Why did Nathan leave The Challenge: World Championship early?
Fans are rallying around UK player Nathan Henry after he had to depart the all-star global competition in the first episode
It's only the first episode and we've already got a mystery to solve: why did Nathan leave The Challenge: World Championship early?
The Paramount Plus newcomer, which premiered its first two episodes on the streaming platform on Wednesday, March 8, is a globally-focused spinoff of MTV's original competition series that will follow 30 players from throughout The Challenge universe — including the USA, UK, Australia and Argentina franchises — as they compete for a cash prize of $500,000 and the ultimate title of "The Challenge World Champion."
Along with four "global MVPs" from each of those offshoots, The Challenge: World Championship cast will include returning "legends" with whom the international contingent will have to pair up, including game stalwarts like Johnny "Bananas" DeVenanzio, Wes Bergmann, Tori Deal, Jordan Wiseley and Amber Borzotra.
One such global MVP was Nathan Henry, a reality-show veteran known for his time on Geordie Shore and Celebrity Ex on the Beach, as well as for being a finalist on The Challenge: UK. Fans were looking forward to having the TV star included in this season's crop of competitors, with one posting on Twitter (opens in new tab): "So excited to see Nathan from Geordie Shore on @TheChallenge!" Another said of his casting (opens in new tab): "Nathan is a given. I didn’t even have to watch The Challenge UK to know he’d be a good casting choice for the show. He was a bit tamed here but I feel like if we saw him on the main show where the seasons film for a year he’ll give us some drama."
Alas, fans would only get one episode of Nathan in action on the World Championship series, as host T.J. Lavin announces right before elimination proceedings in the premiere episode: "Nathan has been medically separated from this game."
Lavin tells Tristan Phipps, Nathan's UK teammate who finished last in this week's challenge and therefore was up for elimination: "You are the luckiest person I know. There will be no elimination for you," due to Nathan's absence from the game.
So what does a "medical separation" mean exactly? Well, as happened with Kaycee Clark in The Challenge: Ride or Dies, fans believe that that's code for COVID and that Nathan was removed from the game after testing positive for coronavirus. Whether, like Kaycee, he'll later make a return to the series after a full recovery remains to be seen.
Why did Nathan leave The Challenge early? Fans react
Noticing Nathan's absence during the premiere episodes, viewers took to social media to discuss the player. "Nathan was by far my favorite UK character it sucks to have him go out to a medical DQ," one user wrote. Here's what fans are saying:
But why did you leave?March 8, 2023
OMG NATHAN ❤️March 9, 2023
What happened to Nathan? #TheChallengeMarch 9, 2023
Needs an immediate callback for 39March 8, 2023
What happened man? U OK? Y u had to go?March 8, 2023
I think they cast Nelson and Kelley-Anne because they knew Argentina was going to flop. But UK surprised them Nathan DQ and Tristan flopped harder in the opening challenge. #ChallengeWorldChampMarch 8, 2023
Watching the challenge world championships now. I’m still a little bitter over the UK though. Definitely think AJ was more of an mvp than NathanMarch 8, 2023
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Christina Izzo is the Deputy Editor of My Imperfect Life. More generally, she is a writer-editor covering food and drink, travel, lifestyle and culture in New York City. She was previously the Features Editor at Rachael Ray In Season and Reveal, as well as the Food & Drink Editor and chief restaurant critic at Time Out New York.
When she’s not doing all that, she can probably be found eating cheese somewhere.