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MZ: How, when and why did you
first start bodybuilding?
CRAIG TITUS: When I was in high school, I was 5'6" and
graduated at 140 pounds. I lifted weights in school but never
gained that much muscle because of making my weight class for
wrestling. I wrestled in the 132-pound class my junior and senior
years. During my senior year in 1983, I would sit and read the
muscle magazines, looking at and admiring athletes like Mike
Christian, Robby Robinson and Lee Labrada. I was amazed at how
awesome they looked. I knew I wanted to become a bodybuilder.
Straight out of Riverview High School [in Texas], I began
training so that I could one day walk on stage [at a bodybuilding
show]. The funny thing is I actually grew three more inches in
height by the time I was 19 years old. Five years after deciding
to pursue my dream of becoming a professional bodybuilder, while
living in Houston, I walked on stage at the 1988 Houston
Bodybuilding Championship weighing a mere 176 pounds-and I won the
overall. I was hooked. As the years passed, I won the overall in
my next five shows.
I turned pro and fulfilled my dream at the 1996
USA Championships. I dedicated this victory to my son Aaron,
who passed away in 1989.
MZ: There was a "scandal" at
the 1995 U.S.A. What exactly happened there?
CRAIG TITUS: Prior to the 1995
USA, I had been going back and forth from L.A. to Louisiana
battling my conspiracy charge. Rumors were circulating around the
contest hotel in Denver like you wouldn't believe. People were
actually saying that I was going to jail for 20 years. The one
that really made me mad was, "If Craig wins this show the DEA is going to arrest him
on-stage." I guess it was my fault, but I was trying to keep my
personal life from affecting my placing in the show or my career
for that matter. Maybe I should have issued a press release,
letting the pubic know what was going on. You definitely learn
from your mistakes. The gossip that comes out of a person's mouth
never ceases to amaze me.
Five months prior to the USA in Denver, the magazines were
picking me as the winner.The prediction was that I was the one to
beat, and of course believing the hype. What a big mistake that
turned out to be. When I lost to Phil Hernon that day, a man that
I have beaten twice before, I was furious. I stormed off stage. I
somehow felt that the rumors of jail delayed me in turning pro.
After cooling down and realizing what a big mistake I made, I came
to the conclusion that I lost because I simply wasn't good enough
to be a pro yet. A thought that would fuel my pursuit of greatness
in the IFBB.
To this very day, some people believe I lost because of my
troubles with the law, but I myself think I lost because I wasn't
good enough. Walking off stage, well, show me a good loser and
I'll show you a loser.
M.Z.: Why is Muscular Development's
John Romano so anti-Titus? Please be specific.
C.T.: Again this all starts at the 1995 USA in Denver,
when John came to my room for an exclusive interview on my troubles with the
law as well as me walking off stage. I explained to Romano in
great detail my case and let him know that the government would
not have convicted me if I cooperated with the authorities. In
other words, give them information so that they could indict other
bodybuilders. John wrote the article for Muscular Development
where he defended my integrity and set the record straight in my
defense. It felt good to finally get the truth out and put an end
to all the rumors of being a rat as well as going to jail. As a
matter of fact, Lonnie called the authorities in my case to see if
I was cooperating with the law in Louisiana. Without talking to me
first, Romano wrote another article stating that I was a rat. It
was devastating to see this in an international magazine or in any
print for that matter. He tore my character apart and I was not
going to stand for it.
Why in the hell was Romano so concerned if I was a rat or not?
