Bob Cicherillo is commonly known as the ‘voice of bodybuilding’ for his frequent emcee duties at many IFBB and NPC competitions, as well as being on a litany of podcasts, videos and a columnist for Muscular Development magazine. He is also very active on social media and the MD forum and it is entirely possible that he has gone one step too far this time, according to a lawsuit filed on January 22, 2016 in the United States District Court in Pennsylvania, of which MuscleSport Magazine obtained a copy.
“Mr. Cicherillo, who on information and belief is an employee, officer, director and/or agent of Defendants (Jim Manion and the NPC), published statements that were highly critical of Mr. (Lee) Thompson and the NSL (Nspire Sports League, the plaintiffs in the case),” the suit states. “These include statements made on January 19, 2016 on his Twitter account (@IFBBProBobChick) that Thompson had “lied directly to Manion’s face” and that he had been “taken out of position” (i.e., fired from NPC) rather than resigning.”
Another mention of Cicherillo was when on October 15, 2015, he acted as an agent for Manion in an agreement regarding an NPC-sanctioned event (Space City Championships scheduled for December 12, 2015). The suit stated that “Mr. Cicherillo urged Mr. Thompson to request a refund for the sanction” and that Cicherillo “gave assurances to Mr. Thompson that the Space City event could go on as planned and that the NPC would not interfere in any way” with it.
Shortly thereafter, Thompson did in fact request and was given the refund for the NPC sanction fee with the understanding that this was all part of the “smooth transition” that all parties had agreed to. But the NPC then scheduled a show on the same day in the same city (Houston, Texas) and “encouraged athletes who had registered for Space City to obtain a refund.”
Another interesting aspect of the lawsuit concerns two athletes – Logan Franklin and Andreanna Calhoun – who left the NPC/IFBB for the NSL only to leave the latter and publicly beg and grovel for forgiveness via social media posts to return to the former. And – as pointed out in the suit – the posts were basically mirror images of one another and “on information and belief, at Mr. Manion’s direction, Mr. Franklin and Ms. Calhoun were intimidated, threatened, harassed and/or coerced into returning to NPC and/or IFBB Professional.”
There was also a mention of the same regarding vendors – Pro Tan “and others” not further named.
When asked for a statement, Thompson and NSL lead counsel Charles Johnson jointly said that “there would be no out of court settlement for this case and it would go to a jury.”
MuscleSport Magazine also contacted Cicherillo, Manion, Franklin, Calhoun and Pro Tan for comments and will post updates as they become available.
Franklin did comment on the MSM Facebook post with this article link, saying, “This is beyond retarded. I left the NSL due to reasons I mentioned in my statement. I wasn’t “threatened” by anyone to do anything. I’m sorry another athlete read my statement and used it as a platform to write her own.”
We replied to his comment and asked him to contact us via e-mail for clarification. But shortly thereafter, Franklin posted, “You just a comment from me.”