A couple of the biggest names (no pun intended) in professional bodybuilding are notably absent from the 2017 Arnold Classic competitor list. Kai Greene has apparently set his sights on movie stardom, and is concentrating his time and energy right now into shooting a movie in Asia, and kickstarting his new supplement line, Dynamik Muscle.
Branch Warren, a perennial Arnold competitor and crowd favorite, isn't on the list this year, either. Warren will be 42 by the Arnold event, placed sixth last year, and may have decided to hang up his posing trunks. I've not read anything to that effect, but the significant injuries Branch has worked through the past few years would have long ago put many another competitor onto the couch.
Looking at the list of 11 open competitors, it's easy to predict that either Dallas McCarver or Cedric McMillan will run. Cedric was second last year; McCarver could win any contest at any time. He's young, growing and still developing, clearly a rising star in the sport. McMillan was in superb shape in 2016, big and ripped, but ran up hard against Kai Greene.
This year's Arnold Classic 212 should be ultra-competitive. Guy Cisternino wants the title badly, as do David Henry and Jose Raymond. Not to take anything away from the other 8 competitors in the 212 (Charles Dixon and Hidetada Yamagshi are always ready to pounce), but there is something special about Cisternino, Henry and Raymond. I'm anticipating close competition and lots of energy on the stage.
There's a hell of a lot of money and prestige assocated with an Arnold Classic crown. I'll be there, watching closely, March 2-5.