|GetBig Interview: Paul Dillett
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Paul Dillett has had his ups and down in bodybuilding. Three years ago, things were great. Two years ago, things were bad. Last year, he started rebuilding his life, and this year, Paul is back on top of the bodybuilding world. He has a new contract with a great supplement company, he is back in shape, and big, and he is writing articles in Muscular Development. In in one of those articles, the June 2003 issue, Paul talks about various subjects, including racism in the IFBB, the discrepencies between black and white athletes, and judges that are biased. Some of his comments have created an uproar within the bodybuilding arena. Here are a few questions with Paul, in his first interview after the uproar over the June 2003 Muscular Development article.
Paul Dillett, interviewed by Ron Avidan.
- So, are you racist?
Oh my god! Hell, no! I guess it is hard to be a racist when you are bi-racial. I am half black, half white. My dad is white, and my mom is black. So it is kind of hard to be a racist. I have had two wives, both of whom were white, one was German, the other was Canadian. The girl I date is white so I don't know. The only people who say that I am a racist is actually a true racist. Just because someone has an opinion does not make them a racist. Just because someone says they feel there is some racism in the sport that he is involved in does not make them a racist.
- Your dad was white, and mom was black? What are you?
That makes me a Mulatto. My dad was from France, and my mom was Jamaican, and I was born in Canada. My dad passed away.
- Was it strange growing up in your family?
No, because in my family, there is no such thing as racism. My mom accepts people for who they are, not for the color of their skin or anything else. That is the way I was brought up. I treat you the way you treat me. I don't care if you are white, black, Chinese or whatever the hell you are. If you are a good person, you are a good person. If you are an asshole, you are an asshole. I judge people as individuals, based on the character and how they treat me, not by the color of their skin. There are a lot of black guys and white guys who are assholes.
Growing up, my favorite bodybuilder was Lou Ferrigno. Also, Gary Strydom. I could not wait to meet Gary Strydom. I idolized the guy. I love his delts. The reason my delts are the way there are is because I have always wanted to have delts like Gary Strydom. Also, who doesn't love Tom Platz.
- Should the IFBB suspend you for your comments in your column?
Should they suspend me? For having my own opinion? You can't suspend someone for having their own opinion? It is my opinion! It doesn't mean that it is right, and it doesn't mean that it is wrong. These are my feelings, you know what I mean? You can't suspend someone for having an opinion? This is America right, freedom of speech. You should have a right to your own opinion. That is a part of life. I did not attack any one individual! If someone wants to say that it makes me a racist, then go right ahead. Call me a racist, because I am always going to speak my mind. I have always been known as one of the most outspoken bodybuilders out there along with Shawn Ray. We say how we feel. Most people feel a certain way, but they just don't say it. They are afraid to say it. Some of us like Shawn, myself and other individuals are not afraid to just come out and say 'This is how I feel'. I am entitled to that. Some people love Paul Dillett, some people don't. That's their opinion, that is their choice. They have that right to feel that way.
- Why do you think the IFBB is racist?
Wait, I said that there is racism within the IFBB. You can't say the IFBB is racist because the IFBB is made up of a big group of individuals. Look, when you check out the judging panels, how many black people do you see on it? How many black athletes do you see on stage? My whole thing is that you can't not address that point. You can't deny that simple fact that there are lots of black competitors and only two black judges? My whole question that was asked of me was that 'Do you believe there is racism in the IFBB', and I replied 'Yes'. I am definitely not hear to bash the IFBB.
What would you say if the question was asked to you? You most likely will say no because you are not involved directly like the judges and the athletes are involved, on a more personal level. You tend to view things differently.
- Well, how about you becoming an IFBB judge?
Me. No, I am not interested in becoming a judge right now. You know, there should not be such an uproar just because an athlete says 'I feel this way'. Maybe the IFBB should contact the athlete, and say 'If something happens that made you feel this way, then let's get down to the bottom of it'.
- Do you know any athletes who want to become an IFBB judge?
You know, I have never really given it any thought as to which athletes wants to become a judge. But look, for how many years has Shawn Ray been bitching and complaining about the judging system. A lot of the black athletes say stuff, but they will not go on record to say anything. Hey, you know me, I speak my mind. I don't care what the repercussions are going to be. If I do my job right, if I come out on stage looking the best that I can, let the chips fall where they may. Sometimes you have to speak out for the good of others.
- Some judges are offended at your MD article. Which judge was the racist one?
If it offends them, that is their problem. Then they need to sit back and think about what they said, or who said what? I don't really care if they are offended by that. I am sorry. I am not going to say who the judge was because I don't want any repercussions on that individual. But believe me, they know exactly who they are. You think that the judge was the first one to make a racist remark. Come on. I am not going to back down from this. What makes me mad is people are going to tell me that I offend them. Well, perhaps you have done things that have offended me in the past. That's life. If you don't like it, that is too bad.
There are a lot of great judges out there. Ken Taylor, Sandy Ranalli, Debbie Elwoods. People who I know are very good judges. Incredible judges. In every bunch, there is a rotten apple, and they know it. And that is the whole bottom line.
