The Challenge: Total Madness eliminated player on that shocking Rogan/Jay showdown
Warning: this article contains spoilers for Wednesday's episode of The Challenge: Total Madness, "Love Will Tear Us Apart."
For a whole week, The Challenge fans have been left wondering what happened during the elimination between Jay Starrett and Rogan O'Connor.
In the last episode, Survivor alum Jay was left on the ground, unable to get up after one round of his Purgatory elimination challenge Fire Ball against Ex on the Beach U.K. alum Rogan. After Jay had been tackled, Rogan pushed his head down further while getting up — and Jay wasn't moving. It looked bad, to say the least. EW previously got Jay to break down exactly what happened to lead up to that moment, but fans had to wait until this week's episode to find out what that means for the elimination results.
Thankfully, episode 6 ("Love Will Tear Us Apart") picked up immediately and showed that Jay was finally able to get up and go for two more rounds on offense, but wasn't able to score against Rogan. When Rogan got set for his three rounds of offense, Jay called a producer over to hear the rules one more time. But the producer became concerned when Jay kept repeating himself and couldn't remember that he had already gone three rounds.
The producer got a medic to check Jay out, but he wasn't approved to continue due to a possible head injury. He was medically disqualified and sent home, effectively ending his now-iconic rookie season. Rogan was given a red skull despite not scoring either.
EW spoke to Jay about that unfortunate ending, what he learned from his incredible-but-short first season on The Challenge, whether or not he's down to return in the future, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: That elimination was brutal.
JAY STARRETT: No, I'm great. I'm happy with it! It's a good story. The producers wouldn't let me continue. We didn't finish the elimination so who knows what could have happened? I didn't get eliminated. I got medically declined to continue.
That's true! What was going through your mind when all this was going down?
Oh man, the next thing I know I'm talking to the producers in the back and I'm like, "Yeah, I'm good to go. I'm good to go!" And they're like, "Jay, you already did three rounds." I'm like, "No, I only did one." [Laughs] And that's all I really remember. He didn't beat me. I kept going. I wasn't allowed to continue, so I didn’t lose. It wasn't an elimination. It was a disqualification. They told me, "Jay, you're no longer allowed to continue." When the medics tell you that, "You talked to us about this already three times," you probably call it. They just told me, "No more." So I had to listen, considering it's their show and not mine. If it were mine, [laughs] I'd probably be dead.
What did you learn from how the elimination played out?
I've learned this lesson before on Survivor: Just focus on what you're supposed to do. Don't get sidetracked by other bulls---. Yes, the ball is on fire. Just keep going. Because I forgot to cover my numbers on Survivor. And then when Jeff [Probst] called me out on it, I had to turn around and I started fumbling, [deciding] whether or not I was going to go cover them or go to the puzzle, and those 10 seconds cost me a million dollars. And then this time, another 10 seconds cost me a million dollars damn it! I wish I just would have focused a little more.
You had one of the most impressive rookie seasons yet despite it getting cut short, but do you have any regrets about how you played the game?
I have no regrets at all. Going into this house, I was already the target. I'm the new prospect, I'm the layup. Whatever all these dudes want to say, who cares? I did what I had to do and I'm super happy with my performance. And I'm even more happy that I didn't lose that elimination. I got disqualified, medically declined to continue, so it's as if I didn't even lose. It's great, I'm still winning.
Are you interested in coming back for future seasons?
Honestly, I think my time on reality television has just started [laughs], so let's f---ing go!
What are you going to do to prepare for future seasons?
I'm already preparing, so MTV, give me a call because I'm ready. I'm training three times as hard as I was before in the first season. Now it's a reality for me. Before I was training to hopefully get on and now that I've been on, I might have a chance to go back for real. So it's time to get serious and focus and get my drive back.
What was your relationship like with Johnny "Bananas" this season in the bunker, since he’s dating your ex Morgan Willett after they met on War of the Worlds? Did you guys have any conversations at all during the season about that?
That basically was my interaction. If a girl cheats on you in real life, you're not going to go and fight the dude. I think that's stupid and irrelevant. Basically, your fight is between you and the girl — that's the argument to have because she's the one that cheated. It's not his fault — he got a pretty chick, good for him. So when I saw him and I met him in the house I was just like, "Yo man, I just want to let you know I'm not here trying to ride your coattails, I'm not trying to be your next Devin [Walker], I don't need you for a f---ing storyline. I can do whatever the hell you just did to me to Rogan, no big deal. Let's move on with our day. I'm not going to mess with you, you don't mess with me, and if you want to start some s---, I'm down." And he did, he put like dirty ass shoes in my bed one time and I popped off on him in front of Swaggy. I was just like, "Yo dude, this isn't necessary. I'm down to battle anybody, I'm not scared of nobody." So if he wants to come at me next season, whatever. I'll get Rogan No. 2. Let's do it.
The Challenge: Total Madness airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.