Written by Shawn Ray
13 March 2023








Classic Shawn

10 Questions With Shawn Ray


1. Following last year’s Mr. Olympia, the 2023 Arnold Classic pro men’s invitational seemed to be in tatters and falling apart with A-list athletes but recently, Arnold threw in an extra $100K for the first place prize and now it’s looking to be a great lineup! What are your thoughts on the 35th edition of the upcoming Arnold Sports Festival this March?


Correct! A lot of concern surrounded the 2023 ASC lineup after the Mr. O because some of the guys who committed to competing dropped out for various different reasons. However, following the new year and the addition of extra prize money, guys like former champion Nick Walker, last year’s Amateur ASC winner Andrew Jacked, former pro Mr. California champion Patrick Moore and latest addition, two-time Mr. Olympia Big Ramy, have all decided this is a contest they can’t sit and watch!


2. There are a lot of people asking why you’ve been so quiet recently on camera and social media. We are used to seeing you being more vocal and visible on various platforms regarding commentary and opinions. What’s up?



Lol. You miss me now? I’ve had some inquiries as to my personal opinions on guys who aren’t as good as they thought they were, guys passing away, judging decisions and so forth, and now my silence is deafening to some folk. To be quite honest, for over 30 years my opinions have been readily available and easily identifiable, but as of late I’ve been sitting back and seeing what others have to say. While having an opinion is always welcome, it doesn’t always lead to “change,” which is typically where my passion resides these days. I’ve been vocal my entire career about the sport, prize money, judging and so forth but as a media guy there are other moving parts in the industry I’m also passionate about such as promoting events, discovering new talent and encouraging others to take the lead! This past Mr. Olympia was an example of where I positioned myself to insert talent over my personal opinion and I had a chance to watch others shine, which felt especially good to watch.




3. We see you’ve added a third pro division to your highly successful Shawn Ray Hawaiian Classic this November in Honolulu, Hawaii. Can we get more information on what’s happening over there?


Yes, we’ve expanded to add a third pro event, Classic Pro Physique, courtesy of the IFBB Pro League’s Classic pro Tony Taveras, who’s been very passionate about supporting and promoting this division! Last year, Tony and his company, Linear Roofing, were simply sponsors, but this year he’s moved into the role of promoter, providing the $25K in prize money for this Mr. Olympia 2024 pro qualifier only two weeks after the November 1-4th Mr. Olympia. Along with our sponsor, GMU Sport, bringing back Pro Bikini and Pro Wellness, my partner Dr. Morales at FitDoc Productions and I assure you that Hawaii’s BIGGEST EVENT OF THE YEAR JUST GOT BIGGER! Stay tuned to www.SRHawaiianClassic.com


4. Everyone saw you hosting the Superstar Seminar at the Fit Expo in Los Angles wearing MUTANT’s new shirt. Where can we purchase one of those?


Mutant has been killing the sport’s apparel industry with slick T-shirts and hoodies! You can visit the website and grab the latest supplements and sportswear at IAmMutant.com


5. Your good friend, Flex Wheeler, received the Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Arnold Classic. What are your thoughts?


No one, in my opinion, is more deserving than Flex. What an honor for him to finally be recognized for his body of work on this platform. Flex has been a study of admiration as of late with all the obstacles he’s had to overcome in life, but the award represents the challenges he overcame in the sport! His first year as a pro he was Rookie of the Year, with four pro wins and an Olympia runner-up spot in 1993, the year he won his first of four Arnold Classic titles! Flex is a three-time Olympia first runner-up with a slew of pro victories that inspired many bodybuilders to compete and be better, including myself! It will be an honor to support Flex on that special day along with guys he battled with along the way and shared the stage with, as he gets his flowers above ground by one of our sport’s most iconic figures named Arnold!


6. I see MUTANT is the Title Sponsor of this year’s Arnold Classic once again, helping to provide steady support to the athletes and fans along with what Arnold is doing for the athletes. Will there be a booth as well?


Yes! This is our third year supporting the ASC, courtesy of MUTANT owner Jim McMahon and company! Supporting what Arnold has been doing for our athletes and fans the last 35 years is something Jim is especially passionate about as well as sharing a cigar with the Terminator this March! Jim has been adding to Team MUTANT by signing two Olympia champions this past year along with developing multiple new products including FLEX FOOD™ MRP and ALL-IN Pre-Workout!



7. What are your thoughts about getting rid of the 212 division?


It’s funny with the passage of time how people forget why this division was created in the first place. Actually, I promoted the first-ever 202-pound pro competition in concert with the New York Pro back in 2007 that David Henry won as a result of the smaller pro bodybuilders not having an opportunity to win in the land of giants. Since then, three-time 202 pro winner Kevin English and seven-time 212 pro Olympia winner Flex Lewis made a career off of these victories. Now it seems the Mass Monsters are fewer, and more people are longing for more “complete” bodybuilders, not just bigger. At this stage, the lines of separation are not as big and I feel the 212 pros are as good as our Open pros! If you get rid of 212 divisions I wouldn’t be sad; I’d be happy to see the smaller guys get scored fairly against the bigger guys who are no longer overwhelming in size nor better on the basis of being bigger. Two-time 212 Olympia winner Shaun Clarida is arguably one of the best bodybuilders in the world today, not confined to the 212 division only.


8. Did we see your sister competing in Hawaii at your Shawn Ray Hawaiian Classic last year?


Yes! My older sister Char, 59 years old to be exact, who’s a lawyer, wife, mother of four and grandmother to six kids, finally decided after working my show with me the last few years that she was going to subject herself to a grueling 11 months of contest prep to walk across my stage as a “Bucket List Wish” she had for 2022 following a year of Covid protocols and restrictions. She competed in NPC Masters 55+ Bikini and looked amazing in heels and her suit! She also gained a newfound respect for the diet, training and discipline that comes along with simply walking across the stage. She inspired a lot of people using her social media to chart her progress and she’s still in the gym months after the show, keeping her fitness and body intact.


9. Apparently, the legendary Gold’s Gym is now carrying MUTANT across the chain.


Yes! We actually entered into a partnership with Gold’s to carry our #1 selling MUTANT MASS® gainer six months ago. It’s gone so well that they are looking to bring on several more products across the line. Pretty cool to see the great brand I represent now, on the shelves at my old stomping grounds!


10. Rumor has it you have always trained pretty much in the morning and on an empty stomach.


True to this day! If you are doing it right, you should have enough muscle glycogen built up and stored ready to go as energy from the day before. A lot of legends train this way. I never want to have the feeling of being bogged down with blood going to digestion versusinto the muscles. The most I’ll have to this day is a black coffee before cardio, or on days I really want to turn it up a notch – MUTANT Madness ALL-IN pre-workout.


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