This article contains spoilers for the first four episodes of The Traitors season 2.
Former heavyweight boxing world champion Deontay Wilder was a fun addition to The Traitors US season 2 cast. But, his time on the show abruptly ended when he pulled himself from the competition.
“The Bronze Bomber” entered the Scottish Highlands cast alongside 20 other notable figures, and although Deontay is known for throwing fists inside a ring, he brought a surprising amount of savviness to the roster. He had a strong presence during the first three episodes, including in the opening two banishment ceremonies.
But, unfortunately for the boxer, his reads on the cast were wrong and Deontay aided in ousting two of his fellow Faithfuls. First, Wilder targeted RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Peppermint. Before she was sent packing, Peppermint revealed she was a Faithful, to which Wilder had a noticeably emotional response.
Then, Dancing With the Stars’ Maks Chmerkovskiy found himself in Wilder’s crosshairs, and he was banished at the end of episode 3. Reeling from Maks’ Faithful reveal and the cutthroat nature of the game, The Bronze Bomber broke down into tears while being consoled by his fellow castmates.
And that was the end of Wilder’s storyline on The Traitors.
Wilder left the show ahead of the next morning’s breakfast. So, why did he choose an unceremonious exit? On the surface, it seemed like Wilder ejected himself from the castle as he couldn’t handle the fact he helped orchestrate the demise of two innocent players. Well, speaking with US Weekly, Wilder revealed that his Traitors experience hit a deep nerve stemming from childhood trauma.
“This game was definitely harder than I thought it would be,” Wilder said. “I thought it was trying to figure out [who] were the traitors, and being that you have so many more Faithfuls than the Traitors, that it would be kind of easy to try to figure it out. But being on this show, it really struck some childhood trauma from me that I didn’t expect.”
Wilder said that throughout his life, he didn’t have an opportunity to have an emotional release from the things he “dealt with as a child.”
“I’m a world traveler. I’ve been many places around the world, but in this particular moment in time being on this show — I think because of the conditions that it was in — it really drew back the condition that I was in [as a child]. … People accusing each other of doing things that may not be true. And it really struck something in me.”
Wilder said he and Maks became close during the show’s filming, but because of the game they were playing, his intuition steered him toward targeting the dancer. An admitted “very emotional man,” Wilder said that although his professional career is centered around fighting another combatant, he’s a “loving, caring guy.”
“And I think you got the best of me being on the show,” Wilder continued.
Well, as a boxing fan and someone who has caught several of The Bronze Bomber’s scraps, I was pleasantly surprised with his appearance on the show. He took center stage on several occasions and wasn’t outshone by a cast brimming with reality TV stars. From what we saw in the edit, Wilder was a force in the challenges as well as in the social and strategic flow of the game.
Regardless, he went out on his terms, and it sounds like he’s grateful for the experience — the good and the bad.