Victor Martinez and the Generation Iron team debate: Is the Masters Olympia dangerous for athlete health? And who can Chris Bumstead beat in Men’s Open?

After Chris Bumstead solidified his fourth Classic Physique Olympia win – rumors began to circulate about his potential outside of the division. Often considered to be the most popular bodybuilder regardless of division, fans speculated whether or not he could succeed in Men’s Open. Bumstead has teased this notion in the past, he’s spoken to Generation Iron directly about it in our upcoming documentary featuring him and the RAW/Revive team. But most pointedly, he recently spoke about it in a YouTube video – saying that he would be interested in competing in the Men’s Open for fun one day but probably not in the Mr. Olympia.

With that in mind, Victor Martinez and the GI team decided to make some fun theoretical predictions. How well could Chris Bumstead do in the Men’s Open division? And which top tier competitors could he potentially beat if he added 30 extra pounds of muscle on his frame? In our latest episode of the Generation Iron Podcast, things get heated when it’s suggested that Chris Bumstead can easily defeat former Mr. Olympia champion Big Ramy.

Other topics this week include Calum Von Moger‘s promise to make a comeback in 2023 and whether he can live up to it. Eddie Hall’s announcement that he will be preparing to compete in bodybuilding. And whether or not the return of the Masters Olympia poses a health threat to athletes. Let’s jump into it.

Can Chris Bumstead Beat Big Ramy in Men’s Open?

Chris Bumstead has expressed that he would be interested in one day competing in Men’s Open. Though it seems this would be more of an experiment and not an attempt for the Mr. Olympia title – it opens the floodgates for what Bumstead would look like as a larger Men’s Open athlete.

It has often been cited that Chris Bumstead has one of the best physiques in modern bodybuilding. This is regardless of division. So if he was able to remove his weight limit from the division and pack on 30 more pounds for a bigger package… would he dominate the Men’s Open?

It’s not that far flung of a question – seeing that our current 2022 Mr. Olympia champion, Hadi Choopan, started as a Men’s 212 athlete. When he first made the decision to transition into open, many thought it was a foolish move. Fast forward over five years later and he is now the number one bodybuilder in the world with a Sandow trophy and massive prize money. Could Bumstead do the same if he had a desire to?

The GI podcast crew is split on this notion. Some believe that he would not be able to size up and win the title. Others think he could do phenomenally well. In fact, Generation Iron Persia’s very own, Ehsan Farahi, believes that Chris Bumstead could easily defeat former Mr. Olympia champion Big Ramy. Victor does not whole-heartedly agree but agrees that 2022 showed that Ramy is beatable.

However, this transition is not something Ehsan would want to ultimately see. He thinks it is too big of a risk – and that his career is flourishing in Classic Physique. No need to shake it up.

“Can he [Chris Bumstead] beat Big Ramy? I say yes.”

– Ehsan Farahi


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Does the return of the Masters Olympia put athletes health at risk?

The Olympia brand was excited to announce last year that the Masters Olympia would be making a comeback. Set to be held in Romania, on Aug. 26-27, 2023. This would be the first time the competition was held since 2012. But with the recent deaths and health issues seen in the sport, could this put more athletes at risk?

The existence of the Masters Olympia gives a longer term goal for all pro athletes competing. Most will battle to become a Mr. Olympia champion. Then, as they age, they can set their sights on the Masters Olympia. This keeps them in the pro sport longer and provides more opportunities for not only prize money – but continued sponsorships.

This is all well and good, but is it also dangerous to be actively bodybuilding on a pro level for that long? Particularly with the culture of PED and drug use in modern bodybuilding? Victor Martinez openly admits that the risk increases for older athletes who stay on gear and push their body to the limit for so long. Though he falls short of saying that it is dangerous.

Ehsan Farahi, on the other hand, thinks that it is a bad idea and sends the wrong message. It puts a carrot on a stick and hangs it in front of pro competitors or much longer into their lives. It would encourage more competition, which could lead to pushing the body too far at late-stage middle age.

It should be noted that before disappearing for a decade, the Masters Olympia had run since the mid-90s. While it is near impossible to track the specific causes or long term health issues – there was no serious complications for Masters Athletes during those two decades.

For Victor Martinez, he offers a middle-ground solution. For the IFBB Pro brand and promoters to protect themselves and to help protect the athletes – Martinez thinks a required proof of a doctors visit and bloodwork should be considered. “A clean bill of health” to prove that the bodybuilders are in the right fitness level to handle competition day.

Beyond potential drug use, the final days of contest prep and dehydration can be risker for men and women at older ages. So proof of being fit and healthy will go a long way to help ensure that the athletes on stage can handle being dried out and posing under hot lights for hours at a time.

RELATED:Bodybuilders Are Dying – An Investigation Into Modern Bodybuilding, Health, & PED Use

Can Calum Von Moger make an impactful bodybuilding comeback?

At the top of the new year, Calum Von Moger broke his social media silence with a direct message to his fans. He claimed that he had been getting help, is in the process of bringing himself into better mental health, and intends to “come back” in 2023. To what extent is unclear, but it seems that he has indicated he is training and working his body back up to the physique the world fell in love with.

The question is – will Calum Von Moger’s comeback have any impact on the bodybuilding world? Von Moger has had many false starts and setbacks throughout his career. Before his mental health and drug struggles, he faced numerous injuries that set back is competitive bodybuilding career. It also affected his casting opportunities in the film industry.

The internet landscape changes fast, will Calum Von Moger find the same level of success in 2023 as he did in past years? Or has his spiral changed his public perception too much? Ehsan Farahi thinks that Von Moger has been given “too many second chances.” That the goodwill of the bodybuilding community has dissipated. Many bodybuilding fans are happy to hear he is getting help and recovering. But will probably not invest their time in him the same way they used to.

Vlad Yudin disagrees. He believes that Calum Von Moger was famous not only for his physique but his charisma and personality. If Von Moger can bring himself back to the right headspace, Yudin thinks that he can easily obtain his old levels of popularity.

RELATED: Watch the feature film documentary – Calum Von Moger: Unbroken

Wrap Up

Victor Martinez and the GI team cover far more topics than can be detailed in this one article. That’s why you should make sure to watch the latest episode of the Generation Iron Podcast above. Make sure to check back every Tuesday for new episodes only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever podcasts are downloaded.

Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.