Chris Badawi is standing down as co-owner of esports organization Renegades and is passing over full control to fellow co-owner Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles, sources close to the matter inform the Daily Dot. While Badawi will still look to remain in esports, he will likely take some time to consider in what capacity that will be.
“He can’t believe this happened,” one person close to Badawi said. “He is in a state of shock and disbelief. He’s read some of the allegations made against him and just can’t believe some of them. He is afraid this is turning into a circus and that it will hurt the players. At this stage it seems an impossible fight and with the players’ futures on the line he isn’t willing to risk those to win.”
Badawi has been all over the headlines recently—for good reasons at first. On June 19, his team, Misfits, announced its rebranding as the Renegades, and also that it had acquired Australian Counter-Strike side Vox Eminor. A few days later, however, Riot penalized Badawi for alleged tampering, banning him for a year from owning League Championship Series teams or having an official role in the league for allegedly trying to poach Team Liquid players Yuri “KEITHMCBRIEF” Jew and Diego “Quas” Ruiz. This culminated over the weekend when Badawi was briefly banned from the North American LCS venue—a ban that Riot labelled a “mistake,” explaining that it only applied to backstage areas. Then, just as public opinion seemed to shift behind Badawi, Gamespot published a series of allegations about Badawi from prominent LCS and Challenger Series team owners.
The new claims lacked any hard evidence, but were a serious step up from those previously levelled against the team owner. They included Winterfox owner Brian Cordry’s assertion that Badawi offered to withdraw Alexey Ichetovkin from an upcoming match against Team Dragon Knights in exchange for money, as well as Cloud9 owner Jack Etienne’s claim that Badawi spoke to players who under contract with his organisation. Andy “Reginald” Dinh added to the chorus, going so far as to allege that Badawi attempted to poach his star player Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and—even more hard to believe—his own brother, Dan Dinh. In a statement to Gamespot, Riot said that it had heard multiple, “credible” allegations regarding Badawi over the past few months, but that its investigations only found evidence regarding the Team Liquid players.
Despite admitting it had never been approached by Badawi, Team Impulse added its own statement to the mix, asserting that the organization would “stand behind” Riot’s ruling and accused him of vague “ulterior motive-driven actions.” This, and the sudden sortie against Badawi, has led many to question whether this was coordinated smear campaign against an owner who had managed to anger the upper echelons of competitive League of Legends. In his short time on the scene, after all, Badawi had made a lot of noise lobbying for players’ rights at the expense of the very team owners now making allegations against him. Still, others believed that the preponderance of so many similar allegations against Badawi surely must mean they contained more than a kernel of truth.
Badawi and Mykles did not respond to a request for comment on this article by publication time.