Nick Walker, 3rd place 2022 Mr. Olympia / YouTube

The Arnold Classic announced today that the top prize for the men’s open on March 3-4 will be $300,000, the most ever for any bodybuilding contest other than the Mr. Olympia. That prize was $200,000 last year and $130,000 the year before. That’s some impressive growth! The 2022 Mr. Olympia top prize was $400,000, but there were 28 competitors. Currently, only eight 2023 Arnold Classic competitors (Nick Walker, William Bonac, Samson Dauda, Shaun Clarida, Kamal El-Gargni, Charles Griffen, Justin Rodriguez, Akim Williams) are committed to compete for the $300K in Columbus.


At the beginning of the day there were only seven Arnold Classic competitors, and Samson Dauda appeared to be the favorite. But in response to the Arnold Sports Festival Instagram post about the 50% pay hike, Nick Walker posted: “Well well well.” And soon thereafter it was announced that Walker, the 2021 Arnold Classic champ and third-place finisher in the 2022 Mr. Olympia, is entering the 2023 Arnold, instantly asserting himself as the favorite.

The next day, Andrew Jacked, who won the Arnold Amateur and Arnold Classic UK last year and finished eighth in his debut Mr. Olympia, announced he too would enter the 2023 Arnold Classic.

“The Arnold Sports Festival is on pace to have record sponsorship and ticket sales so the time is right to reward our athletes, fans and sponsors with the best Arnold Classic ever,” Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement. “I can’t wait to see who takes home the $300,000 in March.”

Nick Walker Arnold Classic
Nick Walker winning the 2021 Arnold Classic. / YouTube

The Barbell will keep you posted on any further developments, and check out our preview here.


This is the official statement:

Arnold Classic 2023