by Christian Duque
Luimarco, the LUI … who can forget this character? He hated me, hated Gregg Valentino, and didn’t want to do an interview with Ron Harris because Gregg and I both had weekly shows on MD. Lui interviewed Dave Palumbo of RxMuscle, only to erase it because he felt that Dave was cursing too much and that didn’t fit well with his principles. Then he went and gave an interview at a small outlet known for its raunchy content, but do it.
Lui also wanted to have William Bonac arrested because William was angry with him. I think speaking angry is a crime in some countries. The outspoken Youtuber also enjoyed picking 7x Mr. Olympia Phil Heath to track his alleged bladder bowel. Yes Lui was okay with something else. At the height of his reign he made a deal with Redcon1 and performed publicly, but he wanted more. Unlike other Youtubers who had plenty of time, his days were more or less numbered as he was in his 40s and his chic faded towards the end of his run. As long as he was a handyman, walking against the current and to the beat of his own drum, he was fine, but he just couldn’t stay small potatoes.
Once you’re in the spotlight, you’ll never want to leave. The attention is addicting and if you are the type who loves the sound of your own voice then it’s a breeze. Unfortunately, Lui wasn’t a fitness industry veteran and couldn’t see what was happening. In fact, he was never really accepted. For most, he was just a wannabe Lonnie Teper with an internet connection and a heavy foreign accent. In the end, it was the mistakes he made at the top that ultimately led to his downfall.
Luimarco shouldn’t get famous. Nothing about him caught the interest of fans. He was a lanky guy with a great natural build. But what? Tons of guys and gals do this. His initial style could be summed up as gear-shaming (bashfulness for those who are improved), trolling, and speaking into his webcam. It didn’t have a green screen, there was no lighting to speak of, and it didn’t have a microphone.
The guy was a minimalist and people accepted that. Unlike other channels that invested in dazzling intros, where the presenters wore expensive threads and drove fast cars (which they probably had rented), Lui didn’t care. That changed with the Redcon deal and the public appearances. He no longer looked down at outlets covering contests, but begged the promoters to give him the time of day. It became a favorite of the professionals by a critical lens. If he liked you he would push you hard. If he didn’t like you, he’d make it his business to tear you down limb, depending on how bad the odds were. In all fairness, this is the modus operandi of most journalists, but Lui should be above everything. It wasn’t him. He was like everyone else and when people saw this, they looked for other channels.
One decision that really hurt Lui was his decision to take a break from YouTube. Within a year of the deaths of Rich Piana and Dallas McCarver, YouTube began changing how things were viewed on certain topics. At least that’s the mood a lot of content creators have. In fact, many bodybuilding videos that used to be fully monetized have now only been monetized for a limited audience. Instead of a video having a green dollar sign next to it (full monetization status), the yellow dollar signs (limited target group) appeared everywhere and on all channels. Many YouTubers said they were done, others said they were posting a lot less and / or trying to see their subscribers through paid options. At this point, Lui was in the process of changing a nice chunk of his Adsense sales. Adsense is Google’s revenue generating program for channels. As things get out of hand and the canals die out, this could have been a great opportunity for Lui to gather people together, calm down, and make it clear that he is not going anywhere. Instead, Lui took a hiatus that would destroy his popularity, and as if that wasn’t bad enough, he almost gave his followers to Nick Miller (Nick Strength & Power).
Lui had become so popular and powerful from this popularity that he probably thought he could take the break and mortgage his followers for this little kid who was making videos of his garage. He probably thought that when AdSense went back to normal and the mainstream media heat on bodybuilding subsided, he could just come back and regain his old glory. Well … Nick got his own Redcon deal, he took Luis’ fans with him and they never left his side, and when Lui looked to Nick for support, he couldn’t find any. Having a protégé is one thing, but if you empower that protégé and give him the keys to the kingdom, he is unlikely to give it back. I mean, I don’t usually side with Nick, but could you blame him? Lui just left so Nick did everything in his power to follow in his teacher’s footsteps and maybe do better.
While Lui has been mysterious about his actual subscriber base, Nick has always shared that information with the world. Nobody ever knew how popular Lui actually was, but you could see his hit numbers and that was enough to keep your jaw dropping. Nonetheless, Luis is said to be outnumbered at its peak at around 350,000. To date, Nick has more than tripled that. Both guys were do-it-yourselfers, both worked with RC1 and both guys were / are essentially trolls. Additionally, bodybuilding isn’t that big of a sport, with Luis being 350,000 supporters and Nicks being 1 million different people.
Sometimes reality is just as it seems. Luis’ followers were disappointed in him, they were sore that he had left them, and Nick’s channel absorbed them. This is a valuable lesson that every social media star and / or influencer should take to heart. No matter how fluffy you are, how funny you are, or how much a trendsetter you are, if you don’t treat your audience right – they’ll leave you like most of Luimarco did.
Are you still watching The LUI? Do you think he will ever regain his old glory?