Johnny Bananas told fans not to believe those online rumors suggesting why he’s not on The Challenge 39.
The latest season, Battle For a New Champion, features a main cast of mostly newer competitors who have yet to win the show.
Along the way, 10 of the show’s champions have appeared for single-episode elimination events against main cast members.
Those returning stars include some of the show’s all-time greats, including Jordan Wiseley, Cara Maria Sorbello, Laurel Stucky, Darrell Taylor, and Chris “CT” Tamburello.
Surprisingly, Bananas was not among those former champions who made an appearance while the show was filmed, despite him being mentioned in several episodes.
He recently revealed he wasn’t even contacted to appear on Season 39, even though online rumors suggested he turned it down.
Bananas refutes rumors he refused to do Season 39
According to Bananas, he wasn’t one of the individuals contacted to return to The Arena for MTV’s The Challenge: Battle For a New Champion. The seven-time winner last appeared on MTV’s Season 38, Ride or Dies, and CBS’ The Challenge: USA 2, before venturing off to film other reality shows.
“No, I was never even contacted for that,” he told EW’s Sydney Bucksbaum, adding, “You can’t believe the rumor mills, man. There’s a lot of false information and fake news that floats around out there. No, not me. I wasn’t even available. I was filming other stuff.”
That other stuff has included E!’s premiere season of House of Villains, which concluded several weeks ago, and The Traitors 2, which recently premiered on Peacock. He appears on the latter with a few OG MTV castmates- Trishelle Canatella and CT, among other reality stars.
Rumors suggested Bananas turned down Season 39
During the show’s filming, online chatter arrived claiming Bananas didn’t want to be used in a storyline on Season 39 involving his Ride or Dies showmance, Moriah Jadea.
During the newest season, Moriah cozied up to The Challenge: UK’s James Lock, beginning a new showmance amid talk from her castmates that she’d still been “hanging out” regularly with Bananas. The speculation was that this possibly upsetting situation caused him to turn down the call for an appearance.
Even with Bananas on-screen, it’s still been made a recurring story in the Season 39 episodes, with Moriah and others bringing it up. Some of the others who brought it up included several of the show’s featured champions, including Tori Deal and Darrell, who made remarks about it at The Arena.
In Episode 13, former champion Brad Fiorenza appeared, and while he didn’t mention Bananas, there was online speculation Brad was called in as a replacement for the seven-time champ.
However, Bananas’ schedule seemingly prevented him from participating even if they had called him. He also mentioned that since he’s been busy with “other projects,” he hasn’t watched any of MTV’s current season. However, he has seen a lot of mentions about himself on social media.
“Not going to lie, it feels good to be talked about as much as I am. As much as things change, some things will always stay the same!” he told EW.
When asked about his current relationship status with Moriah, Bananas seemed to throw some shade her way.
“Yeah, I don’t know who that is,” he said seriously before laughing.
“Who?” Bananas asked again.
Will Bananas return for The Challenge Season 40?
Bananas said he may have found himself a new place to work when it comes to reality TV. He explained that he’s loved how the newer shows he’s appeared on, such as Villains or Traitors 2, have shown his highlights during filming, which he feels MTV hasn’t captured as much anymore.
Even though Bananas said he’s enjoyed working with NBC/Universal a lot more than MTV recently, he still teased his return to the network’s competition series.
“You know how The Challenges go, there’s always another one of those on the horizon. There’s a good possibility that I’ll be checking back in there at some point. Don’t worry, I ain’t going anywhere anytime soon. I’ll be around for a while,” he said.
While the various Season 40 cast rumors have already started regarding potential competitors for MTV’s next season, Bananas is still considered “up in the air” in terms of his commitment.
The Challenge: Battle For a New Champion airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on MTV.