Muscle Sport Magazine

Will Toney Freeman Be the First of Many IFBB to NSL?

Toney Freeman NSL press conference

Veteran leadership is something that you can’t put a price tag on… even one with six figures. With Toney Freeman jumping ship from the IFBB to the Nspire Sports League, it is a move that has many implications at face value and even more behind the scenes. The veteran bodybuilder has been a fan favorite and one of the most respected pros on the circuit and he brings all of that and more as not only a competitor, but also a brand ambassador to the NSL.

“Toney will be doing guest appearances, education, training and brand support,” NSL commissioner Lee Thompson told MuscleSport Magazine.


Freeman, 50, also possesses an amazing aesthetic physique, hence his “X-Man” nickname, and has been one of the most active bodybuilders contest-wise. But he was outspoken about the judging standards (or lack thereof) and the poor venues where IFBB shows have been held in a Generation Iron video interview in February. That led to two very low placings in his next two shows.


Freeman placed fourth at the Kevin Levrone Classic in Poland in a very light line-up and then he placed dead last (12th) at the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio. In both instances, he deserved better and it isn’t a stretch to say that he was being spanked for speaking his mind.

So now that Freeman is part of the NSL, it will be interesting to see if the judging standards that he spoke about will be implemented into the fledging organization. Thompson has been adding men’s physique, figure and bikini names to the fray, and now hopefully this will be the first of many pro bodybuilders to make the switch.

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It would appear that may be the case, as Freeman was signed to a reported six-figure contract (“$150,000 a year for two years and a Ritmo Mundo watch,” Thompson says with a smile) and the NSL allows for revenue sharing. Neither would have taken placed in the IFBB and it will be difficult for someone to make a ‘pledge of allegiance’ video to the IFBB when there is a payday waiting for them on the other side of the street.


Because Freeman has earned all of the respect and popularity he has, perhaps some of the younger bodybuilders may ask him for advice. And there are without question some others who agree with Freeman’s assessment on the judging.

Thompson says, “Toney has always spoken his mind, which makes him perfect for the NSL as a brand.” The former IFBB official added that the NSL will announce shortly when Freeman will make his stage debut.

“I reached a crossroad in my life and decided that it was time for a change,” said Freeman in a statement. “After much thought, prayer, and discussions with my family, I have decided to control my brand in an environment that supports a shared economy with the athlete.”

Added Thompson, “(Freeman) has mentioned some names. We are in negotiations with other top-five Olympia athletes at this time.”

All of these add up to show that the X-Man may be the first of many to leave the IFBB for potential ‘greener’ pastures.

Photo courtesy of Lee Thompson/Instagram