The Godfather Mark Long is among the 24 OG cast members competing in The Challenge: All Stars 3, where he’ll be up against the toughest field of competitors yet. However, he’s got more motivation than ever to win the spinoff show this time.
Mark previously appeared in the debut season of All Stars, a project he initially started as the We Want OGs movement, that became the popular spinoff featuring former cast members of MTV’s Real World, Road Rules, and Fresh Meat.
He stepped away from the competition for Season 2 and continued to work as part of the show’s production. However, he explains what lured him back to the cast for All Stars 3 and his motivation for trying to win.
With four decades of experience competing on MTV’s show, Mark also shared a few competitors’ names that he’d love to see return for a season of the All Stars spinoff.
Mark Long reveals why he returned for All Stars 3
While speaking with TV Insider, The Challenge’s Mark Long commented about how he decided to appear on Worst Cooks in America on Food Network after the first season of All Stars due to wanting to introduce himself to a new audience.
However, once he started hearing murmurs about The Challenge: All Stars 3, he realized he wanted to be a part of it beyond working on the show’s production.
“I caught wind of how epic the third season was going to be. The funny thing is when I get the call to be a cast member, even though I’m an executive producer, they tell me the least of any cast member. I am so in the dark,” Mark told TV Insider.
“I feel like it’s the most talked about, sought-after Challenge in years. Then they announced the cast; Wes [Bergmann] is coming back and Jordan [Wiseley], who we haven’t seen in a while. Nia [Moore] and Veronica [Portillo] coming back. So many big-time players. Everyone is bringing their best. It’s such a good group. I couldn’t say no,” he shared.
While Mark has competed in seasons with Wes and Veronica, he’s yet to appear in a season with three-time Challenge champion Jordan Wiseley or Jordan’s former Real World castmate Nia Moore. In addition, he’ll have some other new castmates with Sylvia Elsrode and Kailah Casillas, both of whom joined MTV’s The Challenge in seasons after Mark Long was there.
Beyond the epic cast of competitors, Mark has a more significant reason for returning to compete for that big prize money, as he said his mother has continued to battle Stage 4 cancer since his first All Stars season.
“I told people on the first day that I am playing for such a bigger kind of presence than just winning this game. I’m playing for my mom. It’s going to take f**kin’ King Kong or Superman to get me out of this house. I meant it going in. You’ll just have to see how it plays out.”
Mark has a few OGs he wants to see on All Stars
Since All Stars 3 features only finalists and winners of The Challenge, fans were surprised to see legends like Darrell Taylor, Derrick Kosinski, Wes Bergmann, and Jordan Wiseley, but no Johnny Bananas.
While speaking with TVLine, Mark indicated that Bananas was nearly part of the cast, which would’ve made it even more epic. He said “Johnny for sure” when it comes to OGs he’d love to see on All Stars.
“There was talk of him coming on season 3, but he got injured and had to bow out. There were definitely talks of him coming on,” Mark said of the seven-time champion.
Mark also wants to see another former castmate return to the show, but it may take some time to get to that point.
“That unicorn sort of cast member is a Theo Von because he was such a polarizing, funny, unique character. I’ve had conversations with him. He is just so locked in with his comedy tour and that space that I think for him to come back is not really feasible. Maybe down the line,” Mark shared.
Theo, 42, was originally a cast member on Road Rules: Maximum Velocity Tour. He appeared on four seasons of The Challenge, winning on The Gauntlet and Battle of the Sexes 2.
Since his Challenge days, Theo’s moved on to become a successful comedian and podcaster. While he may decide not to return for The Challenge spinoff, Mark feels there are plenty of other OGs that fans need to see again.
“The Challenge franchise is awesome. I love it. I love those people over there. They’ve incorporated a lot of new faces, which is great. But we have so many new faces that haven’t been on All Stars that have reached out and want to come back if there is a season 4,” he added.
Fans are certainly hoping that All Stars will continue for many seasons to showcase more stars from MTV’s yesteryear.
The Challenge: All Stars premieres on May 11 on Paramount Plus.