"...That strain and tension came to an electrifying climax at the competitors meeting held the morning of the contest. Fifteen of the 16 athletes had signed a petition asking that the two weight classes be abolished and that the Olympia should henceforth be contested as one open class. The one athlete not in agreement was Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Whatever the rights and wrongs, facts and misconceptions, theories and myths that surrounded the 1980 Mr. Olympia contest, in the interests of this narrative, it's important to understand that Mike Mentzer felt he was cheated in Sydney, and that sinister machinations were afoot. His belief
is that certain forces, fueled by ignorance and sycophancy, combined to thrust an undeserving Arnold to first place and relegate him - perceived as owning the best physique in the contest - to a "ridiculous" fifth place.
"He said something to denigrate Samir Bannout that I thought was uncalled for. I passed on that, feeling Samir should have defended himself. As the debate progressed, there was a lot of arguing between Arnold and some of the guys. I wasn't really concerned one way or the other - I thought I could win anyway. Then Boyer Coe stood up and, as the gentleman he is, said, 'Why don't we let Arnold explain to us right here and now his exact reasons for wanting to have two weight classes?'"Arnold barked, 'Boyer,let's talk like adults here.' That really irked me, because Boyer made his plea with no hint of malice. In addition, this was the IFBB's event, but here was this big Prussian son of a bitch standing there and trying to walk all over us. I interjected and asked Arnold why he was so reluctant to see the open class introduced.
"For some reason, that question pissed him off. He seemed like a guy out of control as he turned to face me, his upper lip curled around like a snarling animal. We were debating the issue of weight classes, but Arnold chose to snap at me, 'Mike Mentzer, we all know Zane beat you last year because you have a big stomach!'"I was seated 20feet away from Arnold, who was standing holding court, and I perhaps allowed that comment to irritate me too much, as on impulse, I bolted toward him. As I approached him, I decided I wouldn't hit him, but nevertheless I was surprised when Arnold sat down: I scared him! He sat as I continued to berate him. Wagging my finger at him, I told him, 'Look, Arnold, Boyer Coe said what he did as a gentleman - he didn't deserve that response. You're the one who's acting like a baby, literally! Arnold couldn't look me in the eye. He went frombeing a frantic hysterical adolescent to shrinking away like an injured child."
Not for the first time in the history of bodybuilding, Joe Weider stepped in and defused the situation. He advised Arnold to accept the voices of the other 15. The debate ended as Arnold proclaimed, "I withdraw my objection."