‘The Challenge’: The Contestant Who Made the Most Money Is Not Who You Think It Is

MTV has crowned quite a few champions over the past 35 seasons of The Challenge, but not all of the victories have paid out equally. Each year, the grand prize for winning the hit reality competition has increased, and most of the top earners in the show’s history won within the last 5 seasons. While fans might suspect the show’s repeat champions have earned the most, the top earner in the history of The Challenge is not who you think it is.

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‘The Challenge’ stars Johnny ‘Bananas’ Devenanzio and Cara Maria Sorbello | Mike Coppola/Getty Images

How many people have won multiple seasons of ‘The Challenge’?

There are actually a bunch of contestants who have won more than one season of The Challenge, but only a few have taken home the grand prize more than twice. In fact, there are only 9 contestants who have at least three wins under their belts.

Those who have won more than two seasons of The Challenge include CT, Jordan Wiseley, Johnny Bananas, Jamie Murray, Darrell Taylor, Landon Lueck, Derrick Kosinski, Evelyn Smith, and Kenny Santucci.

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But even among this elite group, nobody has won more victories than Johnny Bananas. Over the years, Johnny has taken the crown six times and appeared in 20 competitions. This includes victories in The Island, Free Agents, The Ruins, Rivals, Rivals III, and Battle of the Exes.

While one might think that the highest earners are probably in one of these groups, only two of the repeat winners are in the top five of the show’s top earners. Everyone else has won the show within the past five seasons — and for good reason.

There is a big reason why the top earners are not who fans think

The first season of The Challenge premiered way back in 1998. Since then, the series has undergone a slew of changes, including switching up the format, hosts, competitors, and the value of the prize.

Season 30 of The Challenge was the first year that the grand prize hit one million dollars, which explains why the top earners are more recent challengers. As fans will recall, Jordan Wiseley and Camila Nakagawa won this season, dubbed Dirty 30

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One of the few exceptions to the list of top earners is Johnny Bananas. After winning the series six times, Johnny currently ranks fourth in the show’s top earners of all time. According to Medium, Johnny has won a whopping $684,720 from the series.

Johnny’s biggest payday was back in season 28 when he took all of the money and did not share it with his partner. In total, Johnny took home $275,000 that season alone. He has also earned smaller shares of money taking second place in previous runs.

While Johnny’s wins are certainly impressive, he is not even close to the show’s top earner of all time.

Who has made the most money on ‘The Challenge’?

Coming in fifth in the list of The Challenge’s top earners of all time is Cara Maria Sorbello, who has made a little over $600,000 from the show. Cara’s most recent victory was in season 31 when she took home $378,750.

After Johnny, the third highest-earner on The Challenge’s payroll is Turabi “Turbo” Camkiran. Turabi won season 33, titled War of the Worlds 1, and made a whopping $750,000. This was Turabi’s first and only win.

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In second place is Jordan Wisely. His most lucrative win was back in season 30 when he earned $450,000. He also made $250,000 in season 34, plus another $125,000 in season 26. In total, MTV has paid Jordan over $833,000 for his efforts.

The highest-earning contestant to ever appear on The Challenge is Ashley Mitchell. Ashley won the grand prize in season 32, which was a cool $1 million — although she ‘stole’ half of her total from Hunter Barfield. She also won season 29’s pot of $121,250, bringing her total earnings to $1.1 million.

The Challenge airs new episodes of Total Madness Wednesdays on MTV.