The only people who are concerned if someone is a rat or not are
criminals. So I did a little investigating and found out that
Romano is no more than a common thief. He committed telemarketing
fraud, where he would call unsuspecting people and make false
promises over the phone to steal their hard-earned money. This
kind of scum targets the elderly, who have a hard time defending
themselves; what a man. Who in the hell does he think he is to
judge me? This pathetic human being actually had the balls to
smear my name. Every time I am asked anything about Romano, I
state exactly what I think of him...this is why he is so
He constantly makes derogatory statements about the NPC and IFBB, along with
the heads of those two organizations, both of whom have enabled
Romano to make a living from the sport of bodybuilding that his
wife participated in for many years. Romano went so far as to have
cartoons of Lonnie Teper and me printed in Muscular Development
magazine, where he again made a failed attempt to make us look
silly. I'm sure I haven't seen the last of Romano smearing my
name. I'm not angry. I just feel sorry for the lost soul.
M.Z.: You did have some sort of beef
with Ironman's Lonnie Teper as well. Can you explain?
C.T.: The beef I had with Lonnie started at the USA in
Denver [in 1995]. Lonnie and I were good friends prior to the show
and are really good friends now. As a matter of fact, we still
laugh our asses off at some of the things we said about each other
in the mags. I can't remember exactly what was being said but I do
remember when it started. I was told at the contest hotel in
Denver that Lonnie was spreading the rumor that I was going to
jail. To think I actually listened to John Romano when he told me
-- that is something I still regret to this day. So, thinking John
was a man with integrity, I believed what he said and confronted
Lonnie. Because of all the pressure I was under, getting ready for
the show combined with the frustration that my good name was being
jeopardized, I was ready to blame anyone for the rumors. After
telling Lonnie to shut his mouth, in the hotel restaurant, I later
found out he was discussing whether the rumors were true or not
and had genuine concern for my well-being. To say the least, I
felt terrible. Lonnie and I are very good friends and he is
definitely an asset to the sport of bodybuilding. Getting on his
bad side was not a good idea.
M.Z.: Do you think the sport of
bodybuilding is dying or just changing?
C.T.: From what I understand, the crowds at the Arnold Classic and the
Olympia are getting larger every year. Bottom line, these people aren't
showing up to see the expos. They're coming to see the
bodybuilders perform. No bodybuilders, no expos. When a
nutritional company introduces itself to the market, whom do they
have representing their product? A bodybuilder. When a fitness
clothing line hits the scene, bodybuilders wear the clothes.
Literally, every major nutritional company, the big guys, Met-Rx,
Weider, Twinlab, and even EAS are who they are because of
bodybuilders. Big money. So do I think the sport is dying? Hell,
no. It's more popular than ever. The only thing that is changing
is the athletes.
M.Z.: Do you think the magazines that
are choosing to feature natural bodybuilding and women's fitness
are selling out?
C.T.: Natural bodybuilding, I guess that's kind of like
the "natural" NFL or the "natural" boxing association, or how
about the "natural" track stars in the Olympics. I'm so sick of
hearing about natural bodybuilding. Point is, every sport has
athletes who use enhancing drugs. The tragedy of the decimation of
an athlete's character and career does not come from using
steroids; it comes from the illegality of being caught. So the
question should be, "When does a bodybuilder consider himself
natural?" When he decides to quit after 10 years of using 'roids
and finds it convenient for the pages of an All-Natural magazine, or when he realizes he can't make it as
a pro bodybuilder and becomes a model and starts taking acting
classes. Don't get me wrong --- I respect any bodybuilder whether
he is natural or not, but is he "natural?" I don't know and the
point is that I don't give a damn. Just don't tell me how natural
you are because I don't want to hear it. Any magazine that
promotes an athlete's career is an asset to the sport but when its
pages are used to downgrade the sport as a whole, it is selling
As far as magazines choosing to feature women's fitness ---
hell, no I don't think they're selling out. They're selling
magazines, and some of them to me.
M.Z.: Any final words for your fans out
C.T.: I would like to thank all the people who have
believed in me during my career and have stood beside me through
good and bad. Thank you for your letters and cards. They are such
a positive force for me and give me more fuel and strength to be
the best I can be in the IFBB, I will be back on-stage very soon
and I will be a champion.
Never let anyone or anything take away your dreams. What
doesn't kill you will only make you stronger.
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