The Challenge’s Paulie Calafiore defends Lolo Jones and Fessy Shafaat following Double Agents backlash

paulie calafiore during the challenge final reckoning
Paulie Calafiore made comments in defense of Double Agents cast members Lolo Jones and Fessy Shafaat. Pic credit: MTV

Paulie Calafiore hasn’t been on MTV’s The Challenge for a few seasons now but still loves to speak about the show, including how some castmates are.

During a recent interview, he touched on topics ranging from who he’d like to face in elimination to discussing cast members’ treatment of some of the competitors.

That included him bringing up Challenge stars Fessy Shafaat and Lolo Jones after their respective situations during the Double Agents season which caused plenty of criticism to come toward them.

Paulie names Challengers he wants to face in elimination

While appearing on the #ALISTER podcast interview, former Big Brother and Ex on the Beach star Paulie Calafiore spoke about what he’s been up to and gave plenty of thoughts about The Challenge.

When asked which competitor he’d want to face in an elimination most, Paulie said the best matchup for him would be former War of the Worlds winner, Turbo Turabi.

“We both love each other. We have a lot of respect for each other. We’ve wrestled around a lot in the house. He’s better than me, and I admit he’s a better wrestler. He’s better at MMA than me, and he’s got strategy,” Paulie said, praising the former Challenge winner.

Paulie added that he might have an advantage against Turbo in speed and agility, while Turbo may have the advantage from a wrestling standpoint.

Turbo only appeared on War of the Worlds and its sequel, War of the Worlds 2. However, due to a heated incident where Turbo went off on castmate Jordan Wiseley and the Challenge crew, he hasn’t been back since then.

Paulie also gave high praise to fellow Big Brother star, Fessy Shafaat, saying he’d like to go against him as well, adding “he doesn’t have anybody that can challenge him.”

Along with that, Paulie brought up Fessy’s performance in the Double Agents final, where he wasn’t quite up to doing the eating portion of things. Many fans wanted Fessy to show some effort since his partner was, and then maybe carry her through other parts of the final. That lack of effort came after his partner Kaycee Clark had just seriously hurt her leg, pretty much dismissing their chances at winning.

“Nobody wants to eat. You only eat because in your mind you’re like, ‘I’ve got a chance to win it,’” Paulie said.

“In his defense, I think 97 percent of Challengers would have not eaten if they knew that their partner wasn’t going to be able to do that. Any Challenger that says they would, they’re a liar. Anybody that says, ‘Oh, I would’ve eaten, and I would’ve carried Kaycee,’ you’re full of s**t,” Paulie added.

He explained that The Challenge production would be putting themselves at risk if they allowed another cast member to carry someone who is already seriously injured. He and the #ALISTER host went on to discuss how other Challengers may have carried someone on screen, but it was just “30 yards” for entertainment’s sake.

In addition to naming Turbo and Fessy, Paulie went on to bring up some of the OGs he’d like to go at it against in a physical elimination, including CT Tamburello, Darrell Taylor, and Derrick Kosinski.

Paulie says cast members ganged up on Lolo Jones

Another cast member from The Challenge: Double Agents who got some backlash from castmates and fans was rookie Lolo Jones. While she’d previously been on a spinoff season, some felt she wasn’t suited for the style of competition that the regular season brought.

By Episode 12, she announced her decision to leave the show due to the inability to compete how she wanted and get a chance at her Gold Skull. Lolo also explained she wanted to focus on training for the Olympics. She and Paulie have each been preparing for Bobsledding at the Winter Olympics.

Following the airing of her Challenge departure, Lolo opened up on social media, explaining she was forced to quit and even suggested that one of the daily challenges was “rigged,” helping a certain team win. That brought backlash from castmates and fans, criticizing her attitude or calling her out for making things up.

“These Challengers, they kind of annoy me a little bit with how they have this mob mentality. This gang mentality when it comes to social media and online. They just ban together, and they do it- I mean, you saw it happen with Lolo. You know, they all ganged up on her on Twitter,” Paulie brought up during the interview. 

“And it’s like, ‘You weren’t defending the honor of The Challenge. You were pouncing on an Olympic athlete for clout. All of you,” he added.

Lolo was amongst several cast members who didn’t appear for The Challenge: Double Agents reunion, but there was a bit of mention about her.

However, it was more so about an incident where Lolo had felt Aneesa Ferreira played too rough and grabbed her around the neck during a daily challenge. Aneesa discussed the incident at the reunion and on MTV’s Official Challenge Podcast, seeming to put that to rest.

It would be a major surprise to see Lolo back on The Challenge, based on the way she called out the show following her departure. However, it also appears the nature of competing on the reality TV series may not be suited to her competitive abilities.

The Challenge Season 37 premiere date is TBA for 2021 on MTV.

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