Bob Cicherillo Reveals The Truth About Lee Priest & Creating A Bodybuilders' Union


Bod Cicherillo explains past attempts to create a bodybuilders’ union – and why it will likely never happen in the future.

In our documentary Lee Priest Vs Bodybuilding, Lee describes his past attempt and desire to create a bodybuilders’ union to help protect the rights of athletes. He claims that other bodybuilders did not follow him or want to risk their careers. But according to Bob Cicherillo, that isn’t the true story. In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Bob Cicherillo describes his involvement with creating a bodybuilders’ union and why it didn’t, and won’t ever, happen.

According to oral history in the bodybuilding industry, there was a time in the early 2000s when the sport of bodybuilding almost had a union for its athletes. The industry was skyrocketing in popularity and many athletes were interesting in creating protections for the competitors in the sport. In our recent interview with Bob Cicherillo, he claims this potential union was working together with the NPC and IFBB and not rebelling against it.

In our conversation with Cicherillo, he describes being very proactive and involved in trying to work with the IFBB and NPC to create a legitimate athlete union. And while informally Cicherillo found a lot of athletes interested in that idea – many of them simply were not as proactive as him. When push came to shove in making the talk a reality, he didn’t have many bodybuilders in his corner.

Specifically, Bob Cicherillo describes how the bodybuilders with most to lose didn’t show interest. Top champions were getting big prize money and leading successful lives – so they didn’t take an interest in risking their status during the prime of their time on top. This falls in line with what Danny Hester mentioned in our earlier conversation with him about Lee Priest wanting a union. But the way Cicherillo tells it, Lee Priest himself wasn’t very involved at all.

Perhaps the two men are discussing different attempts at unionizing. But as far as Bob Cicherillo knows, Lee was one of the bodybuilders who didn’t enter the room when it came time to meet about legitimizing a bodybuilders’ union. This falls in line with many statements made by professional bodybuilders throughout the years – claiming that Lee Priest is more talk than action.

Ultimately, Bob Cicherillo believes that a union will never actually happen. While there may be general interest by the athletes to unionize, it takes more than that for a real system to formally take place. It takes engaged interest across the board with an overwhelming majority of athletes, including top champions, to enact change. It seems that level of interest doesn’t exist. An if it doesn’t exist, perhaps the athletes are doing just fine without those kind of union protections.

You can watch Bob Cicherillo’s full comments about his past attempts at unionizing bodybuilding in our GI Exclusive interview segment above!

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