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Chris Cook
June 21, 2006's bulletin boards have been going crazy lately, and in the ongoing fued between Chris Cook and Gamma-O's president John Napolitano, John posted a letter stating his side of the Chris Cook story. Here is is..

    As the president of Gamma-O I would like to tell you all the Chris Cook Story. Let me start by saying we pay all of our athletes and we have never been unfair to any of them. In fact we just added Phil Baroni and Razor Rob to our stable of winners. No one other then Chris has ever been let go. I like Chris as a person and think he is a great guy. I have no animosity toward him.

    Gamma-O and Muscular Development were drawing a contract between us and Chris. MD and Gamma-O never signed the deal yet we at Gamma-O were paying him for the use of his picture until the deal was finalized. When I started this whole thing with Chris he was 230 pounds and has not lifted a weight in 8 months. He sold me on the fact that his body needed the rest and he was going to come back bigger, harder and better then ever before. I saw the fire in his eyes and I believe that he would.

    During the course of negotiating he came in dead last 3 shows in a row including the Arnold. I spoke to Chris about his conditioning after the first show (IronMan) and offered to hire the services of John O’reagan who helped me when I was competing as well as some top ranked pros that Chris knew. Chris said he had it under control and then came in soft for every show. I see the potential in Chris and think he will go far in the sport when he learns to dial in. I can not afford to pay someone while they are learning. MD was first to back out then without them we could not afford Chris on our own. We have many athletes on our team and all are getting paid.

    John Napolitano
    Gamma Enterprises LLC

After a number of posts, Steve Blechman, the man behind Muscular Development, posted and said

    I would like to set the record straight as far as MD's position with the Chris Cook, Gamma-O agreement. Gamma-O and Cook negotiated and entered into an agreement and MD was not a party to that agreement. In fact, MD never entered into an agreement with Chris Cook. As part of the Gamma-O -- Cook agreement, Chris agreed that he would do a monthly column. MD did publish some of Chris Cook's columns, but when Gamma-O made the decision to no longer employ Chris as their athlete, MD had no other choice but to terminate his column. The decision to sign Chris Cook was Gamma-O's, and it was Gamma-O's decision to terminate him. As far as John Napolitano stating that MD pulled out first, that is incorrect. We had nothing to pull out of, again the contract was between Gamma-O and Chris Cook and once they decided to terminate, we could no longer continue the column. I felt it was important for MD to also set the record straight.

    Steve Blechman
    Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Muscular Development
    President/CEO, Advanced Research Press

Here is Chris Cook's response to all of this and more... as Chris is set to regroup and focus on his next shows. Also, you can catch Chris at the upcoming 2nd Annual Shawn Ray CHOC Golf Tournament Charity Event on July 14th.

Chris Cook responds, Questioned by Ron Avidan

  • The president of Gammo-O said that you do not have a signed contract?

      No - not only do I have a signed contract, but I also have a signed promissory note that that was faxed prior to the contract which was done it late September. Then everything was consummated around the 15th of October which was at the 2005 Olympia. At the Olympia, when I sat at their booth, they paid me my very first paycheck.

  • Muscular Development said that they do not have a contract with you? Is that true?

      Muscular Development had the contract with Gammo-O. Gamma-O and I agreed that I will sell them my publication rights because at the time, I was with Weider, and in order to consummate my deal with Gamma-O, they wanted me to be with Muscular Development instead. So I agreed to the deal. Within the contract, I sold them my publication rights. In other words, they own my publications rights and they own me as the athlete for their company for a certain price, which by the way $130,000 guarantee, plus 5% of the company's growth, plus 2% company ownership, which I have in a contract. Regarding the magazine, Muscular Development and Gamma-O had an agreement in which they would give them $7,500 worth of free advertisement for the use of me being exclusive with MD. But MD also told them that in order to do that, they also have to pay an additional $7,500 a month for more advertising. $15,000 a month of advertising for half the price - not a bad deal, and I was included. Well, a few months later, Gammo-O got upset because they thought that MD was not giving them their extra $7,500 worth of free advertisement a month. So they stopped paying the other $7,500 that was agreed upon, so somewhere, it fell apart there.

  • $130,000??? Are you kidding me? Guaranteed a year???

      Yes, and they paid me that monthly, every month, and I have the check stubs to prove it. What we did was the 5% of the company growth, was we had a deal that they pay me a little less on the monthly check and every quarter, they would pay me 5%, so it would end up being a little more every quarter, which was totally fine, because at the end of the year, I would end up with all of what was owed to me, which was perfectly fine to me.

  • So when MD said they had no choice but to terminate you, that is true?

