updated 7/24/2005 9:14:16 AM ET 2005-07-24T13:14:16

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has cut business ties with an annual bodybuilding competition that bears his name, taking another step to distance himself from makers of nutritional supplements.

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The governor was paid a fee each year to attend the bodybuilding event called the Arnold Classic, where dietary supplements are heavily promoted.

“That financial relationship is over,” spokeswoman Margita Thompson said Saturday. “He wanted the people to know he’s focusing on governing and didn’t want this to be viewed as a distraction.”

Thompson said she did not know how much Schwarzenegger was paid.

The move comes a week after the former Mr. Universe relinquished his title as executive editor of Muscle & Fitness and Flex magazines, giving up at least $5 million in income.

Schwarzenegger gave up the title amid criticism for vetoing a bill regulating food supplements while taking money from magazines that profit from the industry.

The issue arose after the magazines’ publisher, American Media Inc., filed a securities disclosure form that revealed the lucrative arrangement.

Schwarzenegger plans to keep writing columns for both magazines for free but has no plans to return the money he was paid before the controversy erupted earlier this month.

In a similar move, the governor plans to keep the previous fees he received from the Arnold Classic but refuse any in the future, Thompson said, although he is likely to continue attending the event in Columbus, Ohio.

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