The Headline: ANDREW OYE'S PRO ATHLETES ROUNDUP: IFBB PRO BAITO ABBASPOUR, MR. OLYMPIA PHIL HEATH, MR. OLYMPIA JAY CUTLER, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER CLASSIC BODYBUILDING CHAMPION RICH GASPARI, IFBB PRO BRANCH WARREN, IFBB PRO TONEY FREEMAN, IFBB PRO DENNIS JAMES, WWE SUPERSTAR WRESTLER 'THE ROCK' DWAYNE JOHNSON, IFBB PRO SHAWN RHODEN, IFBB PRO DENNIS WOLF, IFBB PRO GUY CISTERNINO, IFBB PRO FLEX LEWIS, IFBB PRO MANUEL LOMELI The Item:
Legends Update, Career Updates, Special Appearances, Tribute to a Champion, Andrew Oye's IFBB Pro Athletes Roundup, WWE Pro Athletes RoundupThe Scoop:
Recently Reported: IFBB Pro League athletes and pros from other sports leagues had career updates or made recent guest appearances at various sports, bodybuilding, physique and fitness events. The latest "Andrew Oye's Pro-Muscle Report" Pro Athletes Roundup includes a professional wrestling champion, the winning champion of the IFBB Pro Olympia Qualification Series closing contest, and a bodybuilding champion who left the iron game early.The "So What?":
Over the weekend, reigning 4-time Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Phil Heath was the keynote speaker at the "Pioneer Prep" program, discussing the topic of success at the University of Denver (his alma mater where he played collegiate basketball). Meanwhile, 4-time Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Jay Cutler hosted the NPC Jay Cutler Classic Championships in Richmond, Virginia, where IFBB Pro Curtis Bryant was the guest-poser. In Detroit, Michigan, 8-time Ms. Olympia IFBB Pro Lenda Murray hosted her NPC Lenda Murray Championships. IFBB Pro Toney Freeman was the featured guest-poser at the NPC Excalibur Championships in Charleston, South Carolina. IFBB Pro Kevin Jordan guest-posed at the NPC Warrior Classic Championships in Loveland, Colorado.
Actor and World Wrestling Entertainment WWE Superstar Pro Wrestler Dwayne Johnson (a.k.a. "The Rock"), IFBB Pro Jon Delarosa, and IFBB Pro Rich Gaspari were spotted at the Europa Games Expo in Atlantic City, where IFBB Pro Branch Warren (a.k.a. "Quadrasaurus") won the Atlantic City Pro Bodybuilding Championships. Afterward, IFBB Hall of Famer Gaspari (first-ever winner of the Arnold Sports Festival's IFBB Pro Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic Bodybuilding Championships in 1989) flew directly from New Jersey to attend the IFBB/NPC Naples Pro-Am Championships as a special guest at the Naples Sports Festival in Florida (where Warren, a 2-time Arnold Classic Champion, had been scheduled to be a guest-poser before he made the decision to compete in Atlantic City).
IFBB Pro Manuel Lomeli ("El Charro"), IFBB Pro Alexis Rivera Rolon, and IFBB Pro Dennis James made appearances at the 63rd Annual Mr. Mexico Bodybuilding Championships in Mexico City. Earlier in the week, upon learning that his friend and contest-prep client IFBB Pro Baitollah Abbaspour passed away from vasculitis in a hospital in Tehran, Iran, at 36 (March 11, 1979 – August 25, 2015), James posted a tribute: "This is a very sad day, and I am at a total loss for words…My friend Baito who was fighting for a long time has lost the battle and passed away. My condolences go out to his family and to all the Iranian people who loved and supported their hero…Me and your fans will never forget you, my brother of iron…Our paths will cross and I will see you again, champ."Andrew Oye's Verdict:
Baito Abbaspour qualified for his IFBB Pro card by winning the Light-Middleweight Class at the 2008 IFBB World Amateur Championships. He had qualified to compete at the upcoming Olympia 212 Showdown at Joe Weider's Olympia Weekend (a.k.a. the "Super Bowl of bodybuilding"), which would have marked his fourth time at the prestigious event. In 2012 and 2013, Abbaspour did not even place among the large competitors in the Open Division; so, last year, the 5'4" compact powerhouse wisely downsized to the 212 Division, nabbed a 5th place finish at the Olympia Showdown, and hoped to continue climbing the ladder.
A gym owner with a law degree, Abbaspour was known for his humble demeanor, impressive quadriceps development, and being one of few contemporary pro bodybuilders who could execute a nearly perfect abdominal "vacuum" pose. His career encompassed 17 pro contests with 11 Top 5 finishes that include a single victory at the 2013 Nordic Pro Championships. Peers and former champions in the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (such as IFBB Pro Mamdouh Elssbiay, a.k.a. "Big Ramy," and 1983 Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Samir Bannout) expressed their thoughts, as well as the following athletes:
IFBB Pro Guy Cisternino: "He was not only a great bodybuilder, he was a husband, father, and son. Please say a prayer for Baito and his family. R.I.P. You will be greatly missed."
IFBB Pro Dennis Wolf: "A great athlete and person passed away…My condolences are going to his family and friends. We all will miss you, Baito. Rest in peace."
IFBB Pro Shawn Rhoden quoted George Herbert: "Life is half spent before we know what it is." Then he added: "Gone too soon, but let us remember the great moments we were able to share with [Baito]. Gone but never will be forgotten. Our friend and brother in iron."
And the reigning 3-time Olympia 212 Showdown Champion who Abbaspour would have challenged in two weeks, IFBB Pro Flex Lewis: "The bodybuilding world lost a great champion, a person I called a friend…humble off stage as well as on…I will always cherish more of the backstage banter/laughs…more than the battle on stage…At this year's Olympia, we will make sure you will be remembered."
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