The Challenge: USA 2 featured former Big Brother winner Josh Martinez on the verge of reaching his first-ever final in the competition series.
However, Episode 12 brought some difficult decisions as only a select number of competitors remained in the game, forcing friends and allies to cast votes against each other.
Josh ultimately betrayed another good friend, Johnny Bananas, drawing backlash for his decision due to having given his word he wouldn’t vote him in.
However, karma bit Josh for his betrayal, and he ended up suffering an elimination fate thanks to The Hopper in the season’s penultimate episode.
After the episode aired, Josh appeared in several elimination exit interviews to talk about his USA 2 season and the moves he made in the game.
That included giving an update on where things stand with him and Bananas, whom he said he had built a close relationship with over the years.
Josh said Bananas betrayal was his ‘biggest regret’
In USA 2, Episode 12, Josh swore to Bananas on his dead grandfather in heaven that he wouldn’t vote for him to go to elimination, but then did so anyway.
Josh had limited options regarding who he could vote for, as his good friend Faysal “Fessy” Shafaat was already nominated for the elimination.
Since Chris Underwood won the daily challenge, he was safe from elimination. Josh’s only other choices were Cory Wharton or to vote for himself, which even Bananas told him wouldn’t be a wise strategy.
In a surprising moment, Josh put Bananas’ ball into The Hopper during the cast’s secret vote rather than Cory or himself. He apologized to Bananas after doing so in another teary-eyed moment with castmate Tori Deal comforting him.
At The Arena, Josh’s name was also among those put up for elimination in The Hopper, and the random draw sent him into a Hall Brawl variant against his friend, which he lost.
Speaking to US Weekly after the episode aired, Josh called his betrayal of Bananas his “biggest regret” but said he wasn’t sure what he would’ve done differently.
He said going against his word during USA 2 and watching that all back in the episode wasn’t easy for him, but he can “only learn from it” and “never do it again.”
“We haven’t really talked about it,” Josh told US Weekly, adding, “We had a premiere party here in Miami. I’m the type of person where I don’t like to bring like the vibe down or the energy, so I didn’t even want to talk about it. He’s the same person, and he brushes everything off.”
“I know in my heart when we do go back into that game, I’m gonna have to deal with those repercussions,” he said.
He also said it’s a friendship he cares about, cherishes, and wants to continue.
Josh on Bananas’ relationship: ‘We’re in a good place now’
In another interview that Josh did, he called crossing Bananas one of the biggest regrets of his entire Challenge career. However, he feels things are better between them months after that betrayal happened during the show’s filming.
He explained that people haven’t really seen how much he and Bananas have bonded over the seasons and years because it’s boring and “doesn’t make for good TV.”
“I wish I would’ve just owned it and said, ‘Listen, Johnny, this is what I have to do. I’m sorry,’ instead of lying and swearing on my family,” he said during the YouTube interview.
It was the second friend that Josh crossed, as earlier in the season, he put a vote on Wes Bergmann and didn’t admit it to him until they were at The Arena. During the episode, he said he had to do it because he considered Wes a significant threat to him in a final.
After he was eliminated, Wes announced his retirement from The Challenge. Based on his post-filming interview comments, he’s OK with Josh, but they’re not besties.
During his USA 2 elimination interviews, Josh also mentioned that swearing on a family member and crossing cast members like Wes and Bananas didn’t have Challenge fans considering him a “great player” for doing so. Instead, he said some fans might consider him a “piece of s**t.”
However, Josh said in Big Brother, there’s a different perspective about a player who will “swear on the bible” or someone else to make a move, as fans think it’s good gameplay there.
He also said he put himself first this season to do what he had to do for himself in the game but also explained he cares about his friendships inside and outside of The Challenge. He realizes that he’ll likely be castmates with Bananas on the show again and will probably have to deal with the aftermath of his betrayal.
“We’re in a good place now, but I know once we step back in that game, I’m just gonna have to take it and accept it and stand by my moves,” he said.
The Challenge: USA 2 airs Thursdays at 10/9c on CBS. The Challenge: Battle for a New Champion premieres Wednesday, October 25 at 8/7c on MTV.