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“It’s Really Hard to Argue”: Fueling a New Debate in the 1980 Mr. Olympia Controversy, Jay Cutler Says Mike Mentzer’s Deserved Chance Is Questionable

Published 11/20/2023, 7:45 AM EST

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Jay Cutler is no stranger to heated rivalries. The four-time Mr. Olympia shared arguably the most epic rivalry in the sport’s history with eight-time champion Ronnie Coleman. Earlier, the former champion mentioned one such short-lived but iconic rivalry that played out at the 1980 Mr. Olympia. Often referred to by fans as the most controversial Olympia, many fans believe Mike Mentzer was robbed of the title that year because Arnold Schwarzenegger had the favor of the judges and the IFBB.

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However, Cutler’s take on the event added to the perpetual debate of who deserved to win that year. While scores of fans believed Mentzer deserved to win, Cutler questioned the viewpoint citing Mentzer’s fifth-place finish. While he didn’t take Arnold Schwarzenegger’s side, he disagreed with the popular discourse.

Jay Cutler provides some food for thought


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The 40-year-old former Mr. Olympia spoke about the fact that the result of every competition displeasing a section of fans isn’t something new. However, some controversies have endured longer than others. “They said Mike Mentzer should have won,” said Cutler while speaking about the 1980 Mr. Olympia in the latest episode of JayWalking. However, the former champion had a different perspective.

The former Arnold Classic argued that if Mentzer had deserved to win the title, why did the judges put him in fifth place? “It’s really hard to argue if a guy places fifth,” said Cutler. Cutler argued the judges would’ve placed Mentzer higher if he deserved to lift the Sandow trophy in 1980. His cameraman, Dave, also agreed with the 40-year-old bodybuilder. In fact, Dave was surprised that such a view was popular among fans.


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Dave asked, “Who says he should’ve won?” Cutler responded by saying the statement was “kind of the consensus,” when Chris Dickerson placed second in 1980. However, Jay Cutler explained why Mentzer didn’t place higher. 

Watch this story | Arnold Schwarzenegger Achieved 28.5″ Thighs by Using These Specific Workouts

Presentation matters just as much as the physique


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The 40-year-old didn’t question Mentzer’s physique. He mentioned the possibility of one competitor out posing another and being more charismatic. “Presentation is everything right?” said the bodybuilding icon. The former Arnold Classic champion argued that despite having a world-class physique, a competitor might lose if their presentation onstage is lacking.

Cutler also highlighted how a similar controversy erupted after the 2023 Mr. Olympia. Cutler mentioned how people are making pose-by-pose comparisons. However, these comparisons do not consider the transitions and flow of the posing routine. According to the former champion, even transition matters to the judges who score the contest.


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One section of bodybuilding fans is vocal about Mike Mentzer getting robbed of the title at the 1980 Mr. Olympia. However, the four-time champion chose to see it from a different perspective rather than taking sides.

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Written by:

Sagnik Bagchi


One take at a time

Facts over feelings. This has always been my approach toward bodybuilding. Bodybuilding fans are a passionate lot and defend their favorite bodybuilder at the drop of a hat.
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Edited by:

Abhishek Manikandan