The Challenge: Free Agents wrapped Thursday night, with a reunion that showed some unseen footage from the past season. But those unaired moments are just the tip of the iceberg for one of reality TV’s craziest shows. We spoke to a few of the most notorious fan-favorite Challengers about their off-camera antics. No surprise here: There are plenty of hook-ups, pranks, and… cheerleading?
Check out the, uh, stuff MTV should have shown below.
Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio, winner of Free Agents: “My all-time S#!@ They Should Have Shown moment took place on the The Challenge: The Island in 2009. In case you didn’t see this season, the format was very similar to Survivor, where 28 cast members were marooned on an island in Panama and basically forced to survive on meager food rations which usually consisted of a bowl of rice and a small piece of fish. Three weeks later and about 20 pounds lighter, the starvation finally became too much to bear. So, along with my partner-in-crime and fellow Challenge legend Kenny Santucci, we devised a plan to break into the production food tent and steal food. Like a scene out of the movie Shawshank Redemption, we cut a hole in a fence, trudged through close to 100 yards of knee deep mud, and sneaked past ARMED guards until we reached the food tent. We took off our pants, tied the ankles and used them as our makeshift shopping bags, filling them with anything and everything we could get our hands on, stuffing our faces in the process. Once our stomachs and shopping bags could hold no more, we sneaked back to our hut to admire the fruits of our labor. We had a virtual treasure trove of everything ranging from pancake mix and brownies to eggs, vegetables, and condiments. We knew production would come looking for the missing goodies, so, like prison inmates hiding illegal contraband, we hid the food anywhere we could. Inside our mattresses, buried underground, stuffed in the ceiling of our hut, etc…. We were eventually caught, and, as if having our food taken away wasn’t punishment enough, we were also both fined close to $2,000.”
Diem Brown: “I think any of the ‘Saturday off days’ we used to have…. That’s when all the hook-ups would happen and all the craziest partying would go down…. Which is why we don’t have ‘no camera Saturdays’ anymore. It’s just way too good to miss.”
Jonathan Murray, creator: “After a food fight, Robin places a ‘curse’ on Johnny Bananas on Battle of the Exes.”
Mark Long: “[In] Battle of the Sexes II… a group of us (I believe it included Brad, Miz, and a few others) stole a golf cart from the ranch and actually took it out on the freeway and drove it about three miles down to a neighboring town that was having a rodeo. We pulled up to the rodeo, parked the golf cart, and walked down to the arena. We turned the corner and saw half of the production team there watching, the producers looks at us and says ‘What the ___ are you guys doing her?’ Let’s just say our days off changed a bit after that.”
Beth Stolarczyk: “Tyler and Robin cheerleading shows. Great entertainment!”
Landon Lueck: “MTV is amazing at capturing 99 percent of everything that happens in those dramatic four or six weeks of filming. The 1 percent that escapes is the sweetest part of the Challenges—it’s the part that no one knows about except for us few cast and crew members involved. However, I will tell you about the time on Inferno II when Derek and I got in a brawl in the middle of a Manzanillo, Mexico, street, and his ear all but came off after being slammed into the wheel of the truck we were all riding in. Later that night after a doctor stitched his ear back in place, he and CT shaved a portion of my head. I woke up with my (at that time) usual curly locks and a new bald spot I didn’t have the night before. This immediately lead to me shaving my head for the next six years. Haha!”
Veronica Portillo: “There used to be a lot of hooking up in closets, before production caught on and placed stationary cameras in them. And I could have or couldn’t have been a part of this :)”
Rachel Robinson: “There is a lot of hooking up you just don’t see—’cause some of us are slicker than others!”
Paula Meronek: “Winning the grape eating contest on Rivals II… guess I’m really good at fitting things in my mouth.”
Frank Sweeney: “My favorite S#!@ They Should Have Shown moment has to go to the night of the house-wide wrestling matches in Thailand [on Rivals II]. As if everyone had a professional background in stage combat, we went full on WWE, starting with Jordan and I in a ‘friendly’ match and as the night went on and feelings became more pervasive, things got gladiator. And the best part was, for some of the ladies involved, the wrestling matches didn’t end in front of everybody, but continued beneath the sheets later, lesbiahonest.”
TJ Lavin, host: “It wasn’t from a cast member but a tester who was in Africa as well. She was testing the trampoline challenge and snapped her tim/fib. It was a compound fracture (through the skin) so everyone pretty much bounced out of there as fast as possible (no pun intended… well maybe a little). Anyway, a year later I had the same injury in BMX, and I can vividly remember her courage from that day as it was by far the worst pain I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.”
Darrell Taylor: “Me and Derrick’s wild night out in Surfers Paradise—definitely worth the $1,500 fine.”
Mike “The Miz” Mizzanin: “Just a lot of the drunken debauchery. No, but probably during Battle of the Seasons during the hurricane in Cabo San Lucas, I actually went into the ocean not knowing about the undertow, and as we went in the current took us out into the ocean, and it was the first time in my life I thought I was going to die. Luckily I was a good swimmer and had been on the swim team.”
Abram Boise: “Darrell bribing the cops for me in Mexico [during The Inferno]… or waking up in the lighthouse with two local Mexican girls, a new haircut that I don’t know how I got, a skeleton painted on my face, one shoe, and no money or any idea how to get back to the house… and that was just one night of one weekend—there was even better stuff every day off, like the stolen golf carts off-roading, the swim-up bar tab under a fake name, Katie drunkenly drowning in the pool and Miz carrying her over his shoulder—the whole first Inferno was tops for off-camera stories. [There are] too many to choose from.”