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Anti-Trust Lawsuit Still Lingering Over Arnold Classic
- Updated: April 5, 2016
Oddly enough, the hierarchy of the IFBB may have had their darkest hour under the guise of one of their brightest. The Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio is one of the most prestigious events on the annual calendar and it would take a monumental effort to dampen the spirits of the two men who profit the most out of its success. But that is precisely what happened last month at the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio.
Both Jim Manion and Raphael Santoja were served with copies of an anti-trust lawsuit filed by Lee Thompson of the Nspire Sports League. MuscleSport Magazine obtained a copy of said lawsuit and it stated:
“Defendants have monopolized and/or attempted to monopolize the business of competitive bodybuilding in the United States by locking out potential competitors, including Nspire, through, among other things, exclusive dealing contracts and/or de facto exclusive dealing contracts with vendors, sponsors, contest judges and competitors.”
The suit goes on describe what took place last December when the NPC scheduled a contest to go head-to-head against an NSL show in Houston, Texas. One of the NSL’s sponsors for their show (Space City), Pro Tan, ended up removing themselves and the end result was that they did in fact perform the same function at the NPC Texas Cup.
Two other examples were mentioned – one with a supplement company and another with Muscle & Fitness magazine – in which business was effected as a result of the NPC/IFBB’s influence.
Furthermore, it stated, “Upon information and belief, Defendants have used intimidation, threats, punishment, harassment, and/or coercion (a) to prevent vendors and sponsors from associating with Nspire and (b) to cause certain physique athletes who left NPC and/or IFBB Professional to join Nspire, including Andrea Calhoun and Logan Franklin, to return to NPC and/or IFBB Professional.”
Franklin, an IFBB men’s physique division pro, had posted on social media back in January that he was leaving the NSL and begged for forgiveness to be allowed back into the IFBB. And Calhoun, an IFBB figure pro, made a near-duplicate post around the same time. Coincidence? Perhaps, but you can be the judge.
Ironically, Santoja was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Arnold Classic, and Manion was his predecessor.
So while the contest season is in full swing now, there is a dark cloud following the IFBB.