The Challenge: Total Madness player reveals what happened after his elimination injury
Warning: This article contains spoilers from The Challenge: Total Madness episode 5, "Break Up With Your BF, I'm Bored."
This season's first headbanger really lived up to its name on The Challenge: Total Madness.
After threatening to go against each other all season long, Jay Starrett and Rogan O'Connor finally went head-to-head in elimination in this week's episode. But in the first round of Fireball, Rogan threw Jay down on the ground so hard that he didn't get back up.
The episode ended on a cliffhanger, and it was unclear how badly Jay was hurt or what this will mean for the elimination. So EW got Jay — still the only male contestant eligible to run the final so far due to his two red skulls — to break down what happened in Purgatory ahead of next week's episode, which will reveal who gets the red skull and stays in the game.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So… what happened?
JAY STARRETT: I just remember putting on the fire suit, getting everything ready, and then I saw the fireball and I'm like, "Holy sh—, I have to hold a fireball now. And this is like tackle football, basically." If this was a regular ball I wouldn't have a problem, but considering the ball was on fire, I was focused on the fireball and not at the problem at hand. My problem is whenever I don't focus, I can't scheme, and then I can't think of a strategy to win. And I definitely didn't think of a strategy on this one [laughs], I just psyched myself out with the fireball and burning my face. And then the next thing I know the horn's blaring.
How badly were you hurt after Rogan threw you down?
I definitely took a hard fall, and I hit my head pretty hard. And that's why I know that the producers and all them were concerned. In my mind I was like, "F—, I want to keep going. I want to keep battling."
Since Rogan is twice your size and this elimination played to size more than anything, how did you feel going against him?
It is a headbanger, he's double my size, maybe even triple, like, width-wise. But in all honesty, most of these eliminations, and even the headbangers, you have to go into it with a strategy. If you just go in full-force, then you're lucky if the grace of God gave you a 6-foot-5 body like Fessy [Shafaat] and you're like a super-powerhouse. But for me, every elimination and every competition that we go into, I have to think of a strategy, and this time I got sidetracked because I wasn't thinking. I wasn't focused on what should I do, how can I do this? The rules that were explained to us was Rogan can't go outside of the third ring. So if I wanted to, a good strategy thinking back on it now would be shoot the three-pointer from outside of the outside ring, run in because if the ball makes it to the inside ring, I could still go grab it. But if it touches the ground within the middle ring, then you just redo. So I could have taken a million shots if I wanted to — well, at least three three-point shots, and then I wouldn't have even had to do a headbanger. I didn't create a strategy. I just went into it thinking that I was the same size as Rogan instead of thinking like, "Jay, you're not the same size as Rogan, you need to figure it out. Don't kill yourself, buddy."
Obviously you and Rogan had beef this season, but what has your relationship been like since the season ended? Is it still a rivalry, or are you guys cool?
He's in England where he belongs, and I'm here in America where I belong. And everyone's quarantined so there hasn't been much interaction, but I'm sure if I saw him in the streets, we'd probably have a drinking contest or some sort of contest, because me and him are always butting heads. But who knows? We'd probably be friendly, but if not, f— him. [Laughs]
You went into the first three guy eliminations of the season, voted in by the house every time. What did you think of how the guys kept voting you in?
If I saw a dude from Survivor as handsome and ridiculously good-looking as me, I'd also be intimidated, so I would definitely throw me in every time. [Laughs] Considering I'm taking Rogan's chick whenever I want, throw him in there! [Laughs] Okay, that's f—ed up. But oh man.
In a season where you have to win an elimination to qualify for the final, watching a player who already had two skulls continue to be voted in didn't make sense. You’d think that they’d all want to go in as soon as possible to get their skull since you don’t know how many chances you’ll have to go in and earn one.
Yeah, they're idiots. If it was me, I definitely would have thrown the rookies in first to just be like, "Okay, prove your stripes," whatever, how they always do it. But after that I would have definitely thought, "The chance at getting a skull is diminishing. So every single time that I throw Jay in, I give him not only his second or third red skull — which is irrelevant to me — you're taking away chances for you to get into the final." So every time that you're throwing someone else in but yourself, that's dumb. If you think I'm the layup, I already have a red skull. Why would you give me the opportunity to get another one, take a chance away from you, and then have someone else take me out? You should take your layup to the end and face him in the end if you think you can beat him. Because that would be the best elimination for you to go against the layup anyways, for $1 million, not for a red skull. That's stupid. To each his own, they all play their game their way, and I got knocked the f— out.
The Challenge airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.