The Challenge alum Zach Nichols blasts Season 39 finalist as ‘loser’ for ‘fake injury’

zach nichols face shot from the challenge war of the worlds 2 final
The Challenge alum Zach Nichols during the War of the Worlds 2 final. Pic credit: MTV

The Challenge: Battle For a New Champion final officially got underway in Episode 18, as seven finalists began competing for the right to call themselves a champion.

Qualifying competitors included fan-favorite Nurys Mateo, Jay Starrett, Colleen Schneider, Corey Lay, Emanuel Neagu, Moriah Jadea, and Berna Canbeldek.

Host TJ Lavin revealed there would be monetary prizes for first, second, and third place, along with three phases of the final, similar to the season’s Control, Chaos, and Conquest phases.

An early elimination reduced the finalists by one after Corey eliminated Jay following the Control phase, which left four women and two men.

In the Chaos phase, competitors were paired up randomly for each checkpoint, but at least one competitor claimed a disadvantage due to an injury.

However, former show winner Zach Nichols said he didn’t believe it was a real injury based on what was presented during the season.

Zach called out a Season 39 finalist’s injury as ‘fake’

During a recent episode of the Zach Nichols Podcast, the Battle of the Seasons winner discussed the Season 39 final with his co-host, Pierre. At one point, Zach asked who would win a fictitious award he created for the final.

“Who’s gonna win the Zach Nichols I’m Gonna Cramp First Award?” he asked, referring to his cramping up during a Challenge final he competed in.

Zach mentioned that Corey was a big and muscular guy who “needs to preserve his energy,” requiring more nutrients for his body, which he might not get during the event.

“I don’t know, though. I’m wondering, who’s the weakest link?” he asked.

Zach’s co-host said he’d choose the “easy pick” based on someone saying they had a nagging injury continuing to hinder them.

“It’s gotta be Berna,” he said, adding, “Apparently, her groin is hurting, so she’s compensating on one side.”

During those remarks, Zach shot a look at his co-host and a bit of an eye roll.

“She’s compensating for something. That’s a fake injury if I ever seen one,” Zach said, with his co-host asking why Zach thought that.


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“She hasn’t mentioned it at all, and then all of a sudden she gets to the final and is like, ‘Oh, my leg is bothering me,'” The Real World and Challenge alum said.

“All right, Ben Simmons. Get outta here, loser,” Zach joked, referring to the NBA player who has missed many games due to injuries during his career.

“Don’t give me a reason not to go to work today!” Zach also joked before the end of the TikTok video clip.

Was Berna injured during Battle For a New Champion?

As viewers have come to know with reality TV and The Challenge, the final footage doesn’t always give the full story of cast interactions or other details, such as injuries.

Sometimes, cast members revealed injuries they suffered during the season after filming the show, as it wasn’t presented in the footage.

However, Berna appears to have brought up her injury halfway through the season, and her castmate also mentioned it.

In Episode 9, Berna’s injury situation was mentioned as Berna was paired with Emanuel and competed in a daily challenge called Power Sticks. A final part of the event involved pulling a heavy sled across a field as quickly as possible to retrieve power sticks and then pulling them on the sled back to the other side.

“I’m going to try to protect Berna’s leg as much as I can,” Emanuel said during the second round of the daily.

“Normally, I am built for these kind of games. I love to run. My groin is telling me, ‘You have to rest,'” Berna said in a confessional interview shown during the event.

“Here, I’m strong,” she said, pointing to her brain, adding, “but this is so painful.”

She didn’t win that daily but said in another confessional bit, “The leg pain was worth it,” since she’d reached the final part of the event.

During the Season 39 final, viewers saw Berna struggle with the groin injury and continue complaining about it. Nurys even questioned if Berna would quit while she was partnered with her. TJ also called her out for complaining since the final still had more checkpoints and another phase left.

The injury may not have been serious, or it had plenty of time to heal since Season 39. Weeks ago, Berna departed to compete in a Survivor Turkey show. In late December, she bid farewell to her friends, fans, and followers in an Instagram video.

With that in mind, she’s been inactive on social media since then and unable to respond to Zach’s claim about her injury or other rumors regarding what happened in Season 39.

The Challenge: Battle For a New Champion airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on MTV.

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