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Let’s pretend Phil Heath and Rich Froning bump into each other in a dimly lit back alley. Phil cracks a few jokes about CrossFit and then Rich replies with a couple jokes about steroid use and shrunken male genitalia. Now they are both pissed off and ready to tear each other apart like 2 male lions on the Serengeti. The question is, in an all out brawl between these 2 fitness kings who do you think would win? It’s a tough call, both have been at the top of their “sport” for years the last 4 years, both of them are beasts I don’t think many can argue that. So how would a brawl between Mr. Olympia and The Fittest Man on Earth go down, who would win? While this fight isn’t something that will ever actually happen we will thoroughly break down the tale of the tape and see if we can predict a winner.
Tale of the Tape
Weight can make a HUGE difference in a fight. That’s why you’ve never seen fights like Anderson Silva vs Brock Lesner in the UFC or Floyd Mayweather vs Wladimir Klitschko in boxing. The weight is a huge advantage for the bigger person, this is the reason they have weight classes to try and make it even.
Phil Heath weighs in at 250 lbs for competitions and of course more in the off season, up to 280lbs. Rich Froning weighs in at around 200 lbs year round. This is a big advantage for Heath. Some may say “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog” and this is may be true to a certain extent but it sure as shit helps to be the bigger dog.
Advantage: Heath, bigtime!
It can help to be taller in a fight, this generally means you have longer reach and can land punches from further away without being hit. There would normally be a “reach” measurement but these guys aren’t actual fighters so we will have to guess. Both Heath and Froning Stand at 5′ 9″ tall and neither appear to have long monkey arms or anything of that sort.
Let’s no be silly here people, father time catches up to all of us, unfortunately there is no magic pill to keep us young forever (it would be great if there was though). Your prime athletic years are in your mid 20’s. Phil Heath is currently 35 years old and Froning is 27.
Most people would generally think of a giant bodybuilder type as being so uncoordinated they could throw a rock at the ground and miss. This is not exactly the case with Phil Heath. Phil was a basketball player in college, he was a shooting guard for the Pioneer’s at the University of Denver. It turns out under all that muscle there still is an athlete. Froning on the other hand opted out of two college baseball scholarships.
In terms of overall athleticism CrossFit is easily the more athletic of the two featuring tons of movements that require higher levels of athleticism than calf raises. Some pro bodybuilders out there look like they couldn’t even run a straight line or even wipe their own ass. Heath is not one of those but you get the point. Crossfit does more for athleticism.
Advantage: Froning by a sliver
This is the tough one right here since they really don’t do much of the same lifts. Crossfitters do mostly Olympic lifts while bodybuilder do more traditional bodybuilding lifts, of course.
Froning can deadlift 570 lbs, squat 475 lbs, clean and jerk 375 lbs and has a 305 lb snatch. Not bad for weighing 195lbs. Phil Heath on the other hand wasn’t as easy to find numbers on. Here he benches 225 for 46 reps, the range of motion wasn’t the greatest but that’s still pretty strong. Here he “squats” 315 for 20 reps. Not what most would consider a full squat though. But then we found him blasting out some pretty impressive incline dumbell presses. Their training is very different, Heath is just trying to get huge though and doesn’t care about full reps or max lifts. Froning on the other hand does lots of max lifts and full reps and isn’t trying to get huge. This makes it kinda hard to tell who is stronger. Pound for pound we would probably pick Froning but we aren’t going pound for pound here.
Both of these men have won 4 consecutive titles in their field. Bodybuilding and Crossfit are both physically as well as mentally demanding. You don’t reach the top of either and win 4 titles without a high level of mental toughness.
We couldn’t find anything that said that either of them had had any kind of MMA, wrestling, boxing, martial arts or any other amount of training that would be enough to actually help in a street fight.
So who wins?
This one is tougher to call than some might think. We feel Heath’s size would be a huge advantage. We also feel Heath is stronger than Froning overall although he is not Ronnie Coleman strong. Froning is definitly a strong dude and yes we know his strength is more “functional” but we feel Heath is a bit more powerful overall. The only real advantages Froning has are age and endurance, and it’s a big advantage. The dude is a freaking machine who never stops. That is why we felt as the fight went on Heath would get as tired as a one legged man in a butt-kickin’ contest while Froning was still throwing haymakers. Anyone who has ever been in a fight knows how fast you can get tired and what a difference it can make, that’s why we saw it the way we did
Winner: Heath wins in a short fight. If it goes over 2 minutes we would favor Froning.
One thing we know for sure is it would probably be more entertaining than Mayweather vs Pacquiao.