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Gamers Who Lost It At Tournaments

Professional gamers apply their skills in numerous different ways. For some, their career takes the form of regular live streams or edited YouTube videos where they play the latest games by themselves or with a handful of friends. Other gamers, though, fall into a more competitive spectrum of the field — esports. For decades, professional gaming tournaments were minor events with meager monetary gain. In the last decade, though, professional video game competitions have quickly become a part of mainstream sports entertainment. Tournaments garner multi-million dollar prizes and are sometimes even broadcast on national TV.

Still, the massive spectacle and elevated professionalism of these esports tournaments hasn't eliminated one of the most common elements of competitive gaming — emotion. Whether they're jumping out of their seats with anger or elation, even the most high-ranking professional gamers have found themselves losing their minds and flailing around at the results of their tournament matches. Here are some of the most iconic examples of professional gamers who absolutely lost it at tournaments.

HungryBox cries on his knees after winning EVO 2016

When it comes to the professional scene for iconic Nintendo fighter Super Smash Bros. Melee, one of the most well-known names involved is Juan "HungryBox" Debiedma. The incredibly talented Jigglypuff player has been at the top of his game for years, putting on impressive performances at countless tournaments for Super Smash Bros. Melee. Unfortunately, when it comes to the biggest stage of them all, victory eluded him for years. The EVO Championship Series, well-known as the biggest yearly fighting game competition in the world, brought Super Smash Bros. Melee back to the mainstage in 2013, and has featured it every year since then.

From 2013 to 2015, Hungrybox consistently came short in the tournament, losing the grand finals to big names like back-to-back 2013 and 2014 winner Mango and 2015 winner Armada. At EVO 2016, though, Hungrybox was ready to take it all home. He was up against last year's winner Armada in Grand Finals, and when an incredibly tight 2-2 set ended with Hungrybox in victory, he burst into tears and fell to the ground out of pure, exhausted, emotional bliss as the EVO crowd erupted in applause and elation.

CouRage ragequits Fortnite because of the B.R.U.T.E.

Part of what has kept Fortnite a massively popular and regularly played game since it launched in 2017 has been its steady flow of new content through massive seasonal updates. Each season of Fortnite brings with it map changes, new game modes, and a variety of surprising new weapons and items to utilize in battle. Many of these additions end up pleasing fans immensely, but one new piece of equipment that was added in the middle of 2019 only proved to frustrate fans of the game.

The launch of Season 10 in August 2019 included the addition of a new mobile mech suit called the B.R.U.T.E. that could fire volleys of rockets, dash through buildings, activate overshields, and more. It was an insanely overpowered tool that frustrated even professional players, including Jack "CouRage" Dunlop. When the professional Fortnite player was killed by a group of B.R.U.T.E. machines in a tournament, he slammed his desk, screamed about the mechs, and promptly quit the tournament. Fellow players Tfue, Cloak, and Bugha joined him, though they didn't exhibit quite as much frustration.

Justin Wong did a barrel roll at EVO 2014

If you were to make a Mt. Rushmore of iconic fighting game community members, there's no doubt that Justin Wong would have his head featured on that monument. The dedicated FGC professional has spent decades sweeping tournaments and pulling off iconic and unforgettable performances, like the all-too-memorable "Evo Moment #37" in which he pulled off a jaw-dropping parry assault against Street Fighter god Daigo Umehara.

Justin Wong would go on to deliver another iconic EVO moment at the professional fighting game tournament a decade later in a completely different game – Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Justin Wong was well known for years as one of the biggest Marvel vs. Capcom players, but for much of the tournament lifespan of the third game in the series, the Grand Finals were dominated by players like Christopher "NYChrisG" Gonzalez and Ryan "Filipino Champ" Ramirez. In 2014, Wong had an unforgettable set against Filipino Champ in Winners Finals that shocked everyone, including him. People didn't think he could pull it off again in Grand Finals against NYChrisG, but when he did, Wong jumped from his seat and fell to the ground, rolling around in pure happiness.

Shirts off for these Street Fighter pros

Some professional fighting game players stand out not only for their skill but also for their unique personalities or unforgettable characteristics. A shining example of this combination of skill and quirkiness is professional Ultra Street Fighter 4 player Lee "Poongko" Chung Gon. The Korean fighting game player is well known as one of the best Seth players in the world, sweeping tournaments and crushing competitors with ease. Every now and then, though, the odds are against him and he's placed in a tough situation. During these moments of stress, Poongko unleashes his limiters and lets everyone know he's getting serious by literally taking his shirt off.

