EVO 2020 Cancellation – Co-Founder Accused of Sexual Misconduct

EVO is one of the biggest competitive gaming events in the world. However, it hasn’t been immune to the recent wave of allegations. While unrelated, this has swept all areas of gaming in the last few weeks. EVO 2020 has been canceled, following some accusations made against the CEO of the event. This comes after recent global events led to a massive restructuring of the event. In the wake of extra of these allegations, the entire event is now canceled. The EVO 2020 cancellation leaves the fighting game community in a bit of a weird place.

Some serious allegations have been made against the co-founder of the event. This has come on to of a lot of allegations against individual players in recent weeks. Very few competitive scenes have been immune to these problems. Nearly all games present at EVO would have had some difficulty in their roster of players now containing someone pretty problematic.  However, the allegations against the co-founder have rendered the entire event moot with an EVO 2020 cancellation.

EVO 2020 Cancellation - Co-Founder Accused of Sexual Misconduct

© Evolution Championship Series

Joey Cuellar is the former president and co-founder of EVO. He has been accused of sexual misconduct and predatory behavior towards young boys. Allegations like this against him date as far back as the 90s. In light of this, there has been a toll taken on EVO’s image. This lead to numerous developers and big-name players dropping out. While they were a big part of the event, they couldn’t support it in light of what happened. With games and players dropping out left right and center, it is no surprise that the event has been fully canceled. The amount of allegations against players and organizations in recent weeks is going to leave a pretty different looking competitive community for a lot of games in the latter half of 2020.

EVO 2020 Cancelled – Games and Players Pull Out

The allegations against the EVO 2020 co-founder didn’t immediately cancel the event. Instead, players and games took the decision to remove themselves from the situation. This started with big names like Bandi Namco, developer of games like Smash Bros, Soulcalibur, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and Tekken.


They weren’t the only company to remove themselves from the equation. Capcom, NetherRealm, and others pulled support for the event immediately after the allegations. Players also took themselves out of the running, most notably SonicFox the winner of five previous EVO events and the highest-paid fighting game player.

EVO’s Response

The EVO 2020 Cancellation came after all of these games and players pulled out of the event. Within 24 hours EVO officially made it known that Cuellar would no longer be active in EVO.

The statement specified that they are ‘working towards’ separating him from the company entirely. While he is no longer actively involved in EVO, an entire separation might be a bit harder. Until a complete separation can happen, and it becomes clear that Cuellar can no longer profit from EVO, it might be difficult to convince players like SonicFox or developers like Bandi Namco to actually support the event.

The EVO 2020 cancellation leaves quite the hole in the competitive fighting game roster. As communities continue to deal with their own waves of allegations against players, it might be some time before big tournaments return. These allegations have been made against players, streamers, and organizers in petty much every competitive fighting game. While the current pandemic has put a stop to in-person tournaments, it is hard to predict what those events will look like once life returns to normal.

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