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Who is the richest from The Challenge cast and how did they get their money?

the challenge season 32 includes winners johnny bananas cara maria sorbello and ashley mitchell
The Challenge Season 32 cast features multiple-time winners Johnny Bananas, Cara Maria Sorbello, and Ashley Mitchell. Pic credit: Paramount+

With The Challenge airing on MTV since 1998, there have been many cast members and seasons for the reality competition series.

Over the years, the prize money has increased substantially too, possibly making some competitors quite rich. In a few of the seasons, one cast member was able to leave with the lion’s share of a million-dollar prize purse.

Only a few cast members have done that so far, but it begs the question, who is the richest person from The Challenge cast?

Who is the richest Challenge star?

With MTV’s current Spies, Lies & Allies season, only three cast members are former champions: Amber Borzotra, Ashley Mitchell, and Chris “CT” Tamburello.

Amber won in her first season, Double Agents, alongside CT, who captured his fourth win on The Challenge. With the victory, the teammates split $900,000 before taxes.

While Amber’s winnings are about $450,000 pre-tax, CT’s overall winnings are higher due to his other wins and prize money he banked. He’s been on 18 seasons before Spies, Lies & Allies. Throughout that time, CT won four seasons and racked up $965,000 in prize money before taxes.

Ashley Mitchell is a two-time winner and infamously opted to take all of the prize money on Final Reckoning for herself, despite teaming with Hunter Barfield to win the final. That earned her the popular nickname “Millionaire” Mitchell.

She also won on the Invasion of the Champions season and has banked over $1 million in prize money during her time on the show.

However, it seems one legendary competitor may top Ashley and CT when it comes to being richest: Johnny Bananas.

The above stats show the top cast members in terms of overall prize money before Spies, Lies & Allies. However, that doesn’t factor in their other endorsements, investments, and ventures outside The Challenge. So, it would seem Bananas is the richest of the three based on his other jobs.

How Bananas stacked Challenge prize money

Being a one-time champion on The Challenge takes work. Winning twice, three times, or even four is also a feat. How about winning seven seasons?

That’s what Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio has achieved in his career. After debuting on MTV’s The Real World: Key West, he appeared on The Challenge en route to 20 seasons.

His first win in a final arrived on The Challenge Season 16, aka The Island, where he teamed with Derrick Kosinski, Kenny Santucci, and Evelyn Smith. That winning team split a final prize of $300,000.

Bananas would achieve a second victory in The Ruins season, again with a prize of $300,000, but this time split amongst five winners.

Bananas partnered up with his rival and Real World castmate Tyler Duckworth on The Challenge: Rivals, where they split $100,000 for their first-place finish.

Victory No. 4 was Battle of the Exes alongside his ex Camila Nakagawa. As the sole winners, they split $300,000, making it the most money Bananas had won in a season. He’d win again on Season 25, aka Free Agents, this time banking $125,000 for first-place. 

Bananas’ sixth win on The Challenge was one of his most infamous. That was the classic Rivals III season final where he and teammate Sarah Rice finished in first place.

Due to performing slightly better in the points or time situation, Bananas got to decide if he would split the prize money with Sarah or keep it all. He shockingly kept all the money, which totaled $275,000 before taxes.

His most recent appearance on MTV’s series was with The Challenge: Total Madness. Bananas finished in first place for the men ahead of castmates Fessy Shafaat, Kyle Christie, and Cory Wharton to claim $500,000.

How else does Johnny Bananas get his money?

Based on his Challenge Wiki page, Johnny Bananas has racked up $1,184,720 in total prize money over his 20 seasons of The Challenge. That’s before taxes, and it’s unknown if he saved all that money, invested, or spent a lot of it.

However, he’s been building a steady post-Challenge career. Not only does he have a website where he sells various Bananas merchandise, but he’s also become a media personality and host.

Among his gigs are hosting NBC shows 1st Look and Celebrity Sleepover. In addition, he just recently launched the new Death, Taxes and Bananas podcast, part of The Ringer’s Reality TV shows on Spotify. His salaries and earnings from these are unknown, but not many other Challenge stars have these opportunities.

One has to believe he has other endorsements and investments that he’s put his money in. If Bananas has invested in real estate, stocks, and cryptocurrency at specific points, he may be even richer.

With that in mind, the business-savvy Wes Bergmann could be doing better than him and just not disclosing it. The same may be true of Tacha Akide. The Spies, Lies & Allies rookie has a massive Instagram following, and with sponsored ads alongside her own ventures, she could be doing quite well.

Right now, it’s pure speculation, but it seems Johnny Bananas is the richest of all Challenge cast members. However, with the way the prize money keeps increasing and other stars are branching out, that could easily change!

The Challenge: Spies, Lies & Allies airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on MTV.

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