The sport of professional bodybuilding is allegedly scored according to the "IFBB Guide Book for Judges, Competitors and Organizers." The judging guide book outlines several objective criteria that are to be used as guidelines for assessing muscular development, symmetry and aesthetics. The guidelines attempt to minimize the amount subjectivity involved in the results of competitive bodybuilding contests.
The credibility of the sport of bodybuilding took a major hit in the aftermath of the 2007 Mr. Olympia contest where an undeserving Jay Cutler was announced the victor in spite of poor conditioning and inferior aesthetics when compared to his chief rivals whereas no less than three competitors should have placed ahead of Jay Cutler. The 2008 Mr. Olympia witnessed a new champion, Dexter Jackson, overthrow the reigning Mr. Olympia. But was this enough to salvage the legitimacy of IFBB judging where at least three additional bodybuilders should have defeated the reigning Mr. Olympia?
The justification for the results, then and now, is that the judging criteria was subjective and arbitrary such that there was no incorrect judging decision. However, based on the IFBB guidelines, judges must have clear rationales for their decisions based on specific criteria related to muscular development e.g. "size, shape, density, separation and definition, in relation to symmetry and natural aesthetics."
The judging can not be completely arbitrary when significance is placed upon "qualities of balance, proportion and the overall 'flow' of the physique," "balance between upper and lower body development, and harmony between the left and right sides of the body." There is little room for subjectivity when it is mandated that "distended abdomens and distorted muscles negatively impact... the overall physique" or "muscle size at the expense of symmetry and natural aesthetics will not be assessed favourably."
IFBB judges are not held accountable for their judges decisions nor required to explain why and how they scored a pro bodybuilding competition. This results in poor judging based on various factors completely unrelated to the physique competition on stage. If IFBB judges were required to give detailed analysis and reporting of their scoring, this would go along way towards cleaning up the sport and promoting fair competitions. No longer could judges hide behind the cumulative scores explaining away any controversy through suggestions of subjectivity. The scores AND individual judge's rationale for the scoring would be a matter of public record and could be used to create a higher standard of judging by eliminating incompetent, biased and politically motivated judges.
Muscletime proposes complete transparency and full disclosure behind the judges scoring decisions and the relationships, financial and other, between the judges, the athletes, and the sponsors of professional bodybuilding competitions. As an example, we would like to offer our own two judges for the 2008 Mr. Olympia as examples of the type of transparency and detailed judging we propose.