In this day and age of social media, a minor incident that would have been forgotten about after a few minutes becomes an ongoing debate that takes on a life of its own. A perfect example of that was what allegedly occurred involving IFBB pro bodybuilder Evan Centopani during the afternoon of Monday, December 28 at the Montanari Brothers Powerhouse Gym in New Haven, Connecticut.
According to a Facebook post by an individual named Pawan Lapborisuth, which appeared as follows:
“Warning: This will be a relatively long post about how I was physically assaulted today by someone who I used to look up to since I was 15-16 years old.
So my good friend Alexander Najar and Ryan Tanner came to visit me today in new haven. We went to the powerhouse gym to catch a workout in together. We decided to head over to the deadlift station to do some deadlifts. Next to us, no one but the famous (in the bodybuilding world) Ifbb pro Evan Centopani was deadlifting and barbell rowing with his buddy Daniel Noccioli. After a few sets in, a guy came in behind us to wait for a spot to use the bar after we are done. In the middle of our workout, Evan came over to yell at us…
“If you guys are dicking around, let the guy do his workout!”. We were obviously baffled since we were actually working out while Evan himself held up the bar for even longer than we did. Being courteous, we wrapped up and took all the weights off the bar and let the guy use our spot to deadlift. Annoyed, I was complaining that we had the right to use the spot as much as he did and that we were still in the middle of our workout.
Overhearing me saying that, he came over and yelled at me “WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY? YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS HERE.” He preceded to SLAPPED ME IN THE FACE, PUSHED ME AND CHASED ME OFF THE GYM. He threatened to punch me in the face and yelled at me to leave the gym while saying that I had no right to be there. I paid my fees. I signed my rights to be there. I did not violate any laws. I did not once touch him. I walked out of the gym. Called the cops and reported him. I am not pressing any charges but I could as well have pressed one.
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To think that I used to look up to him when I was younger. That I was inspired to be like him. That I even took a picture holding his hand. I was more than disappointed but actually appalled by his behavior. Not to mention that he came after me, the only non white person there at the scene. While I can’t say that that is why he came after me it was more than likely the case.
I will never in my life step foot in that place again but it was for sure one of the most disgusting behavior I have ever seen from someone who should be representing the sport of bodybuilding. I used to think that bodybuilders are misrepresented with people calling them meatheads and jackasses, but at times like this, they might be right after all.
MuscleSport Magazine reached out to Centopani, as well as co-owners of the Powerhouse Gym Darin and Jerry Montanari without receiving a reply. MSM contacted Lapborisuth, who wanted to clarify the part of his post about race.
“Both of my friends that were there with me were white, but I do not want to blame race as I was the one voicing out that we had the right to use the equipment as much as he did and it was probably that he overheard me more than because of who I am,” he explained. Lapborisuth further stated that he did not sustain any physical injuries.
We contacted the New Haven Police Department and were informed that the report was for “assault/fight” with no physical injury listed and the responding officer did not perform a preliminary investigation because the complainant (Lapborisuth) had stated at that time that he did not wish to press charges.
On December 29, Centopani posted the following on the Muscular Development forum:
First and foremost, I want to thank my friends, fans and supporters who have shown that a solid reputation built over the course of many years overshadows the allegations of one individual. In the wake of the circulating rumors and speculation regarding an alleged incident at my home gym, never has the importance of standing up for what I believe in and acting in accordance with those beliefs been so apparent to me.
Anyone who knows me; be it well or simply in passing, is aware of my commitment to represent myself and the sport of bodybuilding in a positive manner. To me, this has always meant sticking up for what I know is right, opening my mouth if need be and defending my position and my person. Simply put, I respect those deserving of respect and unless proven otherwise I believe everyone is deserving. To that end, I have made it my career-long mission to go out of my way to help people, share knowledge and act in accordance with the greater good. That said, it is unfortunate that there are individuals out there who will stop at nothing in an effort to intentionally damage my reputation. While I refuse to do the same in response, I am confident that those who have read these allegations will see them for what they really are.
In closing, I again want to thank everyone for their continued support and loyalty. Please know that I refuse to give any further life to this.
We reached out to Lapborisuth for a comment regarding the above post and he appears to want to put the matter behind him.
“I have never meant to hurt or damage anyone’s reputation, even less so to those that I have always looked up to as role models and as heroes of the sport,” he said. “Did it hurt to have been hit by him? Yes, absolutely. He is a 290-pound-plus bodybuilder who was working out in the gym. Hell, even I know how my mood changes when I am there and how mad I can get if someone said something that would piss me off when I am working out. I have been there and while I cannot say I know exactly how he felt, I do understand why he would have done it. As a man myself, I can take a hit to the face and move on and that is exactly what I am going to do from now on.
“I decided to share my story of what happened with my friends and while it may have gotten out of hand and was shared among the bodybuilding community, I originally did not plan for that to happen” continued Lapborisuth. “No one deserves to be physically assaulted, but everybody makes mistakes and I am willing to let it go. I am not physically hurt nor (did) I sustain any injuries. I would like to say right here and right now that I do not want this incident to go any further. I hope that we all learn from what happened and that no one ever ends up getting hurt again. I am going to remove my original post and I would like to ask everyone to please let this blow over.”
Kind of like how things used to be in the old days…
Photos by Andrzej Jaworski/AJ JAWA Photo, Joe Pietaro