Brandon Nelson was eliminated by his longtime friend Leroy Garrett on the Wednesday, May 1, episode of The Challenge: All Stars. After betraying Cara Maria Sorbello by voting her into elimination the previous week, Brandon had the favor returned when Cara spearheaded his nomination this time around.

While Cara, 37, was blindsided by Brandon’s move, he insists that they weren’t as close as she let on. “Going into All Stars 4, we hadn’t talked,” Brandon, 40, exclusively tells In Touch. “And people will say, ‘Well, the phone goes both ways.’ Well, I did attempt to call her. I texted her. And every now and then I’d get a response, but it was few and far between. There were these huge gaps.”

Brandon praises his friend as “arguably one of the best challengers, male or female,” and acknowledges that he “understands she’s busy.” However, he says they have different “definitions” of where their friendship stood.

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“I had no idea Cara was even doing [the show],” he admits. “I thought she was done. And then when I [saw] her in the airport, I was excited.” But Brandon reveals that he learned from his past mistakes on The Challenge, which is why he was OK trying to make a power move against Cara. Of course, this ended up backfiring when Cara beat Rachel Robinson in their elimination and she got to stay in the game.

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“I can separate [friendship inside and outside of the game],” Brandon explains. “We walk in and, without even talking to me about [the] game or anything, you just assume that we’re cool? ‘I’m not worried about Brandon, he’s got me.’ No. T.J. [Lavin] said there’s one winner for this Challenge. You do CrossFit every day. We haven’t talked. And how can [I] pass up the opportunity to put Rachel and Cara against each other?”

Despite things getting rocky between Brandon and Cara on the show, he insists that there’s “no love lost” between them. “We’ve been fine ever since,” he says. “She’ll pick up the phone and call me. We’re good. I love that girl.”

This was Brandon’s first season of The Challenge since 2014. “I was at rock bottom,” he admits. “I got the call and it was definitely needed, definitely a blessing. Some people were asking, ‘How come you haven’t been on, are you turning them down? What’s going on?’ And I’ve said this previously, but I’m a Challenge slut. If they call, I’m going to say yes. There will be no pushback.”

Brandon reveals that he was an alternate for season 2 of The Challenge: All Stars but didn’t make it on the main cast. When he was asked back for season 4, it was also as an alternate at first. “They confirmed me right before we left,” he shares. “I was like, ‘Thank God.’”

Now that he’s had a taste of what it’s like to compete again, Brandon is all in. “I got the bug again now and I did fairly well coming out,” he says. “Listen, if I would’ve done All Stars 4 and just s–t the bed, I’d be like, ‘Thanks for calling me back. Too late. Too much time went by.’ But now I’m like, ‘Oh, I can still do this. Let’s go.’ I’m definitely down to do some more.”

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