Natural bodybuilder Brandon Lirio was at the most rigged bodybuilding competition of all time… and wants to share the shocking experience.

With any professional sport, fans may sometimes wonder with the results of the event were rigged. Some may blame biased refs in football or basketball – or that judges fudge scores towards a biased athlete for first place. More often than not, these events are not rigged. The rumors are just expressed frustration from passionate fans of a team or athlete. But sometimes, cheating does happen. In this particular instance within the bodybuilding world – the cheating was shockingly heavy-handed. In our latest episode of the U-Natty States Of America podcast, Brandon Lirio details the story behind the most rigged competition in bodybuilding history.

In recent years, there have been some accusations of cheating promoters at bodybuilding events. These often involve discrepancies with the weigh-ins for divisions such as Men’s 212 or Classic Physique. But the story that Brandon Lirio shares in this week’s podcast episode takes the term “rigged” to a whole new level. It was so shockingly mishandled – that the record of this event has nearly be scrubbed completely from the internet. Luckily for us, Brandon Lirio was at the event to tell us his first-hand account.

Brandon Lirio doesn’t mention the federation or competition by name. Though he does mention that it was a drug-tested competition. It was an international show. And it was an event that started on the wrong foot before any athlete even stepped on stage. Let’s jump into it.

The story behind the most rigged bodybuilding competition of all time

Brandon Lirio found himself abroad just two days before an upcoming bodybuilding competition. At this point in time, it was a typical competition week. But the first red flag appeared when all athletes received an email, just 48 hours before the show, that the venue location had been changed. It was in the same country – but now located 40 minutes out from where the original location was planned.

This last minute change caused much distress for athletes who already had accommodations. It was the first of many red flags including registration start dates being delayed multiple times – and an announcement that the promoter of the show had decided to compete in it himself. It was clear that this event was disorganized in a major way. But most athletes trudged through it in order to do what they love – compete.

Fast forward to the stage show. Brandon Lirio and his fellow athletes seemed to notice off placings in the early competing divisions. But since they were not judges, they assumed that it was a slight difference of perspective. People often disagree with judges after all. However, as the divisions continued, there was one competition result that was so completely wrong that it derailed the rest of the night.

A young and underdeveloped man (who Brandon Lirio claimed looked like a Men’s Physique competitor in stature but was in an open division) somehow earned first place over a much more accomplished bodybuilder. The result was so obviously wrong that the head judge stood up, grabbed a microphone, and personally asked each judge to name their first place pick.

None of them said the winner’s name.

Result recounts, steroid accusations, and first fights

At this point, the head judge demands a recount of all results announced thus far. This causes a stir. The athletes who had already won were worried and defensive of their titles. The coaches and judges were angry wondering how many wrong placings were called.

As the recount moves ahead, it becomes clear that many of the results were completely incorrect. This causes further aggression and sets the mood of the night into a toxic atmosphere.

As the tension grows, suddenly a federation aid appears on stage. He’s astonishingly angry and starts to yell – claiming that many of the athletes who competed were cheating by using steroids. He demanded that they should not be allowed to win and that an investigation be held. The man is escorted off stage (as he had no proof of his accusations – and the show was drug tested). But at this point, the damage was already done.

Coaches start blaming other coaches and athletes of using steroids. The arguments turn into shoving matches and physical altercations follow. Suddenly, it was clear that some athletes or coaches were simply stealing the trophies from their display table – likely in effort to cement their announced placings. The event had descended into complete chaos.

At this point, Brandon Lirio notices that the owner of the venue is speaking to the promoter. The venue owner makes it clear that he has called the cops and that everyone needed to vacate the venue. If they didn’t by the time the police arrived – they would have to deal with the law.

It was at this moment that Brandon Liro and his family and friends decided to leave. They had enough fun for the day. Lirio’s last image of the event was looking out the car window as they pulled away. The police were just arriving and the flashing lights were the last memory he had of this chaotic event.

Wrap Up

This entire story is told according to Brandon Lirio and there is very little evidence archived online to back up his claims. So why share this story now? Lirio hopes that he can inspire athletes to understand their value. That athletes should demand that their federation ensure regulations are in place so that every competition runs the same with the same standards.

Regardless of the league or federation – the people most hurt by a rigged show are the athletes themselves. It not only cheats people out of their hard earned victory, it can also discourage others from finding joy in the sport of bodybuilding entirely.

You can watch Brandon Lirio tell the entire story in great detail by watching the latest episode of U-Natty States Of America above. Make sure to check back every Wednesday for new episodes only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever podcasts are downloaded.

Jacob Ladon is a staff writer and former amateur bodybuilder. He has been passionate about bodybuilding since he was 15 years old and discovered the joys of training in the gym. He reports and comments on all bodybuilding related matters.