Still no official word anywhere on the net of what’s going on with the IFBB and the new Pro Division, but here are some observations that may or may not mean anything:
- A month or two ago, ifbb.com rearranged its website, creating a tab for “Pro Division”, segregating the amateur information from the pro.
- Wayne DeMilia was listed as the the Pro Division chairman. This is still how he is listed in the minutes of a meeting of the Pro Division held on March 4, 2004, at the Arnold Classic.
- A few weeks ago, under contacts on the ifbb.com pro division page, Jim Manion was listed as VP in charge of the pro division. This was later removed, and now only the technical contact Tony Blinn is listed on this page.
So it appears that there were efforts underway in the IFBB to separate the pros from the amateurs. Ben Weider’s overriding goal has been to get bodybuilding into the Olympics. Perhaps separating pro bodybuilding from the IFBB is a necessary step to that goal. Perhaps this is not a schism, but an amicable divorce.
What does this mean for the NPC in the US? The IFBB throughout the rest of the world is suppose to be drug free. Its the only way the IFBB has a chance of participating in the Olympic Games. It could mean that to stay part of the IFBB that the NPC become a drug tested organization. Not very likely.
More likely the NPC will just not be affiliated with any international amateur organization. It really isn’t at this time anyway. Very rarely does any NPC member compete at the IFBB World Amateur Championships or any other international amateur IFBB event. Perhaps a new IFBB natural amateur organization will be established in the US.
What does this mean for amateurs who want to turn pro? Not much. A pro organization can offer a pro card to who ever they choose. Since the amateur IFBB is drug tested in the rest of the world, its almost impossible for an athlete to make his way up the IFBB amateurs into the IFBB pros. Most of the European and Australian pros currently in the IFBB made their amateur mark in NABBA or WABBA, not the IFBB. So this new Pro Division will offer pro cards to anyone they choose, regardless of amateur affiliation.