The Challenge’s Cara Maria Sorbello comments on four-year absence from MTV show: ‘Wasn’t my choice’

cara maria sorbello from mtv the challenge battle for a new champion promotional video
Cara Maria Sorbello during a promotional video for The Challenge Season 39. Pic credit: MTV

Cara Maria Sorbello makes her highly anticipated return to MTV’s The Challenge with Battle For a New Champion after some time away from the show.

It’s actually been four years for the two-time champion, as she last appeared alongside her boyfriend Paulie Calafiore in the War of the Worlds 2 season.

Speculation began circulating online about Cara and Paulie possibly being “canceled” or blacklisted from being included in the MTV competition series cast.

However, Paulie’s appearance in The Challenge: USA 2 spinoff and now Cara’s Season 39 return has brought plenty of attention back to the popular competitors, even if their return appearances are brief.

Cara will be among the Season 39 mercenaries, former Challenge champs who show up to go against main cast members in eliminations.

She recently commented about her absence and return to the show after a four-year hiatus, saying it wasn’t up to her to stay away.

Cara Maria says she didn’t choose to stay away from The Challenge

By now, the secret’s out that Cara Maria will return to MTV’s The Challenge in Battle For a New Champion, which premiered on Wednesday, October 25. Aside from preview footage, she wasn’t part of the premiere episode but will show up for one of the episode’s eliminations.

Cara’s return has fans excited. Her lengthy absence from the show was intriguing as all sorts of rumors were circulating about Cara and her boyfriend being left off the last several seasons’ casts. Many fans felt that Cara and Paulie would’ve been perfect as a duo for the Season 38 format, Ride or Dies.

Some fans may have speculated that Cara was boycotting The Challenge over some sort of grudge or that she had other things going on that she preferred to do. That wasn’t the case, according to her, though.

“The real answer is it’s not up to me, it was up to everybody else. I would’ve been back four years ago, but that wasn’t my choice,” Cara shared in an EW interview.

“It’s really hard to see other people doing the things that you love, it’s hard not to be able to be back and defend my spot, it’s hard to see new champions happen without me being there to fight for it, you know what I mean? It’s hard to hear the fans ask for me back all the time and me knowing the way that I left things is not who I am, so that’s just really tough,” she said.

Cara was on the verge of capturing another championship during WOTW 2 due to the strong alliance she and Paulie orchestrated. However, Team UK ultimately won with the experienced Chris “CT” Tamburello and Jordan Wiseley joining forces with Rogan O’Connor and Dee Nguyen to finish the final first.

Cara and Paulie weren’t back for the next four seasons, with championships won by Johnny Bananas, followed by CT alongside Big Brother stars Amber Borzotra and Kaycee Clark, and more recently, Tori Deal and Devin Walker.

One has to wonder if the boyfriend-girlfriend duo might have achieved one or more championships in the past four seasons.

Cara admits a break from The Challenge helped her

During her WOTW 2 season, Cara realized she had several moments that drew the ire of fans or castmates. That included her mockery of Jordan and Tori’s engagement scene and not attending an in-house party to celebrate the moment with castmates. She admitted to EW that she had issues separating real life from reality TV.

However, being away from the show has separated her from that and allowed her to connect more with Paulie, tap into creative pursuits, and engage in self-discovery.

“The time off has just been really good for me mentally to separate away from the reality TV, because when you film, you’re in it, you leave, people are talking about it and you’re still in it, you watch it on TV, you’re still in it, and there’s not really an escape,” Cara said.

She also shared she’s not going to “perform,” be “fake,” or let the reality TV “drama” bother her like it did before. In addition, Cara said she just wants to compete and win or lose on her own, minus worrying over the alliances and politicking.

Cara got to practice that in Battle For a New Champion, as she’ll only appear in one elimination with the goal of winning some of the Season 39 cast’s prize pool money for herself.

For many fans, her welcome return, even for just a brief appearance on MTV, seemingly opens the door to seeing more Cara in future seasons and spinoffs of The Challenge.

“I’m ready to come back now. Get me off the bench, put me in, I’m ready to play,” Cara said about finally returning to the competition.

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

Episodes of The Challenge are now streaming on Paramount+. Try it FREE!

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