Returning player Colton Cumbie left the game of Survivor early for a second time Wednesday night, when he quit the game abruptly during a Redemption Island duel. Moreover, when he told Jeff Probst his plans, the Emmy-winning host accused him of faking appendicitis to leave the game when he played Survivor: One World. Now, ETonline gives the 22-year-old Alabama native a chance to set the record straight.
ETonline: After the last season kind of ending abruptly, what made you want to come back and play this season?
Colton: I guess the twist, the possibility -- well, what I thought was the guarantee -- of getting to play with Caleb, and Caleb really wanted to do the show. And so ultimately what my decision came down to, I guess, was … I knew he really wanted to do it, and even though he left the decision up to me, I felt like, "Okay well, if he really wants to do it, I'll do it one more time."
ETonline: What did you find difficult about the game this time around that just made you want to quit?
Colton: The aspect of him actually being there, and not being able to talk to him. ... That was the hardest thing for me, by far. Because, Survivor is a very selfish game. It's a game where you have to be able to worry about yourself, first and foremost. And with him out there -- you know, everyone was celebratory, and we saw Marissa get voted out because Gervase was celebrating so hard … and that was so confusing for me. And I was like, why is it a good thing to win? And so I just keep saying my heart was totally in the game, that was actually my downfall, [since] it was just out of my body and on the other tribe.
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ETonline: How was this season different from your last season, beside the obvious?
Colton: I mean obviously [Caleb] being there and not being able to look out for just yourself, being constantly worried about someone else. But other than that, I mean obviously they've upped the ante with bringing back returning players. And I think there was also, we’re in an era of Survivor now, to where usually when the players hit the beach … the strategy immediately begins. You get your alliances together, you get going, you start playing the game. And I was out there with a lot of people who haven't played, for Gervase 13 years, and for Tina, she played her game and she won. And it was very interesting to me, the dynamics of the older players like Aras and Tina and Gervase, and the new-school players, which would be Monica, Kat and I. And I felt like Monica and Kat really wanted to play.
ETonline: When you left the game, did you feel like you were abandoning Caleb at all, or do you think that leaving might have actually helped him?
Colton: I knew it would help him. There was not a doubt in my mind, because I knew that he would think, "Okay, Colton is being taken care, Colton is not hungry anymore, he's not uncomfortable, now I can play this game. And I don't have to worry about how people that I'm sending into Redemption Island is going to impact him," because that's something that definitely would have been on my mind. We saw on the episode last night, and that's something that I think, I will say kind of makes this season cool, we saw in the second episode where Monica finds herself in this alliance of five people with Tina and Gervase and Aras and Tyson, but yet Tyson just found out in the Redemption Island duel last night that Monica's husband is the sole reason that Rachel was sent into Redemption Island. So there's this whole component of, as long as your loved one's in the game, how is what you do on your tribe going to affect their game on their side? And honestly I think that Caleb and Tyson are in very good spots right now because their concerns just left.
ETonline: So, do you regret quitting or would you do it again?
Colton: No, I don't regret quitting. I think it was the best move and the only move that I had at that point.
ETonline: So just going to what Probst said last night, he said that you had faked appendicitis during your last [season], what do you say about that?
Colton: I think that that is completely crazy and I don't understand it at all. I don't understand what would possess him to think that I quit my first time. And that's something that I would actually really like to hear him explain himself about, is why, like what do you think the circumstances were that drove me to quitting last time? Because I was in the perfect position on my tribe -- I was running the show, I had a hidden immunity idol. It wasn't like I was in a lot of danger. So the argument being made this time, "Oh well Colton quit because he couldn't get his way," well I was getting my way every single time last time, so why would I quit then? It doesn't really make sense, and I don't know.
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ETonline: Did you believe at the time that you had appendicitis?
Colton: I didn't know what I had. I know that medical pulled me for appendicitis. Now it turns out it was a misdiagnosis and I had a bacterial infection, but still. I had to be treated at the hospital, so it really wouldn't have made a difference if they would have known what was really going on. And I actually spoke with the doctor after I was pulled, or after I left this time, and I asked her, "What are your thoughts?" And she said, "I still believe that you had appendicitis, but when they treated you with the antibiotics, I think your appendix went back to normal." And plus, whenever they did the CT scan on me, I had an allergic reaction to the dye. So there was this whole series of events… And I don't know, I find it insulting more than anything that Probst is trying to speak about something that he clearly doesn't know anything about. And I mean, my mom went to the hospital with me whenever I got back to the States and Caleb was there as well, they both saw that I was administered antibiotics. They both have seen the test results, they both know there was something wrong. So, I don't know.
Regardless of both of his exits from Survivor, Colton says that he's excited to get back to normal life, which includes school and building a house with Caleb, and most importantly, planning their October 11, 2014 wedding. Survivor: Blood vs. Water airs Wednesday nights at 8/7c on CBS.