MTV unveiled its 38th season of The Challenge, Ride or Dies, featuring a stellar cast of veteran contenders and rookie hopefuls.
Among the vets are several former champions, including Laurel Stucky, Turabi “Turbo” Camkiran, Amber Borzotra, and Kaycee Clark.
Things got off to an interesting start in the premiere episode, with early drama from Turbo and, a bit later, what seemed like a surprisingly early exit by Kaycee.
That may have fans scratching their heads since Kaycee was barely featured in the first episode’s footage but appeared in several promotional videos leading up to Season 38.
So why did Kaycee leave The Challenge: Ride or Dies season early? Here’s what is known about the Spies, Lies & Allies champion’s early exit.
Keep in mind this report will contain some spoilers for the Ride or Dies season, including what happened in Episode 1, along with details about some of the cast and filming situations.
Kaycee Clark leaves The Challenge Season 38 in first episode
The first episode of Ride or Dies featured an introduction of the initial cast, including teammates like Kailah Casillas with husband Sam Bird, Amber with boyfriend Chauncey Borzotra, Devin Walker with friend Tori Deal, and Laurel with friend Jakk Maddox.
Kaycee was the only returning champion from Season 37. After winning Spies, Lies & Allies with Chris “CT” Tamburello, she brought her brother Kenny as her teammate for Ride or Dies.
Early footage in the episode featured Kaycee riding onboard a luxurious boat with castmates and enjoying the good vibes and beautiful scene. Later at The Challenge house, she spoke with Tori outdoors about being there with her brother. Kenny was shown chatting with Fessy outside.
She was featured in a solo confessional interview gushing about her relationship with girlfriend Nany Gonzalez. Kaycee was also in a dual confessional interview with her brother.
However, when the cast arrived on site for their first daily challenge, Kaycee and Kenny were missing from the group. Host TJ Lavin arrived at the scene next. After welcoming everyone to the new season, TJ made a surprising announcement.
“Alright, well, stating the obvious, we live in crazy times right now, and already,” TJ said, standing before the cast, before his over-the-footage narration revealed, “Kaycee and Kenny had to leave the game.”
“You know what? I’m feeling friendly. So how bout I bring in two teams to replace them?” TJ asked the cast.
The two teams that arrived were Nam Vo with his partner Emmy Russ and the rookie duo of Olivia Kaiser and Horacio Gutierrez. They arrived with cheers and applause as castmates welcomed them. However, the episode didn’t include any further explanation about Kaycee or Kenny.
Interestingly, Nam Vo was one of the surprise exits early in Season 37, along with rookie Lauren Coogan, who got edited out of the launch special and most of the premiere episode’s footage.
Why did Kaycee have to leave The Challenge: Ride or Dies?
Now for some extra spoiler details about the Season 38 cast and filming situation. The cast viewers saw in the Ride or Dies premiere episode wasn’t the entire cast, as many know by now.
Other individuals are joining the game as TJ’s “Super Secret Six,” aka Heavy Hitters teams. The first of these teams TJ revealed was seven-time champion Johnny Bananas and his teammate Nany, who came in after Episode 1’s elimination event.
Another team is Aneesa Ferreira with Jordan Wiseley. However, Aneesa originally started the season with her friend James Simon, who was never officially revealed in any cast promotional details for Season 38.
Based on details from a Vevmo spoilers forum thread, the cast had two separate quarantine periods. The Vevmo forum thread revealed most of the cast began filming after the first quarantine, but Aneesa, James, Kaycee, and Kenny remained in quarantine longer.
The Vevmo forum mentions that James had a “DQ” and was “sent home by production” after a second quarantine but doesn’t say anything else about the reason for his exit or about what happened with Kaycee and her brother.
Kaycee and Kenny had to leave The Challenge: Ride or Dies only briefly. In an EW exclusive interview, Kaycee opened up about what initially happened.
“Well, what happened is the world likes to work in mysterious ways. This COVID thing, I don’t mind saying it because this is probably the second time I’ve had it. The world has a sense of humor and was like, ‘Nope, Kaycee, we’re going to pull you right back out,'” she told EW.
“Apparently me and my brother had it. It was traveling, going to Argentina [to film this season], we ended up getting COVID and getting sick. The crazy thing is I didn’t feel any of the symptoms. I mean, I had a light cold, but everyone had a light cold. But my brother and I had COVID, so we had to exit the game,” Kaycee said.
The Challenge 38 preview trailers already revealed that Kaycee, Kenny, and Aneesa will appear in other parts of the season. Fans will likely get to see how they’re introduced and reintroduced into Ride or Dies and whether or not James shows up in any footage or gets edited out.
However, it’s also possible that production will keep things a mystery, as they did with several exits during the Spies, Lies & Allies season.
The Challenge: Ride or Dies airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on MTV.