The Bachelorette alum Mike Johnson admits he was "butt-hurt" for a bit when The Bachelor producers passed on him for the second time and selected Matt James to star as the first black Bachelor on Season 25 instead.

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Mike, who competed for Hannah Brown on The Bachelorette's fifteenth season last year, was a frontrunner to star on The Bachelor's 24th season before Peter Weber was announced as the lead. 

Mike was also apparently a fan-favorite suitor from Hannah's season.

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So during a Tuesday appearance on Ben Higgins and Ashley Iaconetti's The Ben and Ashley I Almost Famous Podcast, Mike discussed how it felt to essentially be rejected by The Bachelor producers -- again.

"Matt is a good dude. That's how I felt. He is a single man looking for love, just as I am, and he'll be a great Bachelor. He'll be a great lead," Mike began.

But Ashley and Ben weren't exactly buying it, especially since the two of them were admittedly surprised Mike wasn't given the role for The Bachelor's 2021 season.

Ben therefore asked Mike to walk them through his emotions when he first heard the news.

"One would think [you'd feel disheartened], but quite honestly, this wasn't the first time that I felt rejection in this form. So you build up a callus... My life has been planned and my mom taught me the strength of prayer, and I can't focus on things I cannot control," Mike shared.

"Honestly, it is what it is. They picked a great guy and for like 30 minutes I was butt-hurt, but after that, you move on with life."

The portfolio manager and well-traveled Air Force veteran elaborated, "There's nothing anyone can do to make me feel 'less than.' I know I'm an amazing human being and amazing person so therefore, I'm not going to let a few executive producers that didn't choose me twice make me feel any type of way."

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Ashley then asked Mike if he had any discussions with The Bachelor producers prior to the June 12 announcement of Matt's casting on Good Morning America, and Mike replied, "I was not given an offer... I didn't have any recent discussions."
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Ben asked Mike as a result to share his thoughts on not even being part of the conversation.

"Honestly, if I knew why [they rejected me twice], I would tell you," Mike said.

"Truly. I was just on the phone with my grandma earlier and she asked me the same question. I just really genuinely don't know."

Mike continued, "I feel like for over a year since I've been in Bachelor Nation family, I have shown my character day in and day out, and I don't feel what I show is not conducive to what a Bachelor would be. So I have no idea."

Mike reiterated how his feelings on the subject have "nothing to do with Matt" because Matt is "a genuine and great individual."

"[But] why they would choose Matt, someone who isn't as known in the [limelight], over myself or other cast members who have built a light in Bachelor Nation? I have no idea. I know Matt was cast to be on [Clare Crawley]'s season, but that's all I know," Mike explained.

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When asked to give his best assumption or speculation on why he wasn't given the role, Mike insisted he's totally clueless.

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"Literally, just boys, you and I talking on a back patio with no one else around," Mike told Ben, "I wish I knew the answer to that. I truly do. I can speculate like anyone else."

"I'm not seeing nobody, I'm in great shape, I think I'm a decent looking guy," he noted. "I know I was one of America's favorites. I'm professionally in a good place, I'm financially free, I live by myself. I mean, I don't know. I really don't know."

Mike confirmed, however, someone presumably from The Bachelor series did reach out to him on June 12 so they could have a chat.

"That conversation was fresh. I was golfing Friday so I was already moving on with my life, literally. When I say it, I mean it... I was moving on with my life. I'm a single man. I want a wifey, right," Mike said.

"That conversation was raw honesty on my part, as always, and I was just appreciative that someone reached out."

Not only was Mike a little miffed about not being ABC's first choice for their first black Bachelor, but he also expressed sympathy for Clare, whose season has yet to begin production due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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Mike suggested Matt's The Bachelor announcement upstaged Clare in a way and took some of the wind out of her sails.

"What happened to Clare?... The way they rolled it out seemed odd," Mike noted.

"The attention should still be on Clare. It's her season. She is the current Bachelorette... It's not fair to her."

Ashley pointed out fans have noticed a little back and forth flirtation on social media between Mike and Clare, and Mike just giggled.

On whether Mike would join Clare's season as a suitor, Mike replied, "I don't know! She's a cutie."

As for what's next for Mike, who also tested the dating waters on last year's edition of Bachelor in Paradise, revealed he's moving to Austin, TX, and has a book coming out soon.

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Matt, a 28-year-old real estate broker, entrepreneur and community organization founder was announced back in March as one of Clare's potential 32 The Bachelorette suitors, but obviously Matt will no longer be competing for her heart now that he's the franchise's leading man for Season 25.

Matt appeared on GMA's June 12 broadcast and expressed how it's "an honor" to represent people of color on The Bachelor, given he'll be the first in 25 seasons to be given the starring role.

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Matt will be the second black lead, after Rachel Lindsay, in 18 years and a total of 40 seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.

When ABC announced its decision to give Matt the starring role next year, network president Karey Burke said in a statement, "We feel so privileged to have Matt as our first Black Bachelor and we cannot wait to embark on this journey with him."

Karey added, "Matt has been on our radar since February, when producers first approached him to join Bachelor Nation, as part of Clare's season. When filming couldn't move forward as planned, we were given the benefit of time to get to know Matt and all agreed he would make a perfect Bachelor."

Matt shared on GMA his hope that people will watch him on Monday nights next year and discover he's "not much different" from everyone else and America will see that "diverse love stories are beautiful."

Matt initially came into the limelight last year as he's best friends with The Bachelorette alum Tyler Cameron, who was the runner-up on Hannah's 2019 season of The Bachelorette, and they started a small charity, ABC Food Tours, together.

Not only did Matt and Tyler -- who regularly appear on each other's social-media accounts -- become roommates in New York City, but they've also been quarantining with each other in Florida in recent months, and Hannah was also part of their "Quarantine Crew" for several weeks and seemed to become close with Matt.

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