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“He Died Young. He Took Ungodly Amounts of…” – Worried Joe Rogan Reacts to Iconic Bodybuilder Rich Piana’s Death Aged 46

Published 01/06/2023, 1:15 PM EST

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Although many sports include hazardous play to some extent, bodybuilding has some invisible dangers associated with it. One such danger is what actually constitutes the shredded physique that people see in front of them. Some bodybuilders may use PEDs. In an attempt to get the admiration and awe of onlookers, they end up harming themselves. One such heartbreaking case was of a popular bodybuilder, Rich Piana. Today, his almost 30 years of steroid usage can be seen as a cautionary tale for aspiring bodybuilders.

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Rich Piana was known for his huge physique. His unreal body (biceps measuring 23.5 inches) was a result of several substances. This is not a rumor but was rather confirmed by him publicly. Eventually, this overuse of substances potentially became the reason for his death in 2017. According to reports, his autopsy found that his heart and liver were twice the size of the average person. In episode 1920 of JRE, Joe Rogan and his guest, Dave Portnoy, discussed this matter.

Joe Rogan’s thoughts on the bodybuilder who took “ungodly amounts of steroids”


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Upon introducing the builder to his guest, Portnoy, Rogan talked about the deceased bodybuilder. The UFC commentator introduced the late bodybuilder by briefing that he just wanted to get bigger in size, even though he had stopped competing professionally.

He died young. He took ungodly amounts of steroids,” Rogan said as he went on to show a picture of Piana to his guest. The late bodybuilder had spoken about his almost 30 years of steroid usage and was aware of how it could harm him. His mother was a bodybuilder and thus, he was introduced to the sport at age 11. He began trying to compete when he was 15 years old and by age 18, he was taking PEDs.


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The picture of Piana shocked Joe Rogan and his guest, “What the f**k man?! Preposterously huge.” Upon revealing the fact that Rich Piana was open about his substance usage, Dave Portnoy couldn’t stop himself from getting upset.

Yeah, I don’t give these guys credit to be openly admitting to be on steroids,” said Portnoy while criticizing the act. The two then mourned his death, which occurred at a young age. Rich Piana was only 46. His death shocked a lot of his followers back in 2017 and still continues to do so for people who come to know about his death in recent times.

Piana, who previously won the title of Mr. California, had a large audience of millions. His death was revealed by his estranged wife, Sara Piana, through a Facebook post. Prior to his death, TMZ Sports had revealed he was placed in a medically induced coma after passing out in his Florida home.

Joe Rogan had a similar opinion about Liver King

Piana was an internet celebrity who did not usually take part in bodybuilding competitions. Although he had won a few locals, Piana largely did it for internet fame. Rogan also went on to criticize this tendency of people to do such things for the internet. 


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Joe Rogan Concerned Over Cultural Shift Demanding Acceptance of ‘Crazy Ideas’

In fact, Joe Rogan had previously also spoken about another social media celebrity, Brian Johnson, who is also known as the ‘Liver King‘. Liver King used to advocate for a diet of raw meat and especially the consumption of raw liver daily. In episode #1842 of the JRE, Joe Rogan, along with neuroscientist Andrew Huberman, had expressed skepticism about Johnson’s claims of being a natural bodybuilder. Later on, in 2022, it was revealed that Johnson used multiple substances to jack up his physique regularly.

 The UFC commentator recalled his coverage of the Liver King while he said, “mostly he was like an online famous guy for being super jacked. Which is like a lot of these social media influencers that becomes their businesses to become super jacked or super shredded.


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In the age of instant fame and a race to grab attention online, people have been seen to adopt many deceptive or purely harmful practices without paying heed to long-term consequences. Sports fans should especially be careful about becoming gullible victims of online misinformation. Let us know your thoughts about things like the above in the comments below.

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Written by:

Kaif Ali


One take at a time

Kaif Ali is a combat sports writer at EssentiallySports, known for his coverage of UFC and WWE. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in the English language from a top university. He is a passionate fan of legendary UFC fighters Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor, as well as a dedicated supporter of WWE icon Steve Austin.
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Edited by:

Vineet Nandwana