Muscle Sport Magazine

The World of Muscle Podcast


Special thanks to Randy Roach and Tamas Acs for the great plugs about MuscleSport Magazine on the latest episode of The World of Muscle podcast. Episode 32 – Delegate Manipulation (Part 2) American Muscle Monopoly delves into the feature article of the same name that Roach (bodybuilding historian and author of the “Muscle Smoke and Mirrors” series) penned in the Spring issue of MuscleSport Magazine.


Episode description:

How we arrived at the debauchery the NPC is today

The NPC is a fair non-profit organization, right?  WRONG!   What is correct is it’s registered as a non-profit organization.  That’s where the truth ends.

Their financials reveal otherwise.  Their behaviour is also the opposite of fair.

With the inside information from this podcast, discover

  • How the NPC came to be and why
  • How Jim Manion became the president… and who put him there
  • How deep the corruption goes (it’s not just the politics)
  • What underhanded tactics Jim Manion uses to keep hist control (it’s worse than you think)
  • Where all the money they collect from the athletes goes… and the claims they make about it to the IRS
  • and much more….

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Hosts:  Randy Roach and Tamas Acs

Episode #32 

American Muscle Monopoly 

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In This Episode:

An update on the 2016 American election primaries

A look at the recent anti-trust lawsuit filed by Lee Thompson  against the NPC and IFBB

A historical review of the monopolies of the iron Game over the past 75 years

What is in store for the Manion family in 2016 pertaining to this lawsuit

Related Links:

Link to The American Muscle Monopoly

Link to current online version of  MuscleSport magazine

Link to Lee Thompson’s facebook


Episode Summary

Randy updated his coverage of the 2016 American election primaries with the dropping out of Ted Cruz from the race

Randy feels that Cruz did America a big favour by dropping out and avoiding a potential  social-political crisis at the Republican convention in Cleveland if they tried to take the nomination from the front runner Donald Trump

Talk of the possibility of a split in the Republican party to create a third party run would guarantee a Hillary Clinton presidency Randy feels

Arnold Schwarzenegger does not support Donald Trump and is on board with the current globalization project

Randy used Arnold as a segue into part 2 of this series which is the lawsuit filed by Lee Thompson against the NPC and IFBB

In his early thirties in 1999 Lee Thompson sold one of the   world’s largest oil/gas and chemical emergency response companies to Halliburton Services

He Joined the NPC in 2002, became the NPC chairman for Texas and in 2006he became a judge for the IFBB Professional League

Lee grew tired of the whole IFBB/NPC scene by 2015

The IFBB state that they let him go , but Lee said he left on his own

Lee started his own organization called NPC Global

He had to change the  name to NSpire Sports League due to trademark conflict with the NPC

Thompson knew this beforehand, but did so to draw information as to who owned the trademark

Thompson set up a contest for his new organization for December of 2015 and found the NPC interfering with athletes wanting to compete in his show

Lee filed a suit on November 5, 2015 against the NPC for violating the sports act of 1978 which  states that amateur athletes can compete anywhere they like without penalty


Two days later, Joe Pietaro of MuscleSport magazine wrote on the extensive allegations levied against the NPC.  Tamas read from Joe’s report..

Tamas read off these allegations:

The lawsuit states that throughout his affiliation with the NPC, Thompson personally “discovered countless instances of unethical, unlawful and underhanded conduct on part of Manion, Manion’s subordinates and employees” of the NPC, and said conduct was “directed towards industry sponsors, athletes competing in unaffiliated events and athletes competing in National Physique-sanctioned events. Such conduct included, but was not limited to, extortion, coercion, intimidation, assault, battery, fraud, fraudulent inducement, tortious interference and duress.”

The suit further alleges that Thompson uncovered “contests that were “rigged” in an effort to exert additional control over the industry and those participating in same. The judging and/or scoring of these competitions was “rigged” in order to ensure that certain athletes won competitions and to ensure that certain athletes failed to win competitions.” Another point was Thompson encountering “numerous instances of tax fraud on the part of National Physique in an effort to maintain its non-profit status and enrich its officers and directors.”

Regarding what has happened since Thompson left the NPC in September, the suit alleges that he has been the “victim of various attempts by Manion and National Physique to tortuously interfere with his and Nspire’s attempts to organize, promote, market and conduct Nspire-sanctioned events and competitions. National Physique and Manion have harassed, threatened, intimidated, punished, banner and/or ostracized athletes and sponsors in the industry as a result of their affiliation with Thompson and/or Nspire.”

Thompson and the NPC supposedly settled the suit when Jim Manion issued a public statement that the NPC was not to interfere with athletes wishing to compete in Thompson’s NSpire events

Thompson stated that the NPC did in fact continue  their harassment so he refilled his suit in January of 2016

Thompson immediately followed with a second  suit which was an anti-trust suit against both the NPC and IFBB

Rafael Santonja of the IFBB and Jim Manion, Steve Weinberger, Sandy Ranalli-Williamson of the NPC were served notice of this suit at this year’s 2016 Arnold Classic

Randy then shared from his recent MuscleSport magazine article, “The American Muscle Monopoly”  on the previous monopolies of the Iron Game over the past 75 years

Bob Hoffman of York, Pennsylvania grew to a major power in American weightlifting and the AAU using the success of his oil burner business through  the depression years of the 1930s

He  began his Strength and Health magazine in 1932, coached his York weightlifting club and began producing his own York barbells

The AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) controlled all amateur sports in America for the first 75 years of the 20thcentury

Bob Hoffman’s rule over AAU weighlifting gave him favourable positioning over bodybuilding when  the AAU  ran its first Mr. America contest on the heels of a national AAU  weightlifting event

