Winners were crowned during Wednesday’s finale of “The Challenge: Rivals 3” but not everyone walked away with prize money.
After host T.J. Lavin revealed to the final three pairs that the best-performing player from each team would decide to either share their team’s winnings with their partner or keep it for themselves, Season 28 first-place winner Johnny “Bananas” chose the latter in episode 14.
In “Split Decision,” after crossing the finish line first following a series of challenges, Sarah tells the cameras she feels her friendship with her partner Johnny is fixed and she can trust him again. Johnny, on the other hand, says he’s torn about whether or not to keep the money if his team ends up taking first-place, recalling the time she sent him packing on “Exes 2.”
When the three teams go to meet T.J. to learn their fate the host reveals Cheyenne and Devin have placed third after adding up all the timed events. The first and second-place teams were only separated by four minutes, he reveals, before announcing Johnny and Sarah as the big winners, making Jenna and Vince second.
“Not only does being in first place feel good but the whole time up he’s supporting me, I’m supporting him. I’ve never had a partner that reassured me so much. That had my back in the game so much. We did this together,” Sarah tells the cameras.
After Devin and Vince decide to split their respective $25K and $50K pots evenly with their partners, Johnny drops a bombshell on everyone — telling Sarah he has decided to keep the $275,000, the largest prize ever gifted on the “Challenge,” for himself.
Read Johnny’s full explanation below:
It’s very rare in life that you have certain moments that can literally change the course of your life. I’ve dedicated nine years of my life and 13 challenges. I don’t know how many I’ve got left in me of these. Sarah was an amazing partner. I could not have done it without her. As far as our rivalry is concerned, I consider that completely dead. There is no spite there’s no malice towards her. But I need to look after myself and invest in my future so I’m going to go ahead take the money and run T.J.
Sarah responds by crumbling to the ground and covering her face. Johnny apologizes to Sarah, but she says she feels like he played her the entire game.
“I worked so hard,” she says through tears. “I thought we were friends.”
When Johnny tells Sarah she might have done the same thing if the roles had been reversed she says she wouldn’t in a “million years.” “I wouldn’t have gotten to where we are right now without you,” she reasons.
Like Sarah, the fellow “Rivals 3” finalists are shocked. Cheyenne says Johnny needed Sarah and not splitting the money with her is “ruthless.” Devin says he hopes people will see Johnny’s true colors and calls him a “backstabbing liar.” Despite choosing to split his profits with his partner, Vince says his cousin Johnny had “every right” to take all the money.
As Sarah continues to sob on the ground she reveals her plan for her winnings was to take off work while she finished grad school. “I just feel like such a fool,” Sarah says as Johnny stands beside her. “You make me sick.” The season ends with a closeup shot of Sarah in tears.
Would you have split the money or taken it all? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!