On Nov. 26, 2021, professional bodybuilder Fouad Abiad released a video on his YouTube channel that included multiple announcements. Among them was his formal retirement from competitive bodybuilding. Abiad said that he came to the decision to retire on video rather than on stage after the recent deaths of numerous athletes in his sport, most recently 2018 Mr. Olympia Shawn Rhoden, George Peterson, and John Meadows. The announcement can be seen starting at the 2:01 mark of the video below:
Abiad initially mentioned his desire to compete in the Toronto Pro. His decision not to was partly “for [himself], and part of it was for John [Meadows]. But I knew I wouldn’t win and I would be smaller.”
It was going to be my farewell show…But then George [Peterson] passed, then Shawn [Rhoden] passed, and I did my own blood work. It wasn’t really much worse than any other time, but I wasn’t…happy with it with the context of everything else…and I pulled the plug.
Abiad admitted that he wanted to be at his best to “say farewell onstage.”
Fouad Abiad’s Career
Abiad’s formal retirement is the conclusion of a 16-year professional career in the sport. According to Muscle Memory, the Canadian competitor earned IFBB Pro League status by winning the super-heavyweight division and overall titles of the Canadian Championships in 2006. He made his first appearance as a professional at that year’s Atlantic City Pro, finishing in 15th place.
It would be two more seasons before Abiad would make his Mr. Olympia debut. Before the creation of the Olympia Qualification Series, competitors could earn Olympia spots by placing in the top three or five of any show. Abiad’s third-place effort at the 2008 Europa Pro helped him punch his ticket to that year’s big contest in Las Vegas, NV. He would ultimately finish out of the top 15 at the Olympia that season. Dexter Jackson won the 2008 title.
It would be seven more years before Abiad would taste victory as a professional. He won two contests in 2015 — the Orlando Show of Champions and the Vancouver Pro. He also placed second at the Tampa Pro that year to winner Maxx Charles. In spite of qualifying for the Olympia, Abiad didn’t compete in the big contest that year, when Phil Heath won the fifth of his seven career Sandow trophies.
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Fans nowadays best know Abiad as the host of various podcasts, including the Real Bodybuilding Podcast, Bodybuilding and Bollocks, which he started with the late Luke Sandoe, and Bro Chat. The latter two shows feature other past and present competitors such as Guy Cisternino, Nick Walker, Iain Valliere, and James Hollingshead, among others.
In the same video as his retirement announcement, Abiad shared that he was offered a commentator position at the 2022 Arnold Classic. The Arnold Sports Festival has yet to make an official announcement themselves at the time of this article’s publication. Abiad performed commentary on smaller shows in the past, which led fans to post support for him doing more on social media. Now that the 43-year-old’s onstage career is behind him officially, he may become even more active behind the microphone in the years ahead.
Featured Image: @fouadabiad on Instagram