ESPN Offers No Comment On R. Mika Outfit Ban During EVO 2016 Broadcast
(Last Updated On: July 18, 2016)

There’s a lot of talk going around right now about whether or not certain outfits could be used during the live broadcasts of Street Fighter V on ESPN 2 during the finals of EVO 2016 on Sunday, July 17th.

Things originally kicked off when FGC regular and EVO 2016 translator Ryan Harvey took to Twitter to explain why one of the characters during the finals, Rainbow Mika, had to stay in her alternate story mode costume, placing the blame on a decision made by ESPN.

When pressed further to provide evidence of the claim, Harvey mentioned his role as translator for EVO finalist Ai “Fuudo” Keita, and later stated that he wasn’t going to discuss the matter further…

“I was the Japanese interpreter for SFV and had to explain it to Fuudo. […] I’m proud that ESPN hosted us and would change nothing about the experience. Not interested in discussing referenced thread further. Thanks.”

I did reach out to ESPN to confirm if what Harvey stated was true and whether or not certain outfits from the Street Fighter V cast of characters were prohibited from being used during the broadcast, and ESPN’s press center was quick to respond to curtly state that they would not be providing a comment on the matter.

Of course, some gamers are a bit peeved because they note that women’s beach volleyball and cheerleaders expose just as much skin, and they don’t seem to have any problems broadcasting those images on ESPN. Others feel the move was smart to keep the broadcast family friendly.

You can see in the video below that Fuudo had to maintain using Mika’s story costume while playing against the legendary Korean player, Infiltration, which was broadcast live across ESPN 2 from the Mandalay Bay Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

R. Mika is no stranger to censorship and controversy. She was also on the receiving end of previous forms of censorship when Capcom had to modify her Critical Arts move and adjust the camera so it wasn’t possible to see when she slaps her butt as a taunt before performing the move.

What’s interesting is that Rainbow Mika’s outfit has mostly stayed the same in Street Fighter V from what it was when she first made her debut in Street Fighter Alpha 3 way back in 1998, almost two decades ago.

You can see what the bodacious and curvy wrestler looked like courtesy of a move list video from DrewTony’Z.

Censorship during e-sports broadcasts is actually becoming a more common thing. Gamers may have noticed that during the Mortal Kombat XL streams on Twitch, they conveniently censored out most of the Fatalities and some of the Brutalities, usually they would cut away or only cut back to the Finishers when they were complete.

If the way forward for making e-sports more mainstream means more censorship of favorite games and characters, I do wonder what that means for the future of the gaming industry?

Censoring out Mortal Kombat’s violence and gore strips away a core element of the brand’s identity, and it makes you wonder if they’ll be able to retain their core audience if they start to remove the gore as a way to please advertisers and broadcasters?

In the case of Street Fighter, I wonder if Capcom will reevaluate how they roll out costumes, making more conservative outfits in the future to be “e-sports ready”? Or will things simply go the route of Dead or Alive, where tournament organizers restrict certain costumes from being used during a tournament’s broadcast?

We’ll likely find out soon enough if ESPN decides to dip their toes back into the FGC’s e-sports scene and what sort of restrictions come along with that.

(Main image courtesy of memnoh)


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Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

  • C G Saturation

    Fitting, considering the mental age of the West seems to have significantly regressed. Can’t have all those little babies crying about some exposed skin.

    • Michael P

      The insane part is that it’s not even exposed skin, it’s exposed pixels!

      The cognitive dissonance going on between real exposed skin in women’s volleyball and pixels in a fucking vidya is bizarre.

      Out of curiosity I just checked ESPN’s website for the LFL and directly under an article condemning the revealing uniforms is a link for a naked shoot with a female US soccer player. Consistency much?

      ESPN seems to be suffering a rather strange bout of Bipolar disorder.

  • DizzyGear

    Aaaaaand now we know why Cammy’s nipples got removed in a recent patch.

    Also love how Mr Harvey drops this little bombshell in a tweet and than refuses to further discuss it after shit hits the fan.

    • I would almost be willing to bet that ESPN told him to zip his lips.

      • DizzyGear

        It indeed does feel like someone told him to shut up. At least the tweet’s not deleted. Yet.