This bizarre trait became an unforgettable aspect of Poongko's personality, and at EVO 2015, Abel player Onisan took advantage of that. During a set between the two, Onisan egged Poongko on by removing his own shirt and throwing it onto Poongko's shoulders. The crowd didn't think Poongko would respond favorably, but when he removed his shirt as well, it led to one of the most heated and uncomfortably under-dressed moments of EVO history.

Kurt0411 rage quits mid-tournament

Professional FIFA player Kurt "Kurt0411" Fenech is probably better known for his temper and frustrations than his raw talent. The Malta-born esports professional has a long and messy history of starting beef with Twitch streamers, fellow FIFA players, and even EA itself. While most of Kurt0411's dramatics take place from the comfort of his home through Twitter or Twitch, one of his most unforgettable bits of unprofessionalism occurred during the master eClub World Cup FIFA tournament in Paris in 2018.

The massive tournament was already marred by controversy due to the alleged match-fixing that had occurred in the final round of Group A, where Freitas from Arte Virtual and Idealz from Schalke seemed to collude with each other during their match. During the semi-finals, though, it was Kurt0411's time to shine. The venomous FIFA player was enraged by the tactics of his opponent, fifaustun, to the point that he actually walked away from the game and off stage in a fit of rage during the match.

Filipino Champ explodes after a tight victory in MVC3

There's a unique atmosphere to the fighting game community that really can't be matched by any other section of the professional gaming world. Part of what makes it such a unique corner of the gaming community is the casual, wild, and sometimes cartoonish atmosphere that permeates the community. There are characters in the fighting game community. Some are underdog babyfaces who you can't help but root for. Others, however, are rude and overconfident bad guys that bring some much-needed venom to the stage at whichever tournament they attend.

When it comes to community bad guys, none are quite as well known as Ryan "Filipino Champ" Ramirez, who owes his stardom to his years of impressive performances in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. The hot-headed fighting game player knew he was the best, and scoffed at anyone who dared think otherwise. One of the best on-camera examples of Filipino Champ's boisterous attitude comes from a match against Wolfkrone at Winter Brawl X, where the Marvel vs Capcom 3 villain jumped from his seat and screamed in victory for minutes after beating his opponent in a tight set.

Wobbles punches a wall after Smash Bros. loss

Whether you're a professional gamer or just a casual hobbyist, you probably know what it's like to get angry at a video game. A frustrating death in Dark Souls or a tight loss in Mario Kart could cause even an innocent little grandma to have her blood boil in rage. That anger often manifests in physical ways, from fits of screaming or jaw-dropped silence to a slammed desk or even a thrown controller.

Professional Super Smash Bros. Melee player Wobbles is no stranger to that kind of physical rage, but he took things once step further at Smash Summit 2. After a one-sided loss in the Grand Finals, Wobbles flung his controller to the ground like a boomerang before shaking his opponent's hand out of respect. As Wobbles walked away, though, he took things one step further and punched a hole into a nearby wall. While the punch wasn't clearly caught on camera, the aftermath absolutely was.

Sanford destroys his fightstick after tight USF4 loss

Plenty of standard Xbox, PlayStation, and GameCube controllers have been flung and tossed and smashed over the years, but it takes an unprecedented level of salt and frustration to destroy something even more expensive — a fight stick.

While Super Smash Bros. players use standard GameCube controllers, professional players in other fighting games like Street Fighter or Guilty Gear often use much bigger fight stick controllers that emulate an arcade cabinet set-up with large buttons and an extra long joystick. These tools often cost well over $100 and are also usually customized precisely by each player.

That didn't stop Sanford Kelly from destroying his, though. In an Ultra Street Fighter 4 match against Rico Suave in 2014, an insanely close defeat caused Sanford to lose his cool, walking away from the console and promptly throwing his fight stick against the ground. Players at the scene couldn't help but make light of the situation, with a healthy amount of memes spawning based on it soon afterward.

SonicFox goes super saiyan after winning EVO 2018

While many major names in the fighting game community have years of experience under their belts that snowball into esports stardom, one of the biggest names in professional gaming rose to the top almost overnight. Dominique "SonicFox" McLean made waves when they started playing NetherRealms fighting games like Injustice: Gods Among Us and Mortal Kombat professionally, and quickly garnered a huge fan-base for their incredibly unique personality and background. The openly gay, non-binary, and furry fighting game professional wasn't just all talk — they conquered countless games since their professional career started in 2014, even going on to win Best Esports Player at The Game Awards in 2018.

One of SonicFox's biggest accomplishments, though, was the conclusion of their year-long Dragonball FighterZ rivalry with legendary Japanese player Goichi at EVO 2018. An incredibly even set eventually concluded in SonicFox's favor, and they immediately jumped from their seat in heated excitement, donning their iconic furry mask, shaking Goichi's hand, and eventually falling to the floor in happiness.