African Americans and Afro-Europeans have been dominating the FGC (fighting game community) scene for several years, across multiple titles like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and more.
The death of George Floyd in the US has had a rippling effect throughout the world, with calls for change from the Black Lives Matter movement spreading throughout gaming communities too.
As a tribute, we’re going to rundown some of the top black esport professionals currently in the FGC and why they’re so important to esports.
Dominique “SonicFox” McLean
SonicFox is an icon of esports (Picture: Robert Paul)
Born 2nd March, 1998 in Townsend, Delaware. At the age of 13, a friend of Dominique recommended him to compete in an offline tournament, and the player has never looked back since.
SonicFox is known for his dominant skill set and the ability to pick up any fighter and master the characteristics and game mechanics fairly quickly, winning tournaments across Mortal Kombat, Dragon Ball FighterZ and Skullgirls.
In 2018 SonicFox took home the award for Best Esport Player at The Game Awards in Los Angeles, and is also a five time EVO Champion, and currently the highest paid fighting game player in the world.
Why is SonicFox important to the FGC?
SonicFox shows the world you can earn a living in esports just within the FGC when you diversify your fighting game portfolio. As someone who identifies as a non-binary furry, SonicFox is also an inspiration for anyone who perhaps fears standing out from the crowd.
Victor “Punk” Woodley
Punk is one of the best players in Street Fighter (Picture: Robert Paul)
Born 29th July 1998 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Best known for his insane Karin play in Street Fighter V, Punk aka “The Alpha” is an esport competitor you don’t want in your bracket due to his winning consistency in numerous Street Fighter V seasons.
According to Esportsearnings, Punk is ranked #364 in the world and #61 in the country with a total earning of $333,580.68 from 54 tournaments.
Referred to as the Steph Curry of Street Fighter V at one time due to the fact at any given moment he can explode and take over a match, Punk’s sparkling resume speaks for itself.
Why is Punk important to the FGC?
Punk is probably the most successful North American SFV competitor today. Punk’s consistency especially is uncanny and is always a threat to other competitors. While EVO has been cancelled this year, it feels like it’s only a matter of time before Punk is crowned champion.
Bryant “Smug” Huggins
Smug is a big player in the Street Fighter scene (Picture: ESL)
This US Street Fighter player is also known as “Mayor of Duff City”.
Known for his Dudley in Street Fighter IV and Balrog in Street Fighter V, Smug is probably the most entertaining and jovial esport professionals in the FGC.
It was In 2008 when Street Fighter IV was released that Smug started his legacy, later signing with Rise Nation in 2017.
Smug also has become known as arguably the best G player in Street Fighter V, with some of his strongest performances shown in last year’s Capcom Pro Tour.
Why is Smug important to the FGC?
Smug provides personality to the FGC by being comical, showing us you can still be yourself and a serious competitor. Win or lose, the energy Smug portrays while in the spotlight is nothing short of infectious.
Derek “iDom” Ruffin
iDom won last year's Capcom Cup (Picture: Capcom)
iDom’s career in fighting games started after a really bad breakup from a relationship, where he used fighting games as a distraction.
Esportsearnings has iDom ranked #481 in the world and #97 in the country with a total earning of $264,598.80 over eleven tournaments. That breaks down to $24,054 per tournament.
iDom was well known for his skills in Street Fighter V but wasn’t really gaining the same kind of attention as many top name esport players. In 2019, iDom decided to travel more for competitions outside of the east coast and quietly started to make some noise, ending up finishing the year winning Capcom Cup 2019.
Why is iDom important to the FGC?
iDom is proof sponsorships aren’t necessary to be successful within the FGC, becoming the first non- sponsored player ever to win a Capcom Cup.
His initial reason for getting into fighting games also shows how you can take a negative life experience and turn it into greatness.
Benjamin “Problem X” Simon
Problem X won EVO back in 2018 (Picture: EVO)
Problem X is a British Street Fighter player who is known for his M. Bison.
Esportsearnings has Problem X ranked #1307 in the world and ranked #32 in the country with a total earnings of $103506.08 from 28 tournaments.
Problem X started tournaments around 2010 and, as his skills progressed, Mouseports sponsored him in 2011.
Why is Problem X important to the FGC?
There are not many top Street Fighter competitors from the UK, and Problem X has certainly put the country on the map within the scene.
Being the first EVO champion from the United Kingdom in 2018, Problem X has become a source of inspiration for many across Europe - possibly giving the scene an even wider reach.
These professional esports players are only a smidgen of the black esport players in the FGC. Some other honourable mentions include Maurice “SniperGodRees” Smith, Jonathan “KillahJ” Overton, Elias “HardcoreHenry” Henry, Juvon “Ibrahim Moizoos” Francis, Christian “Linux20z” Gordon, Phillip “Juggernaut” Polk, Ezra Samsora Morris, Corey Greene and yours truly Matthew “99centMcFury” Hixon.