IFBB Professional Bodybuilder Victor Martinez has won several titles in the course of his near two decade career, but on December 11 he added another one that has nothing to do with bodybuilding: United States Citizen.
The 2007 Arnold Classic winner shared the news on his Instagram page for his 612,000 followers to see. Martinez has had a history of issues regarding his residency and visa in the United States, so for him, this was certainly a noteworthy development.
Martinez’s Road to Citizenship
At the turn of the century, Martinez was considered an athlete that had a lot of potential to take over the sport. Many of his supporters felt that praise was validated when he won the NPC Nationals championship in 2000 to earn his pro status.
He won his first contest in 2003, which was the Night of Champions (now known as the New York Pro). He faced his first of several legal problems later on that year when he was convicted of selling anabolic steroids and had to serve 90 days in jail.
Upon his release in 2004, he resumed his career and won the Show of Strength show. He also placed 9th in the Mr. Olympia that year. He would continue to rise in the pro ranks until 2007 which would be his pinnacle year in the sport. He won the Arnold Classic that year and six months later placed a very controversial second place at the Mr. Olympia to champion Jay Cutler. Many fans and experts believed Martinez was in better shape than Cutler and deserved the championship.
His Next Legal Hurdle
The next major title Martinez would win would be the Arnold Classic Europe in 2011, but he also faced another major legal issue while returning to the United States from that contest. He would be met at the airport by officers because his permanent resident card had expired and his past steroid case (a felony) was on his record. So he was detained and held in jail until a trial took place in April 2012.
Between that arrest and the trial, Martinez received support from many in the bodybuilding industry, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was the Governor of California at the time. He wrote a letter to the judge in support of Martinez. At the trial, the judge determined that Martinez could remain in the U.S. and was released.
The process from this release to citizenship lasted over seven years, but “The Dominican Dominator” now has his citizenship. Praise for Martinez was shared on his post by many notable people including reigning Mr. Olympia Brandon Curry, Kai Greene, and Busta Rhymes.
At 46 years old, he is in the second half of his bodybuilding career and he may not step onstage again. He hasn’t made any public acknowledgements about future competitions or retirement. His last contest was the 2019 Arnold Classic where he placed 10th. He is still a part of the sport as an ambassador, promoter, and is still active in the gym.
Featured Image: Instagram/ifbbvictormartinez