      First of all, MD didn't terminate me. The only termination that transcribed was that Gamma-O failed to pay me. They ran out of money. Gamma-O basically is almost bankrupt. The way the were spending money is almost ridiculous. For example, I had to meet them in Vegas to do a photo shoot six weeks at, and they asked us to meet them at a $200 a plate restaurant twice a day. It was unreal how much money was wasted. Plain and simple, they ran out of money. They started bouncing checks to me about three months before this happened, and finally, the beginning of April, I talked to them about it. They promised me that I would have my check guaranteed overnight by the 2nd of the month. When it didn't come in overnight as promised, I called again, and asked him where is my check, he said that we are not going to send you the money, because to make a long story short, we are out of money, and our investor is not willing to give us any more money unless we cut all our athletes?

  • They bounced your checks?

      Oh yes, they bounced three checks on me, but they eventually got covered. They gave me some poor excuse that they are putting some money into a new account, so I just wrote that off, no big deal. But then they couldn't pay me in April. Later on, they sent me a letter that said we are not terminating our agreement with you, not due to your performance, but due to financial hardship with the company.

  • And you have this letter?

      Yes, it is sitting at my lawyer's house, in a package.

  • Have you talked to John about this after it happened?

      What happened was when that happened, they owed more other expenses. Because they told me to buy five pair of sweatsuits, tops and bottoms, and have them embroidered. Which is very expensive. And they also had me do my personal Chris Cook 'Blond Bomber' shirts also - they had me silkscreen Gamma-O on all of the sleeves on the shirts which I sell at various events. They told me they were going to pay for all of that, close to $4,000 in various expenses. They also owe me for expenses for the Ironman Pro, Arnold Classic and the San Francisco Pro show. After they told me that they weren't going to pay me my regular check in April, I asked them if they are at least going to send me the money for expenses? Well - I got into it with them and said I would sue them over the contract, so he said do what you gotta do, that since you want to do that, I won't send you any money for anything.

  • What is with your missing special DVD tapes?

      I made a personal DVD video will getting ready for the New York show last year. I had the original at my home because it wasn't edited yet. Gamma-O wanted to use a clip of it to put on their screens for the 2006 Arnold Classic, so I sent them the tape. They utilized it, and used a clip, and they were supposed to send it back to me, but because they are pissed off on me because of the lawsuit, they are not sending it back. And that is my only copy.

  • But isn't there an ad stating that you have a contract with Gamma-O? Do you have a contract or not?

      They are lying. Why would he even say I don't know. My lawyer has been working on putting this lawsuit together and he probably just found out I was serious about it. He is going to get sued via federal court because he is located in New York and I am located in California. Everything is in the works. My lawyer takes care of it.

      I try not to bother with it at the moment. I have written off the money. But every day, my image is still on their website, which is a blatant violation - they are stealing my image. They say they don't have a contract with me anymore, yet my image is there on their website. These New York guys convinced some investors to give them money, and they are pissing it all away. I can say a lot about their products, their lab tests and what is going on, but it will all come out at the end. This sounds like they are jumping the gun, and covering their ass.

  • Ok, enough of this. How are you doing now?

      Fine. Financially, I have not relied on bodybuilding to make a living. I have my own business, and I do well. I currently am not pursuing another contract at the moment, but I am open to talking to companies about it. I know that with how things turned out to be earlier this year that I won't be able to get the right price at the moment. I have had many covers in the last three years, perhaps more than only a handful of bodybuilders. But at the moment, everybody wants to put a price on my placings, which is fair, but the same people that talk shit right now know that if I bring myself into the right conditioning with my next shows, then I won't be beat.

  • So what happened at the 2006 Ironman, Arnold, San Francisco shows?

      You have to look at the last three years. I did the USA's, I didn't win the overall, lost the overall to Richard Jones. Took that year, and fixed my body. Did the USA's again the following year, lost the overall to Mark Dugdale. I went straight from there to the Nationals. Basically, I had a few weeks off before I started to diet for the Nationals, worked with Chris Aceto, and won the Nationals in late November. From there, I took about a month off, then started dieting again because I was competing the following May. I was doing show after show after show, and my first pro show, I took 6th place at the New York Pro. I just was starting to show my potential and my ability. But the problem was that my body was getting to the point that I was just broken down. I decided after that to take care of family matters, so I didn't train heavy for five months after that. I let my body heal completely. After that, I started 12 weeks out from the Ironman Pro, and had to go from 235 pounds to about 265 pounds for the show. I just wasn't able to get my body ready to do these shows. That's all it was. Was it foolish? Maybe so, but I am still one of the younger competitors competing in the pros. It is all relevant to things right now.

      I realize that if you want to be in the top, if you want to be Mr. Olympia, you are going to have to have a lot of sacrifices. You need to do things right, you need to stay healthy. The fact is, I will be ready next time. I am 285 pounds right now, and am not going to compete until next May. I am the biggest I have ever been at the moment, and will continue to grow. But I guarantee that when I show up, it will be a different Chris Cook. First, I will be rested, and second, I will do everything I gotta do to win those shows.

  • So what type of Chris Cook will be see next year?

      My objective is to be on stage at around 260-265 pounds in the same conditioning or better because I will be more mature, and better than I was at Nationals!