A Chicago tournament organizer alienates THE COOL KID93 at the Chicago Gaming Coalition event

By on March 14, 2018 at 12:00 pm

This past weekend marked the debut of a Chicago-based event that integrated various esports communities. The 3-day event, “Chicago Gaming Coalition,” involved PC communities from games like Counter Strike: Global OffensiveRocket League, and more. In addition. fighting game tournaments took place on Saturday, including Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, Dragon Ball FighterZTekken 7, and many more.

An exchange between Chicago-based sponsored player Marcus Redmond (BxA|THE COOL KID93) and Michael Peter Hionis, who took part in organizing the FGC side of things, was posted on Twitter by the player. The conversation is regarding payments owed for playing in the tournament. Due to the way the event was organized, FGC winners had to ask to receive the money later — electronically — within seven days.

In posts in the Chicago Fighting Game group and in interviews with us, Redmond stated that he won’t attend any further events that Hionis is part of because of the way he was treated. “Frosty is the only one I know of,” Redmond told SRK, stating that he won’t attend another Frosty Faustings, an event co-organized by Hionis. “But I won’t be attending another if he is hosting it. One thing I want to make clear is my issue is with Michael Peter Hionis! The Frosty Faustings staff as a whole has done us well. Never been a minute’s trouble. But if he is there hosting it and is the head person there, then I’m not attending it.”

He also stated that Hionis interacted with his wife, Joy Redmond, at the event and “disrespected her in tone.” Hionis assures that the exchange was heated on both sides, and further testimony states that Joy Redmond was very insistent about asking for payout. Hionis wasn’t directly involved in issuing rewards.

Hionis has publicly apologized for the interaction with THE COOL KID93:

Shoryuken reached out to Hionis and he provided his statement. He plans to engage with Redmond’s sponsor, BxA, to talk about the incident and resolve the issue.

“I own this mistake, I am 100% to blame for this negative interaction. As a person that takes pride in making guests happy at events that I am a part of, this behavior is unquestionably unacceptable. Regardless of how many times Marcus asked that morning about the total amount of his final payout money, there is no excuse for my impatience,” Hionis told Shoryuken.

“Marcus Redmond, for this act of disrespect, I would like to formally reiterate my previous apology. I am sorry,” he continued. “When I publicly apologized on Twitter and Facebook, it was in a direct reply within your posts, specifically intended for you to see. If my apology came off as forced or  insincere, that was not my intention, as I genuinely am sorry for snapping at you.”

Mike “ElvenShadow” Boczar wasn’t involved in organizing the event or the exchange, but he also issued a statement in the group:

“First of all, let me just say that there is no defending what Hionis said. It was unprofessional and not the way to handle things. He and I had a long talk about it yesterday shortly after I found out. He has since apologized and CGC staff WILL be paying CoolKid within 5 to 7 days, just like every other competitor,” Boczar wrote. “Frosty Faustings is run by a very large group of dedicated staff in the FGC who also work at a ton of other events. Hionis also works on other FGC events [such as Combo Breaker], not just FF. I won’t name them all, but if you were to boycott FF based on the mistake of one individual at a separate event. you would need to boycott a lot of other events using the same logic, it would be unfair to all of the other people who work so hard on FF and who work hard on other events. Hionis usually does great work and this type of thing hasn’t happened before. I’ve spoken with him personally and can PROMISE you that nothing like this will happen at FF.”

Eric Boyer, who is part of Mad City — the company that organized the event — explained some of the background of how the event was run. Initially, fighting games were not part of the weekend lineup. The company has focused on PC titles only in the past.

“Let me just say this, I do not support the response that was given in those screenshots and that does not represent what we trying to build here with this event,” Boyer wrote. I’d still like to learn a bit more about it, and I’m very sorry that things played out the way they did. Because of the timing in which the FGC team joined us with this event, a lot of decisions have already been made at that point in previous months. Paying out every winner over the entire event after it ends, while setting an expectation of no longer than 7 days is one of those things. The FGC team proactively communicated that this would be a little tough for the community and what is historically done, but it was a decision that had already been made and baked into the logistical flow of the event.”

Last night, Boyer made a new post, stating that all FGC competitors received their prize money. John Fazio, the president of N3rd Street Gamers — a company that also participated in the event — has stated that in all future FGC-related events, payout will be issued within the same day of the events.

Some additional problems were encountered at the event: there were a couple of issues with FGC setups (I attended the event myself, but only for Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2. Some of the setups didn’t have the latest 2.1 patch installed from the get-go, but that was quickly rectified.) John “Post Malort” Fatima, who competed in Tekken 7, has told SRK about numerous problems with that tournament. Many consoles didn’t have all the DLC characters — including Geese Howard, whom Post Malort uses.

An unrelated incident also occurred during the three-day tournament: a fight broke out between two CS:GO players, resulting in the arrival of police and an ambulance. The incident was contained, and didn’t impact the event overall. Mad City provided a statement regarding that situation, reported by the CS:GO website Dust2.us:

In reviewing the situation, we found it was contained to only two individuals. The [other members] of the teams were not involved, and both have agreed that they do not condone violence. We have banned the two players that were involved in the confrontation.

The teams are now dealing with a ‘red card’ and a 4v5 situation. They have 30 minutes to provide a sub to replace that player, who will pay an additional entry fee, with our approval. We will not allow any ringers in. It will be a subjective decision because at the end of the day, this tournament is for the community and we will make a decision that’s best for the community.

Source: BxA|THE COOL KID93; Dust2.us; interviews

Luke "Woocash" Siuty is a Chicago-based writer who specializes in ArcSys titles. A Guilty Gear veteran, he plays Baiken and commits atrocities by playing Sin when he's not busy pondering the ArcSys Cycle. He's always down to talk on Twitter, so send him tips. He's good at OS-ing in real life, not so much in video games, though.