Past Challenge seasons have featured an even playing field — Real World, Road Rules, Are You the One?, Fresh Meat, Bloodlines and Spring Break Challenge alums, to be exact. Now, an esteemed group of 10 guys/gals who have had the privilege of donning the coveted winner’s badge are about to encounter a different type of competitor on the legendary MTV battleground.
The Challenge: Champs vs. Pros will pit 10 of America’s top athletes against familiar faces from the long-running series. NFL star Victor Cruz will host the special six-week event, which premieres on Tuesday, May 16. Some salsa touchdown dances are in our future!
Before we get to the roster, the game rules for the first-of-its-kind clash of the titans is as follows: Each episode will focus on a different strength (agility, ingenuity, brawn, brains, endurance and guts). Every week, the winning team’s captain will choose one member of their team to go into the elimination round, and the rest of the team will vote in their opponent. The losing team’s captain is automatically sent into elimination, and their team will also nominate their opponent. The final male and female competitors of the season will endure the ultimate test, showcasing each strength in one heart-pounding race for the chance to win $50,000 for their favorite charity.
Without further ado, here are the pros who will take their marks (the MTV victors will be announced after the Invasion of the Champions finale and reunion special on Tuesday, May 9):
Filmmaker Rory Karpf has revealed that his upcoming documentary, “Evolution of Punk” will air on August 15th on Fox Sports 1.
Former WWE superstar CM Punk was one of the most notable UFC signings in recent years. On September 10, 2016, he will make his long-awaited UFC debut when he faces Mickey Gall in a welterweight bout at UFC 203 in Cleveland, Ohio.
In the main event of UFC 203, which takes place at Quicken Loans Arena, hometown hero Stipe Miocic defends his UFC heavyweight title for the first time against Alistair Overeem. In the co-main event, Fabricio Werdum faces Ben Rothwell.
One of the most popular and accomplished pro wrestlers to ever compete in the WWE, Chicago’s CM Punk looked for a new challenge in 2014 and found it in mixed martial arts. Signing with the UFC in December of that year, Punk began his MMA education with Duke Roufus and the renowned Roufusport team in Milwaukee, and this September he will put himself to the test against New Jersey’s Mickey Gall, a talented 2-0 prospect who earned his shot against Punk with a 45-second submission win over Mike Jackson in February.
Just heard from @CMPunk. Everything went well & he's in great spirits. Make no mistake, he's out to prove a lot of people wrong. Stay tuned!
— Dave Sholler (@Sholler_UFC) February 11, 2016
CM Punk’s UFC debut has been delayed.
The former WWE champion turned MMA fighter is scheduled to undergo back surgery in Chicago on Wednesday due to a herniated disc, MMAFighting.com has learned.
The 37-year-old Punk, né Phil Brooks, has been battling a lingering back injury from his years as a professional wrestler. Recently, though, the injury worsened.
“My back has always bugged me,” Punk told MMAFighting.com. “Figured it was just wrestling sh*t. Turns out it was.
“It got bad enough to the point where I couldn’t do anything the week before I went to train with the New Jersey Devils last month. One day I could manage, the next day I couldn’t. I’ve been in agony for almost a month. Chiropractor, acupuncture, massage, cryotherapy … nothing worked.”
On Saturday, Punk learned that he would be facing 24-year-old Mickey Gall in his debut after Gall defeated fellow UFC newcomer Mike Jackson via first-round rear-naked choke. Coincidentally for Punk, he was advised by his doctor right before the fight that he needed surgery, but Punk decided to keep that news for himself.
Punk announced that he had signed with the UFC in Dec. 2014. A shoulder injury this summer delayed his debut, but the UFC recently announced that the plan was for him to make his highly-anticipated Octagon debut this summer. While those plans will change now, Punk’s recovery post-surgery is expected to be four-to-six weeks, so his intention is still to fight at least once in 2016.
Punk noted his injury and surgery is very similar to the one former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez underwent last week.
“This is just a bump in the road,” he said. “I’m positive about this.”