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Last night’s prejudging at the Arnold Classic was full of surprises, controversies, and exciting moments. One of the biggest topics to address is Big Ramy’s performance. Many people were waiting to see if he had improved since the 2022 Olympia. Since, Ramy has been getting stem cell treatment, but unfortunately, the judges seemed to have given him no chance to prove himself.

Unfortunately, I feel the judges might have been influenced by Big Ramy’s transparency about stem cell treatment, which could be perceived as a way of cheating. I believe that the judges did not want to reward an athlete who underwent such a medical procedure, especially if it could prompt rumors and questions about other bodybuilders using stem cell treatment. Can you imagine the controversy of Big Ramy coming back next year and winning the Olympia after stem cell treatment? I feel like the judges do not want to sensationalize or encourage stem cell therapy.

Another notable story was William Bonak’s performance. At first, I was surprised that Bonak was not part of the first call out, but after examining pictures of his physique, I realized that his legs were not the problem, but rather some knots and inflammation in his body. It is unclear whether those knots and inflammation are due to site injections or not, but nevertheless, I believe that if Bonak could remove those blemishes and improve his physique, he could redeem himself and beat other bodybuilders, such as Shaun Clarida, who had a successful showing at the Arnold Classic.

All the other competitors were great as well, such as Samson Dauda, Justin Rodriguez, Patrick Moore, and Shaun Clarita. In particular, I was impressed with Shaun’s performance and I believe that he could beat Ramy if he kept up his consistency and confidence. There’s no doubt in my mind that the nickname “The Giant Killer” belongs on Shaun Clarida’s birth certificate.