Bob Hoffman and his York gang ruled and monopolized the commerce of the  American Iron Game for the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and much of the 1970s

Joe and Ben Weider began to cut into this market in 1940 with the launch of their own magazine, Your Physique

The Weiders were no challenge to the AAU  in terms of physique competitions when Joe and Ben  unrolled their IFBB (International Federation of Body Builders) in the later 1940s

The IFBB was basically dormant internationally through   the 1950s

It was through the 1960s that the IFBB began to rise into a more recognized position

Oscar State, Secretary of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), took a liking to Ben Weider and helped Ben organize the IFBB into a viable international governing body for the sport

Oscar knew the  IWF was going to drop bodybuilding from under its wing and he was instrumental into bringing that existing body of national affiliates  over to the IFBB when the IFBB ratified their constitution at their first congress in 1971

Oscar was also instrumental in getting the IFBB GAISF status (General Association of International Sports Federations)

GAISF was an international coordinating body that gave official recognition to just one global governing body per sport

The 1970s would be the decade the IFBB would take control of bodybuilding from Bob Hoffman and the York controlled AAU Weightlifting Committee

The Sports Act of 1978 would create this opportune environment because it divested power from American amateur sports from the AAU and NCAA to the  United States  Olympic Committee (USOC)

Ken Sprague was a Key figure in shifting this power by placing Jim Manion in the chairmanship  position of the AAU Physique Committee which was slowly transitioning into the new NPC (National Physique Committee)

Sprague wrote the rule book and knew how to manipulate the delegates and the vote to both put Jim Manion in power and to keep him inpower in 1977 and 1978 respectively 

Ken did so believing it was better for bodybuilding to have it under the control  of the west-based Weiders as opposed to the east-based York gang

It would also benefit Ken Sprague and his Gold’s Gym in terms of promotion to have Manion in power also.

By the 1980s, Jim Manion was in control of American amateur bodybuilding, Wayne DeMilia was taking control of professional  bodybuilding and both men helped the Weiders who leveraged their related industries to become the new monopolizers of bodybuilding

Wayne departed the IFBB in 2004

He took with him the corporation Pro Division Inc. which he started for pro bodybuilding

Jim Manion took control of pro bodybuilding with a new organization called the IFBB Pro League

With all of his positioning, Jim Manion took over an enormous amount of power for both American amateur bodybuilding and the professional ranks

When Lee Thompson became fed up with what he had experienced in both the NPC and IFBB he left to begin his own organization

Manion had his promoters run shows on the same day and in the same cities where Thompson was running contests in order to hurt Lee Thompson’s  events

Manion does not seem to care that this also hurts his own promoters efforts as they also loose contestants to  Thompson’s contests

The promoters most likely have to do as Manion says if they want to continue promoting contests in their districts

Tamas then read another facebook post  by Lee Thompson regarding the IRS:


Today, I am grateful for an AMAZING legal team for compiling one of the most comprehensive legal responses I have ever read. I have received countless calls from those in the sport who understand law and from legal experts commending this team on it’s stance for doing what is right and just for the members of the community.

I am also glad the package I submitted to the IRS WhistleBlowers section was received. As I have recommended to many of my former trustee’s and directors of James B. Manion’s Non-Profit organization the NPC you too SHOULD review the laws pertaining to 501c3’s and/consult with your own legal or tax consultant as to the potential LIABILITY you may be exposed too at his point. The choice is YOURS at this point in time…

Tamas stated how most  people fear the IRS more than anything else

Randy again mentioned that there are links to his  “The American Muscle Monopoly” article   included with this podcast along with a link to Joe Pietaro’s online spring edition of MuscleSport magazine

Randy also reminded  listeners about Volume III, Book 2 and how it will deal with the unbelievable relationship between Wayne DeMilia and the Weider brothers

Hot off the press update:

Randy and Tamas piped in again later that day with another update from Lee Thompson’s posts

Tamas read the following:

Interesting facts for the 2014 990 – NPC filing

1. J.M. Manion listed on 990 for the first time ever as a photographer without a bid for his services.

2. Around The NPC & IFBB with JM Manion was compensated more than $300K while the President of the organization was only compensated $250K.

3. I was still an active Board of Governor during this period and there was NEVER a compensation committee vote brought to the members.

Does it make any sense what so ever that a photographer made more than the President?

And 2 MILLION dollars spent on printing. Printing of what? And finally again, it states ALL Board of Governors authorized…I never voted to approve any funds. More than 50% of the revenue brought in by the non-profit 501c3 is spent on printing – yet it’s purpose is to promote the amateurs…where are those publications I ask?

This tax form discloses the financial  breakdown for the  NPC showing how Jim Manion earned $250,000 as president

Lee Thompson pointed out the oddity of a photographer making more than the president, that being JM Manion earning $300,000 for that position

Even more perplexing to Lee Thompson was how two million  dollars went out for printing

As one of the   board of  governors, he was not aware of any of this

Randy reiterated the coercion  of promoters to run shows against Lee Thompson’s events in order to put Thompson out of  business

Randy recalled back in 1973 when Joe Weider instructed Tom Minicheillo  to run his Mr. Olympia on the same  day as Dan Lurie was running his Pro Mr. America

Tom ended up getting hurt financially  due to his  lowered   attendance due to competing with Dan who had Steve Reeves as a guest star that drew a packed house

Randy pointed out to all the current NPC members who are paying a constantly growing fee as to just where it appears to be going…into the pockets of the Manion family

Where the Weider brothers looted bodybuilding via their leveraged industries, Manion is making his  fortune off the backs of the athletes

Randy and Tamas concluded that with the IRS involved that it will most likely be a rough road for the Manion family

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