Look, there is nothing that I say that most of us don't already know. Whether people want to admit it or not, I have heard all of these things before. If I am one of the first athletes to bring this to the forefront, and everybody now is in an uproar that Paul says bodybuilding is racist, that's too bad.
Let met ask you a question? How many white guys have told me 'Oh, I have a black friend.' Wow, that's cool. How would they feel if I asked them 'How would you feel if I wanted to date your sister?' Am I your friend? Really? If I am your friend, then you would let me date your sister. All of a sudden, it is not too cool then. It's ok for you and me to be friends as long as I don't date your sister, and I am not in your family.
- Have you spoken to IFBB Vice President Wayne DeMilia about how you feel about these issues?
No, I have not spoken to Wayne as of yet on this. Wayne has not called me. Wayne knows my number, he can call me anytime. I absolutely do not have a problem with Wayne.
- Is it not different in 2003 than it was 10 years ago?
No, it's bullshit. This thing is still the same. People who believe that it is different have their head up there ass. Nothing has changed. Still the same bullshit. Talk to other black athletes. Chris Cormier, Dexter Jackson, Flex Wheeler. I am telling you 'They will say nothing has changed'. Changed for who? Usually, the black athletes do not get the big contracts in bodybuilding. Oh yeah, you can say that Paul always seems to land the big deals. But that is because I don't accept any limitations on myself, and I believe that you are worth what you think you are worth.
Look at all the marketing that they have put into Jay Cutler and Gunter Schlierkamp over the last few months? Which black athletes have you ever seen them do that for? None. Ronnie Coleman is the reigning Mr. Olympia, and the word that I hear is that he is trying to compete for third place now. Are the black athletes not as marketable as the white athletes? Can the black athletes not get a cover from the magazines themselves? Come on, it's been going on for years.
- Hey, that is up to Ronnie himself?
Honestly, in my opinion, I think that Ronnie is going to smoke them. The way that the magazines portray it is that Ronnie is washed up, he's done, this is Jay and Gunter's show . Come on, give me a fucking break. If Ronnie is at his best, neither one of them can come close to him.
- It's not a matter of race. Some athletes work harder than other athletes.
Even in my statement, I say, that I have a great contract right now and an incredible deal, but I work my ass off. In five months, I have done 18 appearances. I work for NHF Sport, a large Canadian supplement company, and they have a product launch in the U.S. coming in July. We have a lot of different products. It is a sister company of Garden State Nutrition, which is out of New Jersey.
- Do you think the IFBB will change, with Joe Weider selling the magazine division?
I think that there will be a lot of changes in bodybuilding, hopefully for the good. I hope it's for the good. I think bodybuilding needs some young blood, some new creative ideas, to make the sport more popular, and more interesting, and not so boring sometimes when you sit and watch it. When you go to the Olympia, there are four or five guys in which you are dying to see, and the rest of them, you just don't really care. The fans are dying to see the top name games out there. Bodybuilding needs more excitement. For me personally, I want the best for our sport. I love bodybuilding. It's very upsetting to me when someone says that Paul is a racist to me.
- With the Toronto Show cancelled, are you going to do the Night of Champions?
I would love to do the NOC. I am currently 287 pounds. I think I look incredible. I don't have to tell you how tough it was a year ago, but God works in mysterious ways. One minute you are down, the next minute you are back up. But there are many reasons why I hesitate to do the NOC.
Last year at the NOC, I won the symmetry round. After prejudging, I was second going into the night show. Even if my posing was off, how the hell do you go from second place to falling out of the top five during the night show? You gotta admit that was strange. I won round one, was second after round two, and did not make the top five. When I came into bodybuilding, I was told that the night show was for the fans, and the main competition was over after prejudging. If that is the case, the judges decisions last year baffles me.
I'll be the first to admit that at the Southwest Pro show last year I looked like shitl But at the Night of Champions, I looked so much better. I was not at my best, but I was good enough to beat who was there.
I don't think I will go to the Night of Champions, because I don't think justice will be served there for me. I most likely will be doing the Hungary show. I don't want to work this hard, and then go into something, and get distracted because of personal feelings. I can put my personal feelings aside on things. For me, I have to thank God for the IFBB. I have made millions of dollars because of the IFBB. When I speak out, I speak out on behalf of other bodybuilders, not on behalf of Paul Dillett. Right now, I am the highest paid bodybuilder in this sport. I care about the other bodybuilders. I started a number of trends in bodybuilding. Did you know that I was the first amateur bodybuilder to get a pro contract? With Weider. Before myself, no amateur had received a contract. This whole Freakazoid thing, I started that. If you ask people who was the first freak, they say Paul Dillett. When Dorian Yates was Mr. Olympia, I was still the highest paid bodybuilder from Weider for a while. When I left Weider, and went to Met-Rx, I became again the highest paid bodybuilder in bodybuilding. And all that does is let the other bodybuilders go to the people who give them contracts, and say 'Paul is getting this much, what can I do'. So it starts a trend that the other companies starting saying 'Well, we need to pay our bodybuilder more money'.
I may go and watch the Night of Champions, but if my schedule gets too hard with competing in Hungary, I may not go, depending on my training and dieting.
