WARNING: This article contains spoilers for The Challenge Season 38 premiere.
As quickly as Kaycee Clark arrived on The Challenge: Ride or Dies, she disappeared. So, what happened to Kaycee? That's what fans of the MTV reality series were desperate to know after the Season 38 premiere. Fans who were psyched to see Kaycee return had their hopes dashed when she left before the episode really even started.
Theories immediately began to circulate about why Kaycee and her brother Kenny Clark were dropped from the series, but there isn't a conspiracy happening here. Read on to find out why Kaycee left The Challenge and what her thoughts were about having to walk away from the series after winning last season's The Challenge: Spies, Lies, and Allies.
What happened to Kaycee Clark on 'The Challenge: Ride or Dies'?
Kaycee and her brother Kenny were considered favorites to win this season of The Challenge because of Kaycee's victory in the last season. However, her chances of a repeat were shut down very early on. In the Season 38 premiere, host T.J. Lavin told the other teams (and the audience) that "Kaycee and Kenny had to leave the game."
The only explanation Lavin gave was to concede that "we live in crazy times right now," leading viewers to wonder if some kind of emergency had occurred.
The Challenge then introduced not one but two new teams to fill the spot left behind by the Clark siblings. The new pair of Horacio Gutierrez and Olivia Kaiser will battle it out alongside Nam Vo and Emmy Russ to try and become The Challenge: Ride or Dies champions.
However, Kaycee's exit cast a long shadow over the rest of the premiere, with the audience focused more on her leaving than who stayed. Shortly after the episode aired, Kaycee explained her quick exit.
Why did Kaycee and Kenny leave 'The Challenge: Ride or Dies'?
Kaycee told Entertainment Weekly that she and Kenny were pulled from The Challenge because both of them tested positive for COVID-19. That puts Lavin's "crazy times" comment into better context as the pandemic has certainly complicated everyone's lives! It also explains why he didn't say more, as it would've been uncomfortable to announce Kaycee and Kenny's positive COVID tests to a national TV audience.
What makes the story even more interesting, though, is that this is the second time Kaycee has tested positive for the virus. "I didn't go on Big Brother: All-Stars because I had COVID," the Big Brother Season 20 winner told EW.
She explained that "traveling, going to Argentina [where The Challenge is filmed], we ended up getting COVID."
While The Challenge fans are saddened about Kaycee leaving so early, she feels even more disappointed for Kenny. Not only was this season their first opportunity to compete on a reality show together, but it was his first chance to be on a Challenge season. "He potentially might be missing out on a really cool experience," Kaycee added.
She said that the duo was "hoping and praying" to get back into the game, especially since Kaycee's girlfriend, Nany Gonzalez, is also competing.
While MTV hasn't revealed if Kaycee and Kenny will return to The Challenge Season 38, if they don't, hopefully the network will offer them an opportunity in a future season so they can at least share the experience together.
Then again, it would be a Challenge-worthy plot twist if the duo did return mid-season after catching COVID and still crush the competition! And if anyone can make that kind of a comeback, it's Kaycee.
The Challenge: Ride or Dies airs at 8 p.m. ET on MTV.