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Stars Of MTV's The Challenge Who've Made The Most Money

MTV was an early pioneer in reality television, launching the groundbreaking "The Real World" way back in 1992. A few years later, the cable network revolutionized the genre again with "Road Rules," which eventually evolved into its more well-known competition-based format that predated shows like "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race." Initially, MTV's two main reality shows crossed over into "Real World/Road Rules Challenge" – but in 2010, for the 19th season, the show's title was shortened to "The Challenge" and no longer held to the tradition of only having contestants that appeared in previous iterations of "Real World" and-slash-or "Road Rules."

One of the upshots to opening up the field of potential cast members for "The Challenge" is the competition seems to have gotten a lot more intense in recent years. As the various challenges have been amped up to meet the talents of the competitors, so too have the prize money amounts been raised to better reward winners for some of the most physically and psychologically taxing events in reality show history. But this means that especially skilled players, particularly repeat winners, can make some serious bank on the show. Here are the competitors who have raked in the most cash on "The Challenge" so far. 

Rogan O'Connor

One of the other MTV shows that "The Challenge" has pulled multiple contestants from is "Ex on the Beach," and the U.K. version of that sandy dating series is where Rogan O'Connor made his reality show debut. He first entered the "Challenge" universe in Season 31, subtitled "Vendettas," where he failed to make it beyond the first episode. But he's on this list, so clearly that isn't where his "Challenge" career ended.

O'Connor came back for Season 34's "War of the Worlds 2" and won the whole thing as part of Team U.K., splitting the $1 million prize with the other three members – Jordan Wiseley, Chris Tamburello, and Dee Nguyen. He returned to the series one more time, for Season 35's "Total Madness," but his fifth-place finish in that season didn't add any extra dough to his $250,000 tally and that's where it still currently sits. Also a bodybuilder, fitness model, and online coach, O'Connor has since launched his own successful clothing line called Bear Wear (per Coventry Telegraph).

Dee Nguyen

We already mentioned that Dee Nguyen was one of four contestants to split the $1 million final prize in Season 34. But that wasn't her first time on "The Challenge" — that distinction came by way of the first iteration of "War of the Worlds" in Season 33. Originally appearing on "Geordie Shore" — basically the U.K.'s version of "Jersey Shore" – Nguyen made it all the way to Episode 14.

After being part of the winning team in "War of the Worlds 2," Nguyen came back one more time for Season 35's "Total Madness." Though she was again eliminated before making it to the final, Dee managed to pocket $5,000 during that season for winning the challenge Throne Off, giving her a bit more total prize money than Rogan O'Connor at $255,000. But that'll most likely be the last dime she ever sees from the show, as MTV cut ties with her in 2020 following some unfortunate remarks she made regarding the Black Lives Matter movement.

Wes Bergmann

Now onto a "Real World" original. Wes Bergmann first linked up with MTV when he was on the Austin season of the show way back in 2005. His career with "The Challenge" also goes back a long way, with Wes appearing on multiple iterations of the show when it was still known as "Real World/Road Rules Challenge." In his first time out, during Season 12's "Fresh Meat," Wes won $10,000 for coming in third place in the final challenge. 

Bergmann followed up strong with his second appearance, winning Season 13's "The Duel" and taking home $150,000. He was eliminated in his subsequent two appearances, but in Season 21's "Rivals," Bergmann netted $25,000 for being the first runner up in the final challenge. After two more eliminations, Bergmann once again made a strong comeback in Season 24's "Rivals II" where he and Chris Tamburello each took home $62,500 as the winning male team, in addition to the $500 he won in a previous challenge during that season. Bergmann has gone on to compete in a further six seasons of the show, finishing third place in Season 33's "War of the Worlds" and earning another $50,000. All told, Bergmann's total career "Challenge" earnings come to $303,000. 

Kaycee Clark

One of the contestants that originally came from a non-MTV reality show brand is Kaycee Clark, who started out on "Big Brother" and then made her "Challenge" debut in Season 35's "Total Madness." She didn't win anything but finished pretty strongly, narrowly missing the top five. She improved a little in Season 36's "Double Agents," finishing fourth. That trajectory of getting progressively better each time continued through her third appearance – this time, taking it all for Season 37's "Spies, Lies & Allies" which earned her $400,000 on top of $3,000 she had already won from a previous mission.

Clark has thus far returned one more time, playing in Season 38's "Ride or Dies." She, along with teammate (and brother) Kenny Clark, initially exited the competition for undisclosed reasons, not revealing until a later interview with Entertainment Weekly that it was the result of testing positive for Covid-19. But they were allowed to come back later when their replacements – Emmy Russ and Nam Vo – were eliminated. Still, even with that second chance, the Clark siblings were also eliminated just before the final. 

