum vitae, one can say with certainty that everyone knows who he is. After all, Ray is the most photographed bodybuilder in the history of FLEX Magazine.
Print may be on the ropes today, but there are still fitness publications at kiosks around the world. Five years ago, magazines were an integral part of the sports landscape. Anyone who has ever read a bodybuilding magazine has seen Shawn. He also worked intensively with Muscular Development – the only remaining 100% bodybuilding publication. Ray was also a key player at Generation Iron and is now leading day-to-day operations at Digital Muscle. DM was the brainchild of Chief Olympia Officer Dan Solomon, who sold it to Jake Wood to focus on the most prestigious bodybuilding show. It's just that Wood now owns it and that Shawn occupies a very important position in the sport – again. Good things sometimes happen to good people, but good things always happen to people who cut their asses off. That's how Shawn started his career from day one. Love him or hate him, you have to recognize that.
However, the truth is that bodybuilding will always be a focus for him no matter how much fame and fortune Shawn amasess. From the people's favorite Olympia MC to smaller websites like RxMuscle with its presence, Ray can't help but talk about the current champions of the sport. The fact that he is bullied everywhere by screaming fans fighting to talk to him, take a picture with him and / or hopefully get an autograph has not changed him. He is still very concerned about the direction of the sport. This is the case with many of the most respected legends in bodybuilding. Ronnie could focus on making a lot of money with RCSS, just like with Dorian and DY Approved, but when an interviewer like Patrick Bet David comes over and asks for an interview, they happily commit.
Shawn Ray, like Dorian and Ronnie, doesn't think today's boys can hold a candle for his era. The current Mr. Olympia Brandon Curry has offered an excellent counter argument because it is really inappropriate to compare eras. Ronnie made this clear too, but like Shawn they said when Bet David pressed what was really in their thoughts.
Every journalist approaches a story differently. Every journalist wants the bullet – that gives him the adrenaline rush. I am a writer and do interviews – I know that I feel really good and nothing makes a reporter happier than breaking a story. However, experienced journalists have many different ways to get to the promised land. The less experienced and less demanding reporters will try to put words in their guests 'mouths, try to mention past hacks and / or quote their guests' rivals in hail Mary attempts. An inexperienced, sloppy journalist can even wear his frustrations on his face and / or exude them about how they sit, how they breathe and / or even how they speak. An experienced journalist, though frustrated, will never let up.
Patrick Bet David is always very cool, very subtle and although he is really curious, he seems almost indifferent to his guest's reaction. He's like a poker player and interviewer in one. I studied his approach and I have to say I'm a fan. Up to this point, Shawn Ray didn't need much to express his opinion on his interview. In fact, there is a bodybuilder who was particularly not humorous at all and although I don't mention him by name – I think most people know exactly who I'm talking about.
Last week, Shawn gave me some interesting insights and even a bold quote for a video I made. Just yesterday he sent me the graphic you see in this article out of nowhere. This picture must be Shawn's boldest statement – or anyone from his time – compared to today's champions. I'm not saying today's champions aren't stacking, but you can't help but be surprised by everything Shawn says with this single photo. And it's not even that the photo speaks for itself, but Shawn formulates it and leaves nothing to chance. Nothing can be interpreted! To say that it is brave would be the understatement of the century.
While Shawn has been accused by some of resigning, he can in no way distance himself from this graphic. Once you have pressed the toothpaste out of the tube, you can no longer push it in. With that said, I also don't think Shawn wants (or will) get involved in any kind of feud. He has a lot to do and is very focused on his various projects. however, he still managed to get the last word. I think this picture and the fact that I am writing this article pretty much complete it.
On the other hand, who knows what reactions the graphic and this article will cause in the industry, if any? I feel like we could hear some rebuttals, but who knows?
So here it is. DO YOU agree with what Shawn said during his interview at Valuetainment? And what do you think about Shawn's graphics and my article? I look forward to reading your feedback in the comments, and I hope you enjoyed reading my article here at IronMagazine.
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