Justin “King Jae” Nelson’s third place finish in Sunday’s UK Tekken 7 Championship Birmingham Qualifier won him a spot in the upcoming finals at MCM London Comic Con. But because of alleged collusion between him and Charmel “C-Krizzle” Miedji Koloko during their match in the third round of the loser’s bracket, both players were banned from the UK Championships.
C-Krizzle was already qualified to appear in the UK Championship finals, having already made it into the top three at the previous UK Championship qualifier on April 29. In addition, both C-Krizzle and King Jae are part of the same gaming league, Distinct G, so they know one another and are colleagues.
The match between the two does indeed look unusual. C-Krizzle appears to move with hesitation and slowness towards the end of the match, missing clear chances for potential hits and combos. The commentators take note of this erratic behavior during the match itself, and the Twitch chat archive shows fans speculating that the match is “rigged” or could be evidence of “collusion” between the two players.
Today, Bandai Namco UK issued a statement via Facebook banning both players from the Tekken 7 UK Championship finals:
Unfortunately, during the event two players have been suspected of collusion in order to manipulate the results of the tournament. Bandai Namco Entertainment does not condone such anti-competitive behaviour therefore we have come to the decision to revoke the qualification spots for District G | King Jae and District G | C-Krizzle.
The statement also reads, “We will amend the rules to have a clear clause on collusion as a result of this event,” suggesting that there were no prior rules in place regarding collusion or match-fixing ahead of this situation. Compete has reached out to Bandai Namco UK, but did not receive comment before press time.
In an email exchange with Compete, King Jae denied colluding with his fellow player: “In the tournament I had to fight 10 people to get to 3rd place. The tournament structure allows people to pre-emptively think collusion will happen because whoever has qualified before hand is allowed to re-enter the tournament to place again. Me vs C-Krizzle was a match where if I won, I would have a better chance of qualification in the final Tekken 7 tournament.”
According to King Jae, Bandai Namco did not approach him to discuss the circumstances surrounding the ban or the alleged collusion: “Bandai Namco UK responded in a harsh manner and didn’t even approach me for my side of the story.” He described the ban as “a clear witch hunt to assassinate my name and my brand, which I’m extremely unhappy about because my morals and integrity doesn’t collide with cheating.”
C-Krizzle did not respond to a request for comment. When asked about the ban, tournament organizer Justin Xavier of Electronic Dojo sent along a screenshot of a message he had drafted to post publicly on Facebook which began “Kotaku doesn’t have a great rep amongst the FGC community,” but didn’t otherwise comment on the allegations of collusion or Bandai Namco’s ban.
Kotaku, which is one of the parent sites of Compete, has covered fighting games for years. A look through Compete and Kotaku’s own archives will show that we’ve been covering the good and bad of fighting games for quite some time.
UPDATE - 12:00 PM, 5/10/17: Charmel “C-Krizzle” Miedji Koloko reached out via email about the circumstances of his ban from the Tekken 7 UK Championship, and unlike his opponent, said that the tournament organizers contacted him yesterday afternoon to tell him about the ban.
As for his unusual-looking performance in the match, C-Krizzle told Compete that he “was moving back and forth looking for a low to parry (and show off).” The tournament organizers nonetheless told him that “after careful analysis,” they believed he had thrown the match.
C-Krizzle emphasized that he believes these accusations to be baseless: “Sure, I want my teammates to do well, but to just hand any of them a ‘free’ game is out of the question. I know there was less pressure on me since I had already qualified, but from what I can gather, there are a lot of people that that were just hating when King Jae got through… I’m surprised by the personal hate I’ve seen on social media, mainly targeted at King Jae.”
The tournament ban came as a devastating shock: “I’m actually very upset, and I only got sponsored two weeks ago, so I’m new to these exposures. For me it’s not a good start.”