Amber Borzotra

Another "Big Brother" transplant, Amber Borzotra didn't join "The Challenge" until Season 36's "Double Agents." She came out swinging, sharing the season win with Chris Tamburello and netting $455,000 in the process — $450,000 for the final challenge and $5,000 for winning a previous mission. Borzotra returned for the following season, "Spies, Lies & Allies," though she was eliminated before earning any prize money.

For Season 38's "Ride or Dies," Borzotra appeared in her third — and so far, final — consecutive season, though she was again eliminated before securing any cash. Still, $455,000 in total winnings is nothing to be ashamed of and will certainly go a long way in helping Borzotra prepare for the upcoming child she recently announced as being on the way via her Instagram. Whether or not she plans another "Challenge" run is unknown, but it definitely won't be in the next year or so. Maybe "The Challenge" can do a season comprised entirely of competitors who have had children since starting on the show.

Jenny West

Even before she made her "Challenge" debut during Season 34's "War of the Worlds 2," Jenny West already had proven herself a worthy competitor by being part of the winning team on the U.K. series "Survival of the Fittest" in 2018. But it wouldn't be until her second appearance the following season for "Total Madness" that she'd live up to those expectations, winning the game and $500,000 in prize money.

Fans of "The Challenge" have been somewhat confused by West's absence since her win, especially when she hasn't been responsible for or connected to any controversies that might have affected her future with the show. There are various articles that have been written that theorize reasons for her hiatus, such as Stop Being Polite which suggested she might simply be too strong of a competitor. Whatever the reason, neither West nor MTV have said anything definitive on the subject, so it's hard to know for sure. 

Yes Duffy

Yes Duffy, a "Road Rules" original, was one of the six to win Season 3's "Challenge 2000" season where he earned $11,254 from the team bank account. He returned for Seasons 5 and 6 but was eliminated both times without earning any additional money. Season 6 aired in 2003, and it was the last time Duffy appeared on the show for more than 15 years.

Not only was Duffy not done competing, but he wasn't done winning, either. After his long hiatus, he made his triumphant return for the first season of the spin-off series "The Challenge: All-Stars" in 2021, winning the whole thing and adding $500,000 to his previous winnings. He returned once more for "All-Stars 3," but was eliminated in the fifth challenge. Still, given that he was still in a position to win an entire season just a few years ago, there's no reason to count Duffy out just yet. Not that he doesn't have plenty going on besides reality TV, as he also launched his own architect and design firm in 2019.

Camila Nakagawa

"Spring Break Challenge" was a single-season spin-off that aired on MTV in 2010, featuring teams full of college-aged newcomers led by "Real World" and "Road Rules" alums. The only standout of the rookie contestants, at least according to producers, was Camila Nakagawa – she's the only one who was invited returned to compete in subsequent seasons of "The Challenge." In fact, Nakagawa went on to compete in 10 separate seasons of "The Challenge" which, in addition to "Spring Break Challenge," impressively makes her an 11-season veteran of the overall franchise.

After having already won $5,000 during her "Spring Break Challenge" appearance, Nakagawa added another $76,250 to her total earnings for being the overall winner of Season 22's "Battle of the Exes" as well as winning one of the earlier events. During Season 24's "Rivals II," Nakagawa earned $7,500 for finishing third in the final challenge. A few eliminations later, Nakagawa then netted another $27,500 for her second-place finish as well as other challenge wins during Season 29's "Invasion of the Champions." But she still wasn't done yet, as she'd pile another $450,000 onto her total earnings for being one of the winners of Season 30's "Dirty 30." All told, Nakagawa has earned $561,250 so far across her many "Challenge" appearances. 

Cara Maria Sorbello

Another prolific female "Challenge" competitor is Cara Maria Sorbello, who has appeared on 14 seasons of the show so far. Sorbello is part of a small group of contestants who are "Challenge" originals, having not been poached from any other show, and actually made her television debut on Season 19's "Fresh Meat II." Though she began dabbling in acting in the early 2020s and has appeared on MTV's doppelganger dating series "Game of Clones," Sorbello has essentially built an entire career around being a "Challenge" cast member.

Considering she has earned $602,250 so far from her "Challenge" appearances, it's definitely been a profitable career. Sorbello's stats are impressive, indeed, being a champion in three different competitions — Season 27's "Battle of the Bloodlines," Season 31's "Vendettas," and one-off spin-off "Champs vs. Pros" — as well as a finalist in a whopping seven other seasons. Sorbello is also part of one of the romances that sprang from the show, as she's currently in a relationship with fellow competitor Paulie Calafiore, meaning the series has benefitted both her professional and personal life.