- Have you improved your posing ability?
I have been working on everything. Because I know that once I get up on stage, especially now, that the judges are going to be looking for every little thing to try to hold me down. Right now, I am getting ready for some photo shoots two weeks from now. I am going to shoot with Steve and MD, because I want people to see that Paul Dillett is back, bigger and better.
- So how big are you?
I am around 287 pounds. My arms are about 23 ?, and my chest is pretty big now. Honestly, right now, I am back into being a freak of freaks.
- What is your diet like now?
I keep it very basic. Nothing fancy, rice and chicken, and I throw in a couple of steaks in there. Everyone knows that I drink a lot, I am a shake guy. The company that I am with has one of the best shakes out on the market. I love our shakes. I drink about four shakes a day.
- What is your training schedule like?
Twice a day, hitting the big bodyparts in the morning.
My first workout, Day One, is Shoulder. Day Two is Quads in the morning, Hamstrings at Night. Day Three is Chest in the morning, Bi's and Tri's at night. Day Four would be Back, and then a day off, and then I start over again.
I get up at around 8am, do an hour of cardio, come back upstairs, eat (usually a bowl of oatmeal with my shake), go back to sleep, then be at the gym by 12:30, train, go home, eat, have my shake, rest, get up, go to the gym, train the small bodyparts, do another hour of cardio, come home, and then I chill.
Right now I am in the groove. I have a good routine going. I am very happy on how my physique looks. I am extremely happy with how my life is right now. I knock on wood, and thank God, because I am so blessed, because right now I am living a fairy tale life, from last year's Hell on Earth.
- How are things with your newly found 10 year old daughter?
Everything is great. That is one of those things that I still have not done the blood test, but she is a beautiful little girl. Once I do the test, I am hoping that it is going to say yes. If it says no, I am still going to be happy, because I met a wonderful person. Her name is Brittany. I love kids. It would be great for me. It would be one of the nicest things that could happen to me.
- Are you dating right now?
I date, but there is nothing really serious right now. The focus right now is to get Paul Dillett on getting his life back on track, and his career back to where it was. Whether you love me or hate me, you are talking about me. Don't hate me because I have my own opinions. You have yours and I have mine. It's my opinion and I am entitled to that. People get so emotional when they read what I have to say. I try and not attack other athletes. I just want things better in my sport. I hate hearing that Tom Prince is sick; that Flex Wheeler is sick; that this guy is broke. I want to see the day that all these guys are retired, we have our health, our family and our money, and be friends.
- What about a bodybuilding union that we hear about?
I think it is very hard to have a union when these guys hate on each other so much. Instead of coming together, and realizing that once we are on stage, we have no control over what happens out there. You can't hate on each other. Don't be so jealous of the next guy. I'm getting mine, you can get yours. If I can do it, then you can do it. That is the attitude they should have, and maybe one day when athletes stop hating on each other, it can be a possibility. So stop talking shit about each other.
Going on stage is war. So if you can say anything you want about me or the next guy when we go to battle. You can say anything you want before you get on that stage to do battle, but once that contest is over, the war is over, and we should go back to being regular guys. The problem is that some guys take it off the stage, and that is stupid, because how can the bodybuilders unite when they are fighting off the stage too.
- So who are your friends and who are your acquaintances in the bodybuilding world?
I think the older bodybuilders like Kevin Levrone, Shawn Ray, Nasser El Sonbaty, Flex Wheeler, and so on, I think we have more than a bond than the new guys. We have done our battles with each other, and even in the past, it was never after the show. It was always ripping each other apart before the contest. Look at all the battles me and Shawn had. Me and Flex. Me and Dorian. You know what's funny. We all still have our friendship at the end, because that was all in competition. We ripped each other apart after the stage, then we would hate each other, and that is not the case. We still care about each other, and we almost never say anything negative about each other.
I just think the new guys have to have more respect for their competitors, because if you keep cursing this guy and saying 'How shitty he is', and then you beat him, then what did you beat? All you beat was a shitty guy.
- Ever thought of joining in a Muscle Camp with Shawn Ray?
Oh, most definitely. Actually, I wanted to do something with Shawn on that, but right now, with my company, I work my ass off. I am not just on contract with them, but own a small piece of it. I need to tell myself that nothing good comes easy, I just have to work hard and be consistent, and do what I do best. I plan to keep competing as long as I have my health and strength. I would love to win, I want to win, but if I don't win, then so be it. I want to be happy in what I am doing. I love training, I love being in the gym, I want to go on the stage, I want to be in front of my fans, and be the freak that the people know me to be. And whether I am first or dead last, I am going to enjoy it. Let the chips fall where they may.
- Your fans want to see you on the Olympia stage.
It's been years since I have been on the Olympia stage. I see guys on that stage that I think 'On my worst contest appearance, I could beat these guys.' I think everyone knows that Paul still has physique, and he is still one of those guys who never, ever, really hit his potential. I hear guys who say that Paul Dillett is washed up. Washed up? Washed up is a state of mind. If you don't feel that way in your mind, you are not washed up. You wait, I am in shape. Soon, everybody will see where I stand with my physique.