  • So what happens if a player uses Urien in his thong costume? Double-standards again I presume? Or the usual “sexism is not possible against men” and “male power fantasy” excuses?

    This reminds me of how certain DOA5 female costumes (females only of course) were banned from certain tournaments a while ago.

    E-Sports means mainstream, and mainsteam means popularity, publicity, “family-friendly” and of course gender politics. The video games industry takes another step down the toilet. Just fucking flush it all down.

    • I’m curious about how they’ll handle Urien as well. Since male swimming usually sees dudes in tiny little speedos they’ll probably say it’s okay. I would be absolutely shocked if they ruled that Urien’s little hotdog wrapper would be deemed too inappropriate for the broadcast.

      • I assume it’ll be allowed in since Urien can’t actually access that Street Fighter 3 classic costume through a menu as far as I know.

        You need to do your Critical Art and it burns away your clothes unless you use PC mods to stop it.

        It would be crazy if they told people not to use Urien or not to use his Critical Art. We’ve seen people ban costumes but not mechanics.

        Mortal Kombat still revels in the fatalities for tournaments (which I’ve seen be in view of children – with a physical barrier to seats for us adults).

        • On many of the streams I’ve seen recently, the Fatalities are cut away from when they show MKXL tournaments. All during EVO and some of the ESL it seems as if they avoid showing the gore as much as possible.

          • I see, I’ll admit I’ve only seen a live MKX tournament at MCM London, a pretty notable venue but it probably only went onto Youtube officially, not getting televised like at least select parts of EVO.

            Fatalities are pretty easy to hide since they can only happen at the end of a match, but X Rays Attacks are another story. >_> There is pretty little to hide after that even if bodies are in tact after the move ends.

      • C G Saturation

        Yes, well I used to know someone from Cali who kept complaining that the female Street Fighter characters show too much skin compared to the male characters, despite all those mostly naked male costumes, both default and alternate.

        People only see what they want to see, so they can feel that they’re “progressing” by censoring everything.

        • Yeah I know what you mean. There are people who complain endlessly about Mai from KoF, so I tell them about King, Elizabeth, Mary, Chizuru (sp?), Whip and Leona, and they conveniently ignore them to focus on Mai.

          In some cases even when the men have less clothing on than the women (EA Sports UFC 2) people still ignore it to rag on the characters/games they don’t like. My view has always been that if I don’t really like the characters or mechanics of a game… I just don’t play it.

    • michael morales

      Zangief default costume also wears less than mika

  • Alistair

    Double standards at its best so it better for women to show some skin but when it comes to video games fictional characters the SJWs foaming at the mouth that see art a disease.

    They can’t be treated seriously everything is fair game to them to target everything & everyone.

    • They cannot attack real women who show skin because they would face dissent, and they would be oppressing women by telling them what they can and cannot wear.

      Fictional video game sexy female characters on the other hand cannot argue nor fight back, and most are mainly designed by male developers/designers. Which means that they are the perfect targets for SJWs/feminists, because as we know, SJW-feminists love to attack, bully and harass the weak who cannot fight back.

      • But a Cammy cosplayer was forced to wear pants some time ago.

        • lucben999

          I thought that was at a hotel, not a convention or anything. If I remember correctly someone complained to hotel staff that a girl was walking around without pants.

  • Muten

    Many players, especially from Central and South America tend to be very superstitious, they have a favorite costume and winning outfits for the character they play as, unfortually none make it to the main stage. I wonder if in the future one of them do and is force to change the cloths or the colors- lol JINX

    • A lot of people are thinking this will definitely be enforced on Laura and her “Bonita” outfit, which conveniently appeared DIRECTLY after the game got rated ‘Teen’ by the ESRB.

      That outfit was frequently used during the pools that were only live-streamed on Twitch/YouTube but if ESPN freaked out about R. Mika’s wrestling outfit then there’s no way they’re going to let Laura’s “Bonita” outfit onto the television sets.

      • Muten

        I remember awhile ago, the fighting comunity (in America) shyness to be label as e-sport, because all the dumb shit that comes from sponsors, i guess they were right. But EVO is not the be-all and end-all.