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RIP Matt Mendenhall

Sadly Matt Mendenhall, has passed away. He was only 61. Dubbed by many as the greatest bodybuilder never to have turned pro. He certainly had great genetics, a very massive, yet balanced physique.

RIP Matt Mendenhall: The Greatest Bodybuilder to Never Turn Pro, Cincinnati Bodybuilding Legend - YouTube


You actually beat me to posting this.

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Didn’t this guy like tear most of the tendons in his forearm at one point?

I haven’t heard that, certainly possible, the video mentions he suffered from a lot of injuries.
My knowledge of Matt comes from Old M& F magazines, back in the 80’s around 84-5 from memory. I no longer have those magazines. I’m really kicking myself getting rid of them but I have no space to keep em.
Matt was big for his time, really big. It was him, Lee Haney and Victor Richards. They all seemed a bit too big at the time,compared to their contemporaries, but their physiques have aged really well. By today.s standards they are all very aesthetic.

Matt had those massive calves, actually they were fully grown bulls.

Thanks to Chris Colucci for fixing the video(I am a massive boomer when it comes to tech). :+1:


Best bodybuilding cover guy ever, he had it all! I don’t know how many covers of M&F and Flex he was on but it was ALOT. He made Joe Weider a fortune selling magazines back in the eighties.


Absolutely! Matt was on ALOT of covers.

Joe Weider was a git, but he really knew how to produce great magazines.

He had a pro level physique, but always seemed to come up against other pro level physiques while trying to get his pro card, finishing second to Lee Haney (by one point), Gary Strydom, and Mike Christian at the Nationals. Even when he made a comeback in 1991, he ended up fifth behind winner Kevin Levrone, Flex Wheeler, and Paul Demayo!
Edit: Just checked, 4th place was some guy called Ronnie Coleman.

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Yep. America is harder to become a pro in, than most other countries as there is so much high quality competition. Incredibly competitive back in the 80’s and 90’s when there was only “bodybuilding”, no classic physique, or men’s physique.

I’m not sure what its like with other nations pro qualifying events. You definitely have to be a US citizen to compete at the NPC’s. If you could compete in another country’s nationals, without being a citizen of that country you would get a much easier path to the pro’s.

Matt head to head with Gary Strydom, 1986.

Gary Strydom and Matt Mendenhall 86 Nationals - YouTube

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Rory Leidelmeyer and Mike Quinn spotted! So many great bodybuilders competing back then.

Mike was good, I wouldn’t quite put him in the great category. Rory is in a very similar category to Matt. Phenomenal physique but somehow never quite made it pro.
Gary looks pretty darn good too. He was always shredded. Matt seemed to have the late 70’s early 80’s look. A little smooth by the standards of the mid 80’s and onwards(still incredible though). I remember a lot of other pro builders at the time saying that kind of conditioning was unhealthy(diuretics). Then we started getting contest time health episodes, hospitalization and deaths, Momo Benaziza, Andreas Munzer.