Turabi Çamkıran

Given that "The Challenge" is arguably one of the inspirations for "Survivor," it's not surprising that several "Survivor" alums have subsequently made the jump over to "The Challenge." The most successful of those who have made that transition so far is arguably Turabi "Turbo" Çamkıran, who originally appeared on Season 8 of "Survivor Turkey" before joining "The Challenge" for Season 33's "War of the Worlds."

Given that Çamkıran won not only that season of "Survivor" but another as well, he obviously had what it takes to go far in "The Challenge." Sure enough, he won "War of the Worlds" as well, taking home an impressive $750,000 for the honor. He would be disqualified for his second season, "War of the Worlds 2," for issues with fellow contestant Jordan Wiseley, and eliminated during Season 38's "Ride or Dies." But his $750,000 is still one of the biggest single payouts in "The Challenge" history and puts him among the top earners even for only winning one time.

Jordan Wiseley

Jordan Wiseley went from "The Real World" to "The Challenge" when he joined the latter for Season 24's "Rivals II." He instantly proved that he wasn't just some lazy reality show housemate as he first won $500 in an individual challenge and then another $7,500 for finishing in third place that season overall. Jordan was eliminated in his next season, "Free Agents," but put that sophomore slump behind him when was one of the overall winners for Season 26's "Battle of the Exes II" and split the $250,000 prize with Sarah Rice.

After winning $5,000 for charity in "Champs vs. Pros," Wiseley was once again a co-winner for Season 30's "Dirty 30" where his share of the winnings was $450,000. On his very next appearance, in Season 34's "War of the Worlds II," Jordan again was one of the recipients of the winning payday and added $250,000 more to his overall total. He was then eliminated during Season 35's "Total Madness," but he probably isn't feeling too badly about himself as he earned a combined $833,000 in prize money from all his previous wins.

Ashley Mitchell

We now enter the millionaire's club of "The Challenge" competitors, kicking off with Ashley Mitchell. Another "Real World" alum, Mitchell jumped onto the "Challenge" train for Season 28's "Rivals III" where she was eliminated during the Spun Out event. But she got a big head start on her eventual $1,121,250 in total prize winnings when she earned $121,250 during the "Invasion of the Champions" season – $100,000 for winning the final challenge and $21,250 from her team's bank account.

Personal issues led to her voluntarily withdrawing from Season 30's "Dirty 30," but Mitchell more than made up for that when she took home a record-setting $1 million for winning the final challenge in Season 32's "Final Reckoning" alongside Hunter Barfield. In a shocking twist, Mitchell — having performed better individually than Hunter – was given the choice of how much of the $1 million to share with him. She ultimately chose to keep the entire payout for herself, stating, "This guy's belittled me, put me down, slut-shamed me, and also threatened my life and my family's life. I'm keeping the money (per Reality Blurred)." It was a decision that most fans wholeheartedly agreed with.

Johnny Devenanzio

Also known as "Johnny Bananas" – a nickname from college that was inspired by the "banana in a tailpipe" scene from the movie "Beverly Hills Cop" — Johnny Devenanzio is yet another "Real World" cast member who became a millionaire thanks to "The Challenge." Though he was eliminated in his first appearance in Season 13's "The Duel," Devenanzio first started raking in the dough when he earned $10,000 as a runner-up during Season 14's "The Inferno 3." 

In the fourth of his eventual 20 regular-season appearances (plus two spin-off appearances), Devenanzio took home $75,000 for winning the final challenge in Season 16's "The Island." He followed that up by also winning the final challenge in Season 18's "The Ruins," which earned him $31,670 plus another $21,300 from the team bank account that season. Devenanzio won the final challenge yet again in Season 21's "Rivals," adding another $50,000 plus $2,000 from two other events. Four additional wins plus a runner-up finish within the regular seasons, on top of wins and finalist finishes in several spin-offs, has brought Johnny's impressive prize winnings total to $1,184,720. Talk about bananas.

Chris Tamburello

Playing in fewer seasons than Johnny Bananas but earning a little more money, Chris "CT" Tamburello is the highest earner in the history of "The Challenge" so far with a combined $1,365,000 in prize winnings. Tamburello started out on "The Real World" before he became one of the most prolific "Challenge" competitors ever, beginning with earning $11,000 as a runner-up in Season 8's "Inferno."

Following a few more finalist paydays, his first big win came when he netted $62,500 for winning the final challenge of Season 24's "Rivals II" on top of $500 for a previous challenge. He also won the final challenge in Season 29's "Invasion of the Champions," adding $100,000 to the $12,500 he earned from the team bank account. So more smaller paydays followed before Tamburello once again won a final challenge in Season 34's "War of the Worlds 2" to the tune of $250,000. And that wasn't even his biggest cash prize at that point, as he'd soon win a whopping $450,000 for winning the final mission of Season 36's "Double Agents," immediately following that up with another $400,000 for winning the final mission of Season 37's "Spies, Lies & Allies."