There's a lot going on in the world bodybuilding and fitnes, namely in the flagship organization - the National Physique Committee (NPC) and the International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB). Joe Weider, the Father of Bodybuilding, and his [deceased] brother and longtime IFBB President, Ben Weider, have been out of the game for quite some time. The current leadership of the IFBB seems to be that of triumvate, consisting of Robin Chang, the face of AMI (the company that bought out the Weider publications and operates the Mr. Olympia), Jim Manion (the president of the U.S. Branch of the IFBB, and Steve Weinberger the owner of Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym. These three figures, allegedly, control the IFBB and any media outlet wishing to cover contests and/or other exibitions.
The leadership of the IFBB has been called into question over the years, but now an organized front is being created -- once again. In the early 1990's, a rival federation (the World Bodybulding Federation) was created by WWF/WWE mogul Vince McMahon. This organization took major stars like Gary Strydom, Mike Christian, and "Mighty" Mike Quinn. While the WBF lasted only three years, it forced the Weiders to pay better contracts and it improved conditions for the athletes. A vocal leader of the WBF was IFBB Champion Tom Platz. In 2006, another rival organization founded by Wayne DeMilia sought to challenge the IFBB. This federation, albeit much smaller than the WBF, enjoyed the support of Tom Platz and legendary bodybuilder Lee Priest. It held shows in New York City, the United Kingdom, and Scandinavia from 2006-2007. Today, a not so new federation - the World Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation - founded by IFBB great, Paul Dillett, is beginning to gain steam. The WBFF is backed by a slew of mainstream sponsors, it has a Men's Physique, Women's Figure, and Women's Bikini. It's also a major thorn in the side of the IFBB.
John Romano & Lee Priest are the hosts of the Shotgun Big Show, a program sponsored and produced exclusively by VPX, which until late last night was also the title sponsor of RxMuscle.com's popular forums. This site, through its bonehead moderators, has permitted continued fan-based attacks against Romano & Priest, answering any fan that defends them or seeks to honor them, with punishments ranging from blacklisting to banning. Ironically, John Romano, co-founded the RxMuscle site you see today.
Long story short, John Romano & Lee Priest are battling a GIANT for better conditions for the athletes and better entertainment for the fans. I have started a VPX Fan Group on Facebook (link is down below on the right/side panel). You can visit VPX Forums **Here** and you can visit the Shotgun Big Show page **here.**
A couple of days ago, I posted a thread on RxMuscle.com's Forums titled "A Tribute to John Romano." The thread was deleted within 60 Seconds. I have been a member of RxMuscle Forums for close to a year, with over 1,000 posts to my name. This was not spam. A member of my VPX SBS Fangroup then re-posted my thread on his own -- again deleted. I was then banned for a day for mention (co-founder) John Romano on the boards. Later, I posted my concerns on VPX Forums... John then shared his thoughts there as well.. hours later RxMuscle pulled VPX ads - costing them $20,000 a month in sponsorship proceeds.
John Romano alleges that Dave Palumbo was ordered by Jim Manion and Steve Weinberger to cut ties with VPX. If this is true, we are dealing with a level of censorship and thuggery unlike any we've seen in quite some time. There are allegations being made by Paul Dillett that the IFBB is trying to hinder his organization's success and very existence. There are also allegations being made that Mr. Manion has had a falling out with Rafael Santoja head of the Interenational Wing of the IFBB and that this year, the Arnold Classic will have a Int'l sanction but not an American IFBB one.
A union betweeen Jim Lorimer and Rafael Santoja, that at some point could include a cameo by longtime reformers like Tom Platz, and even appearances by Priest & Romano, and we could be looking at a hostile takeover of the IFBB -- or at the very least, a future that will command the presence of the WBFF as a formidable alternative to the longtime giant in the United States. The stakes are high -- the IFBB' dominated FORUMS are policed METICULOUSLY by robot-like PUMPKINHEAD moderators that take great pride at any chance that will allow them to bully the masses from behind avatars in far away lands.
I asked Lee Priest for a quote, and I'd like to close with it.
"The NPC/IFBB is a joke; it sickens me to no end the way they treat sponosrs,athletes and fans. Enough is enough! It's time people take a stand - without the sponsors or athletes and fans the NPC/IFBB is nothing. So remember that you all have the power to bring about change."
- Lee Priest