Say what you will about Nelson, but his is one loyal friend. His best moment on The Challenge thus far was stepping up in elimination for Cory. It’s no secret that the two are allies, but inevitably one of the two had to go into elimination. Nelson told the Tribunal to put him in because he wanted Cory to have a better shot at winning.
Now, if I was betting, The Tribunal was going to send in Nelson. At the end of the day, they wanted Rogan gone and Nelson just has a better elimination record. Nelson has eight wins (plus a draw, which allowed him to stay in Vendettas), while Cory has four proper wins (not counting his wins as a Mercenary on Final Reckoning). If you want someone taken out of The Challenge, Nelson is a good person to do the job. Cory’s less likely to pull out a win.
Does this make Nelson’s act any less noble? Not at all. He could have bargained with the Tribunal and tried to get safety, but he never did. His decision wasn’t rooted in logic, it was entirely emotional. He knows how much the money could benefit Cory and his family. He knows Cory’s motivation for being on the show, and he spent a lot of time away from his family just to be on The Challenge.
On a friendship level, Nelson sees Cory’s sacrifice to be on the show. He knows it pains Cory to be away from Ryder because she doesn’t understand the filming situation. Cory’s relationship with Ryder is important to Nelson because he sees Cory providing for Ryder and playing a very active role in her life. If you recall on Invasion, Nelson opened up about his parental situation. His father wasn’t a presence during his childhood, and he knows how important it is for Cory to be involved in Ryder’s life. He doesn’t want Cory’s time away from his daughter to be in vain, and bypassing this elimination is Cory’s ticket to the final.
When you understand Cory’s commitment to his family and Nelson’s upbringing, you can understand how emotionally important this decision was to Nelson. In fact, it makes the move more commendable. This is one of those situations that celebrates friendship, and despite the outcome, Nelson has no reason to regret the move.