‘The Challenge’: Did MTV Cover Up Johnny Devenanzio Using a Performance Enhancer During ‘Rivals III’?

A new season of MTV’s The Challenge is slated to hit screens by March 2020. And fans can’t wait to see some veteran players return and attempt to win big money on the show. While we expect to see some big winners of the past, like Wes Bergmann, Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio, and Ashley Mitchell, all come back on the show, it’s Devenanzio who typically stirs the pot the most. And we’ll never forget his controversial win on Rivals III.

Devenanzio notoriously took the prize money from his teammate, Sarah Rice, at the end of the Rivals III season. And since then, many questions arose, especially when it came to Devenanzio’s performance. One Challenge castmember who’s ultra-close with Rice claims Devenanzio used a performance-enhancing drug to help him win that season. Here’s what happened.

Johnny Devenanzio took the prize money from teammate Sarah Rice in ‘Rivals III’

Johnny 'Bananas' Devenanzio attends the 2019 MTV Movie and TV Awards
Johnny ‘Bananas’ Devenanzio attends the 2019 MTV Movie and TV Awards | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for MTV

Rice and Devenanzio had a rocky past prior to Rivals III in 2016. While the two were friendly for years, Rice made a move in a season before Rivals III that resulted in Devenanzio being sent into an elimination. This choice soured their relationship, which ultimately caused them to get paired up for Rivals III.

The two did well as teammates, though. And they seemed to patch up the friendship they once had. Due to their physical and mental strengths, they made it all the way to the finale — but there was a twist. During the final, each individual within the pairs would accrue points. And the individual from the winning team with the most points would determine if they keep all the prize money for themselves or share it with their teammate.

Devenanzio and Rice won, but Devenanzio won more individual points, putting Rice’s fate in his hands. Due to past conflicts, he ultimately decided to take all the money for himself, leaving Rice devastated.

Another ‘Challenge’ contestant claimed Devenanzio used performance-enhancing drugs

Devenanzio is notoriously good at both the social and physical aspects of The Challenge. But previous Challenge competitor and Rice’s friend, Susie Meister, attempted to expose a cheating scandal that allegedly occurred during Rivals III.

Meister wrote on The Brain Candy Podcast that Devenanzio was caught with Adderall to help him through the portion of the final that required staying awake all night. “Everything for me changed when I found out that Johnny was caught with Adderall at the final. A drug for which he did not have a prescription,” Meister wrote on the blog for the podcast.

“After his win was announced, production confronted him and he admitted that it was his. He was fined $5,000. It was edited out and MTV has denied it,” she continued. “All the cast members at the final witnessed the confrontation, as did TJ, and it was filmed on camera in front of the production crew. … The two points John got by staying awake longer than Sarah gave him the win. He cheated his way to a win, got fined, and Sarah still got nothing.”

Fans have differing opinions

Devenanzio gets plenty of hate from Challenge fans. But he also has plenty of supporters who think he’s just playing the game. And others think that if there was no twist at the end of Rivals III, Rice would’ve also taken Adderall to help with her game.

“But that’s so the challenge though,” a Reddit user said about the situation. “Win at all cost, cheat as much as possible without getting caught. It’s about backstabbing, politicking and doing anything for the money. It’s literally the shows brand.”

“I’m not gonna condone cheating but I think it’s hilarious that Susie and Sarah made such a big deal about this when I’m sure they’ve known in the past about players using performance enhancements,” another Reddit user commented. “I fully believe that had there been no twist Sarah absolutely would have taken the Adderall alongside him.”

On the contrary, another noted, “Even if your emotions make you feel that Sarah would have cheated, the fact is she didn’t, and John did, so she has a right to talk about it.”

It seems Devenanzio just got a slap on the wrist for the scandal, so we’re not expecting any long-term impact. We’ll have to see what else he gets up to in future seasons!

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