Derek Lunsford vs Hadi Choopan: A Controversial 2023 Mr. Olympia Battle

Table of Contents

The 2023 Mr. Olympia competition sent shockwaves throughout the bodybuilding world, not just for the stunning displays of muscle and aesthetics but for the heated controversy it ignited.

Derek Lunsford emerged as the victor, marking a historic moment as he clinched the Mr. Olympia title in the Men’s Open division. However, the aftermath was marred by controversy, fan backlash, and allegations of political judgments. 

hadi choopan vs derek lunsford
via bisandtris instagram

In this article, we delve into the events that transpired during the 2023 Mr. Olympia, exploring the showdown between Derek Lunsford and Hadi Choopan and the reactions from industry veterans, Milos Sarcev and Jay Cutler.

The 2023 Mr. Olympia Showdown

samson dauda vs derek lunsford
via moriauphoto instagram

The 2023 Mr. Olympia competition, held in Orlando, Florida, was a battle for the ages. The top contenders included Derek Lunsford, Hadi Choopan, and Samson Dauda

As the prejudging and finals unfolded, it became evident that the title could go to any one of these elite athletes. However, when the judges’ decision was revealed, it was Derek Lunsford who emerged victorious.

Derek Lunsford’s triumph was remarkable, not just because it earned him the prestigious Mr. Olympia title but because he achieved it in the Men’s Open division after transitioning from the 212 Olympia category. 

However, the post-victory celebration was clouded by controversy as Hadi Choopan reportedly stormed off stage after the results were announced.

The Controversy Unveiled

derek lunsford mr olympia 2023
via moriauphoto instagram

In the wake of the 2023 Mr. Olympia, a storm of controversy erupted. Derek Lunsford faced severe backlash, including the suspension of his Instagram account and threats to him and his family. 

The controversial nature of this event prompted bodybuilding enthusiasts and experts to question the integrity of the judging process.

Milos Sarcev’s Insights

Milos Sarcev, a respected figure in the bodybuilding community, weighed in on the controversy. He pointed out that the 2023 Mr. Olympia was a highly competitive event where the top three contenders, Derek Lunsford, Hadi Choopan, and Samson Dauda, could have easily claimed victory. 

Milos Sarcev emphasized that the judging process was thorough, with the top three competitors compared multiple times, making it clear that the decision was not rushed.

Milos Sarcev strongly refuted the notion that political factors played a role in the judging. 

He highlighted a previous instance where an Iranian athlete, Behrooz Tabani, beat an American athlete, Brett Wilkin, in a competition, suggesting that the IFBB Pro League’s judging system is impartial.

He also mentioned that, as someone who closely follows bodybuilding, he would have been inclined to award Hadi Choopan the victory if he were a judge.

Jay Cutler’s Perspective

Four-time Mr. Olympia winner Jay Cutler also shared his thoughts on the controversy. Jay Cutler believed that the 2023 Mr. Olympia was a fiercely competitive event and felt that any of the top three could have won. 

He mentioned the unique way in which the event was judged, where the two highest and two lowest scores from the nine judges were erased, and the middle five counted.

Jay Cutler specifically pointed out that Derek Lunsford’s back double biceps pose was exceptional and played a pivotal role in his victory. 

He believed that Derek Lunsford “demolished” his competitors with this pose, emphasizing the level of condition and size Derek Lunsford brought to the stage. 

In Jay Cutler’s view, the controversy was unwarranted, and Derek Lunsford’s victory was well-deserved.

Challenges and Adversities

The 2023 Mr. Olympia also saw other competitors face significant challenges. Brandon Curry, who finished fourth in the competition, faced health issues in the lead-up to the event. 

He was rushed to the hospital for esophagus ulcers just days before taking the stage. Despite these setbacks, he delivered a commendable performance.

hadi choopan mr olympia 2023 posing
via moriauphoto instagram

Hadi Choopan, who finished as the runner-up and former Mr. Olympia champion, had to grapple with the disappointment of losing his title. 

His emotional reaction and subsequent social media post reflected his deep investment in the competition and his determination to return stronger in the future.

A Possible Rematch

With the controversy and intense emotions surrounding the 2023 Mr. Olympia, there is already talk of a potential rematch in the coming year. 

Whether this will come to fruition remains to be seen, but the bodybuilding world eagerly anticipates the next showdown between these exceptional athletes.


The 2023 Mr. Olympia was a historic event filled with unforgettable moments, intense competition, and unexpected controversy. 

derek lunsford mr olympia 2023 place
via moriauphoto instagram

Derek Lunsford’s victory in the Men’s Open division, his transition from the 212 Olympia category, and the subsequent reactions from fans and industry experts have left a lasting impact. 

The bodybuilding community, led by voices like Milos Sarcev and Jay Cutler, is actively engaging in discussions surrounding the competition’s fairness and the judging process. 

As the sport of bodybuilding continues to evolve, the 2023 Mr. Olympia serves as a reminder of the passion, dedication, and debate that define this extraordinary discipline.

Share, if you would like!
Tikkay Khan
Tikkay Khan is here to help your class through the creation and find what is real, active, constant, and usable. And most essential, what is best for you and that healthy life you are putting together. We treat the health and fitness principle that concerns plus anything else that is great, important, or perhaps also life-changing. Our object is to help you get healthy lives every day to live your best life. We give you the tools and guidelines for your health and fitness. Whether we are discussing exercises, breathing, mind energy, health tips, diet plans, weight loss, and weight gain. You can believe that all the content of Tikkaykhan is evidence-based and expert-approved by the medical doctors of our team. Tikkay Khan is a fitness icon, influencer, and fitness instructor/consultant. He had helped hundreds of people find ways to become more fit and healthy through a balanced life focusing on an individualized approach to their nutrition and fitness.

Table of Contents

Fact Checked

Get accurate and credible information from our expert-written and fact-checked article. With reference links to peer-reviewed studies, you can trust the information provided.

Our team of experts ensure the highest standard of information for your benefit. Read now!