by Craig Titus
Yes, the 2014 Arnold classic marked the 10 year anniversary since I competed back in 2004. Only 10 years but it seems like an eternity to me. Anyone who is an avid bodybuilding fan knows damn well those were the days… in that era you saw and read about rivalries, you witnessed smack talk and bodybuilding was truly exciting! Back then you had a hand full of professional bodybuilders who simply spoke their mind with little regard for being politically correct.
There were warriors who demanded respect both on and off the stage. You had a few leaders, not sheep, not stoic robots who say what people want to hear and not what they actually feel. Now and days you have no rivalries, at least not one that’s remotely entertaining by any sense of the word. These days consist of politically correct nice guys. I read Dan Soloman’s article highlighting the 10 year anniversary since Kamali, Cicherello and myself competed in the 2004 Arnold Classic. Dan also included my friend Greg Kovac, but Greg had nothing going on with our ongoing “feud” or “beef” or in Solomon’s words “craziest rivalries of all time.” I have to admit it was refreshing to read something that discussed my past competitive days without tearing my charter apart. My battles on stage with King Kamali were legendary demanding the attention from bodybuilding fans despite the fact we were never considered for the over-all title. Our rivalry was irresistible to fans, to writers, photographers and all those involved in the bodybuilding world often becoming the main attraction of the competition. Truth be told, I had an immense amount of respect for King Kamali back in our days. We weren’t friends but we certainly weren’t enemies either. Looking back I think King and I had a mutual understanding our rivalry was good for more reasons than one. We understood our dislike for each other generated drama, and like the W.W.E drama creates interest resulting in financial compensation. I can remember King, his wife and myself having an in depth conversation at dinner following our battle at the 2004 Australian Pro Show. Like other bodybuilding competitions, we didn’t place top two, but King and I had comparison call-outs bringing the auditorium to absolute frenzy! We discussed our rivalry; we talked for hours and squashed many of our differences. We agreed to disagree and continue our “crazy rivalry” of all time onstage and in print. I respected Kamali because of his work ethic, for his devotion to our craft, for his ability to speak his mind and most of all ongoing quests to demolish me on stage! Fans came from all over the world to witness what would happen next. Like Dan Soloman stated… our rivalry delivered endless drama and kept the sport of bodybuilding exciting! Make no mistake, we disliked each other very much but I respected him as a competitor. Bob Cicherello on the other hand, not so much. Bob was funny to me, not in a comedic sense, but funny like a clown. He was and apparently still is your typical politically correct leg riding, nut sack hanging follower who says what those in charge want to hear. Truth be told, I’m not sure how Bobby scored an invitation to the Arnold Classic in the first place? I can remember the pre-judging like it was yesterday. Cicherello placed 11th, not even close to the top 6, however in dramatic fashion Bob was called out in comparison round with me and Kamali. One would wonder why a 11th place finisher is called out in a comparison round he had no business being in? You see, that particular call out equates to one thing, politics. Contrary to what Bob Cicherello will admit, politics in the sport of bodybuilding is not a misconception, it is a foregone conclusion! Its common knowledge Cicherello is friends with ranking NPC & IFBB officials giving him the ability to place much higher then he deserved. Politics a misconception! Don’t believe that for one second! It is not ridiculous to assume an athlete will be favored if the company he or she is sponsored by donates the greatest sum of money to a show… its reality! But this one example is not the totality of the politics in bodybuilding. It’s not an assumption that happens at every event, it is just one of the many political realities that take place more often than not. And to say judges aren’t even aware of who an athlete is signed with is absolute bullshit! Half the time, several judges are the actual owners of the supplement companies that endorse the bodybuilder or fitness athlete they’re judging! Are you kidding me? No politics? Yeah right. However, Cicherello is very much correct in saying there’s many examples of unsigned and unknown athletes who have placed in the money ahead of more notable competitors, but that’s bodybuilding. That’s not to say that particular unknown athlete won’t receive political favoring during their career, after they’ve signed an endorsement contract, after she signs a deal with JMP Management, or after they’ve rode the leg of an IFBB official or judge. It would be ridiculous and absurd to believe differently! Sure, more times than not, if you deserve to win the Olympia the best bodybuilder will win regardless of the athletes political ties or who that athlete may be endorsed by, but that cannot be said for placing in the top ten. And that certainly isn’t the case in other IFBB events or more obviously the women’s competitions. The Mr. Olympia Bodybuilding Competition is the Pinnacle of the sport where most intense focus is placed on this event and who holds the title. The crowning of Mr. Olympia has to be deserving, free of politics regardless… everyone is watching. Even in retirement from competing, Rob Cicherello continues to be a politically correct lackey. Yes, there are arguments throughout the bodybuilding and fitness industry as to whether or not politics exist, as few facts cannot be argues. As long as the following practices exist in the NPC & IFBB politics is a foregone conclusion, you be the judge.
1. Judges are allowed to give interviews voicing their opinions in regard to competitors.
2. The IFBB president’s son owns and operates JMP Management for female athletes.
3. Supplement companies (and related companies) owners are allowed to judge their own endorsed athletes.
4. As long as there is no independent panel of individuals to oversee the judging, to determine whether judging is corrupt or not… politics are here to stay… period! No politics? I was banned from all IFBB events for starting W.P.I!!
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Craig Michael Titus was born in Wyandotte, Michigan on Jan 14, 1967. The eldest of Michael and Sandra Titus’ three children. In high school, Craig wrestled for his school team at 132lbs. After graduation, decided to put on some muscle via weight training. When Craig graduated from high school he was 5’6″ and 140lbs. By the age of 21, he was 5’9″ and 185lbs. Once he started weight training and seeing results, he was hooked. Craig’s first bodybuilding show was the 1988 Houston Bodybuilding Championships in which he won the Men’s Open middleweight class and the overall title.
2002 Mr. Olympia – 11th
2002 Night of Champions XIV – 5th
2002 Southwest Pro – 7th
2001 British Grand Prix – 9th
2001 Mr. Olympia – 12th
2001 Arnold Classic – 6th
2001 SAN FRANCISCO GRAND PRIX – 2nd
2001 IRONMAN PRO INVITATIONAL – 5th
2000 Toronto Pro – 1st
2000 Arnold Classic – 10th
2000 Night of Champions – 11th
2000 Ironman Pro Invitational – 8th
1996 NPC USA Championships — 1st Heavyweight and Overall
1995 NPC USA Championships — 2nd Heavyweight
1994 NPC National Championships — 2nd Heavyweight
1994 NPC USA Championships — 2nd Heavyweight
1993 NPC USA Championships — 4th Heavyweight
1991 NPC Ironman/Ironmaiden — Overall
1990 NPC Tournament of Champions — 3rd Heavyweight
1990 NPC Western Cup — Overall
1989 NPC Houston Bodybuilding Championships — Overall