'The Challenge All Stars': Mark Long Talks Season 3's Stacked Cast, Backlash to Newer Players Joining Spinoff

The Challenge: All Stars is back and better than ever before. The cast of Season 3 is truly stacked and features contestants who have all reached at least one final in their Challenge careers. Mark Long, who also produces the show and was the reason it came to fruition in the first place, is one of the many contestants who are vying for the Season 3 crown. During a chat with PopCulture.com, Long weighed in on the competition he's facing this season and even addressed some of the criticism that the show has received for casting competitors who have recently appeared on the flagship Challenge

Long was up against a slew of strong competitors in Season 1, the last time that he competed on the series. However, it's s totally different game going into Season 3. "I think, in the past, even with an All Star one or a previous flagship Challenge, there'd be one or two people on the guys and girls side that you kind of look at and you're like, 'You know what, they don't seem that tough or they don't seem like they're that competitive. They're probably considered a layup,'" he explained. "But, on Season 3, from the top to bottom, girls and guys, there's none of that."

Long recalled that, much like other competitors, he looked around at his competition to see who he would want to go up against if he did have to face an elimination. Although, he "never could really fall on just one person" because everyone in the cast is a force to be reckoned with. In fact, the level of competition is something that Long can appreciate as both a contestant and a producer, as it will, hopefully, allow The Challenge to go to even greater heights. He continued, "I want Season 3 to set that bar so high that other shows that follow it are going to have to step up and produce and I'm looking forward to it. You are going to love it. The word I described is epic because it is epic, epic, epic from the beginning to [the[ end. And huge moments, huge surprises, huge twists from TJ, yelling, crying, laughing. It has it all."

Many fans are excited to see cast members such as Wes Bergmann, Kailah Casillas, and Jordan Wiseley back in The Challenge universe. However, some have criticized the show's decision to cast such competitors as they've only recently competed on the flagship series. Long is aware of the criticism, but he also explained that all of the members of the cast are All Stars in their own rights, so it's only fitting that fans would get to see them compete on the spinoff. The Road Rules alum said that part of the All Stars fun is getting to see faces you know and love, after all. 

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"One thing that the special sauce of this show is when that cast list comes out, if you're a true fan of The Challenge, you don't have to Google anyone's name," Long said. He added that while there may be some discussion over certain members of the cast, they all still fit under the Road Rules/Real World/Fresh Meat umbrella. As long as he's involved in the program, he'll make sure that it stays that way. Long explained that he'll do so "because I think that's what the fans love. They rally behind ... So, if I'm involved, I will fight that to the end."