Former NFL player Dhani Jones has a new reality tv hosting gig hosting NBC’s new Spartan Ultimate team Challenge alongside Kyle Martino, Evan Dollard and MJ Acosta. Jones chatted with us about hosting this season of the show and more.
How did you become involved with the show?
Dhani: I got involved, it was a longstanding relationship with A Smith and company and Arthur and Canton have done a great job on American Ninja Warrior, and asked me if I wanted to host Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge, and they were like you gotta try out, and I was like cool because I’m always into working for what I can achieve. In the same way I worked hard to be able to be on the show, a lot of other people worked hard to compete. And so it was and symbiotic relationship and it worked out, I was able to join Spartan and co-host alongside with Kyle Martino and Evan Dollard and MJ Acosta and we’ve been off to the races in making a great show. It’s been exciting.
What would you saw is the hardest challenge contestants face?
Dhani: There’s a lot of hard challenges. You can kind of go down the line I mean for some people it’s climbing the first hill other people it’s the totem climb but for everybody it’s ultimately the flip wall the very end. It’s amazing how you might have three or four people trying to find their way and then one person all of a sudden solves it. So for every person it’s different. All these obstacles are designed for teams to be able to sort of get over and under and around and through and at the very end it’s designed for everybody to help one another get up and over this wall until people figure it out which often times takes someone quite a moment you just see people struggle you see teams crumble you see attitudes start to sort of deteriorate and at the same time you start to see attitudes built and the flip wall is probably the most difficult challenge the most difficult obstacle along the way.
What advice do you give contestants to help them overcome challenges?
Dhani: We remove ourselves myself, Kyle and the rest of the hosts we remove ourselves to sort of watch. But for anybody who’s out there wanting to be a part of this it’s about doing something that’s greater than yourself. For many of the contestants they fought through trial and tribulation in order to be where they are and that’s why they persevered through Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge. It’s because not only are they fighting for them and their teammates but they’re fighting for something greater than themselves.
If you could pick a challenge on the show to take part in which would you choose?
Dhani: As I look through the show, my favorite is the flip wall. I like to be able to find four other teammates in order to get me up and over because I think in the same way we have the contestants do this, we also have this motto, no one triumphs alone that would be my favorite because I understand that no one triumphs alone and that’s the same way for the contestants on Spartan.
The title “spartan” represents a lot of power, what do you think makes a modern Spartan?
Dhani: A modern Spartan is someone that fights, a modern Spartan is one that has their eyes set on the target and they go after it. A modern Spartan works hard and works with others for something that is greater than themselves.
How is Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge different from other previous similar shows?
Dhani: Well there have been other shows that have been along the way. We’ve seen American Ninja Warrior and that’s man vs obstacle but in Spartan it’s really the team aspect of it all and I think that’s one of the main differentiators within our show when compared to other shows.
What can we expect from the future of Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge?
Dhani: As the series goes on and people get to know it, we can expect people to transform their backyards into big obstacle course challenges as they prepare for Spartan. We can start to see long lines of people who want to be a part of the show. We’ll start to see the myriad of people that have been a part of the obstacle course racing community try out and want to be a part of Spartan because they know this is gonna be the biggest stage. This is a mile long obstacle course challenge where you have to find your team if you want to win. And ultimately it’s for the $250,000 that everybody knows can go a long way and we just look forward to a lot of people being a part of it.
What made you switch from a career in football to pursuing hosting television shows?
Dhani: I think it’s all about transition. It’s all about the next step , it’s all about where do you want to be. I knew that I could make a difference on the football field and now it’s my turn to make a difference off the football field.
What are your goals for your Bow Tie Foundation?
Dhani: The Bowtie Foundation is a derivative of the Bowtie Cause and we work with company’s and corporations to help them tell their story by designing bowties that tell the story. These bowties are designed and sold so that people can raise funds. For us we direct our funds into the Bowtie Foundation to work with underprivileged youth and education. I say the overall goal is to put bowties on everybody, because I think the necktie means nothing but the bowtie ultimately means something. People want to know what people care about before they care to know them and as you look at people who rock bowties in the same way I do for my friend that fought threw cancer named Kunta Littlejohn other people fight through other things and in the same way people fight to be on Spartan, in the same way that I fought through certain things to play in the national football league and in the world of transition the same way people rock bowties we want to hear about your story and we want to be able to support those who may not have the voice but need the support may not have the direction but need the support and through Bowtie Foundation we’re able to do so and we want to be able to help you do that as well.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Dhani: No The most important thing is to check out Thursday nights and 9pm/8pm central on NBC Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge.