The ESL UK Hearthstone Premiership showdown that took place this past weekend at the MCM Comic Con in London was an action-packed event, for a variety of reasons. Two of the UK's best players battled it out in the grand finals, with George “BoarControl” Webb defeating Gareth "Cipher" Rouse to claim the trophy. And then, as reported by ESports News UK, a naked man ran onstage, wore the trophy as a hat, and was finally taken out by a Jedi.
"I was watching the tournament as a fan," said the Jedi afterwards, who was actually a cosplaying spectator by the name of Stephen Kent (who, sadly, was not dressed in his robes for the Hearthstone show). "I used to be a doorman and I'm a brown belt in judo so it came naturally to me to help out. Streakers just do it for the attention and try to ruin events for everyone, so I just wanted to get him off as quickly as possible.”
I severely regret my choice of words! #Hearthstone #Streaker https://t.co/LkKOUsH4ddMay 31, 2016
Tragically, the streak was not captured on camera, nor was it acknowledged by the casters, Alexander “Raven” Baguley, Ceirnan “Excoundrel” Lowe, or PC Gamer writer Simon "Sottle" Welch, who presumably wanted to keep the focus on the card slinging. After the event, however, the ESL issued a statement saying that its UK team “dealt with it appropriately.”
“There are a lot of minors attending MCM so the streaker was handed over to the security who handled it further and he was removed from the venue,” a rep said. The organization also gave Kent a set of headphones for his role in handling the situation.
In some ways, the pantsless shenanigans are an unfortunate distraction from the event itself, which as ENUK noted was ESL UK's most-watched domestic esports event yet. But I think it's also a sign of, if not maturity, then at least a rite of passage: There's no greater indicator that you've gained legitimacy in the mainstream sports world than someone running naked across your playing field.