Despite very strong competition from both Dennis Wolf at his best ever and Victor Martinez in top condition, Branch Warren did indeed leave the Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium tonight not only with his fifth Most Muscular award, but also first place and all that goes with it: a $130,000 check, a $20,000 Audemars Piquet watch, a Tony Nowak leather jacket, and a Joska crystal trophy. He also now joins the list of legends that have won the Arnold Classic that includes Rich Gaspari, Shawn Ray, Kevin Levrone, Flex Wheeler, Ronnie Coleman, and Jay Cutler.
After hearing his name announced by emcee Lonnie Teper as the winner, Branch dropped to the floor much the way Ronnie Coleman was known to do back in the day. Arnold came out to give the congratulatory interview, and commended Branch for refusing to give up even though he came up short at this event several times over the last four years. Branch took the time to thank his Lord and savior Jesus Christ, his wife Trish, his good friend Brian Dobson who believed in his potential twenty years ago when no one else did, and his sponsors: Steve Blechman and MD, Muscletech, and GASP clothing, and his nutrition coach George Farah.