WePlay Esports has put up a $150,000 prize pool across three major Fighting Games tournaments for Mortal Kombat 11, SOULCALIBUR VI and Tekken 7, for the WePlay Ultimate Fighting League Season 1.
The league’s first season – organized by WePlay Esports and professional cruiserweight boxing champion Oleksandr Usyk – is being held at the WePlay Esports Arena Kyiv, in Ukraine. It kicked off with Mortal Kombat 11 on March 25-28, where SonicFox took 1st place and the $15,000 prize. The SOULCALIBUR VI and Tekken 7 tournaments are coming up in April. 1xBet is the official global betting partner for WePlay Esports events in 2021.
Maksym Bilonogov, General Producer and Chief Visionary Officer at WePlay Esports, told Dexerto that the team is building on the success of their WePlay Dragon Temple tournament, which hosted some of the best Mortal Kombat players for a $60,000 tournament in December. “Expect new creative ideas and out-of-the-box solutions from our studio,” Bilonogov said.
“People often come to our events for the games but then also stay for the additional content we put out. To someone who tunes in for the first time, our clips, skits, AR performances, and other show elements may seem random and chaotic, but they are all part of a bigger story unfolding throughout the event,” he explained.
Holding such an event in these uncertain times is a challenge, but WePlay’s Lead Esport Manager, Eugene ‘Hitras’ Shepelev has assured that they are organizing “the safest and most comfortable competition environment for everyone.”
“The players and broadcast talent all get tested before their flights. Upon arrival, everyone is tested again and quarantined until the second test result comes in,” Hitras said. “Our safety measures are based on extensive research and the Ukrainian law. Only personnel whose tasks are essential to conducting and filming the competition are allowed in. In the arena, everyone has access to and is required to use face masks and gloves.”
- Mortal Kombat 11: March 25-28
- SOULCALIBUR VI: April 1-4
- Tekken 7: April 8-11
- Mortal Kombat 11: $50,000
- SOULCALIBUR VI: $50,000
- Tekken 7: $50,000
Where to watch
You can catch all the action from the WePlay Ultimate Fighting League over on Twitch.
Every competition in WePlay Ultimate Fighting League Season 1 will consist of a round-robin group stage with eight players in each group. That will be followed by a double-elimination bracket.
Additionally, in between the group stage and play-off rounds, there will be a special 2v2 Pocket Team Clash showmatch series.
Unlike other events that allow players to earn their spot through qualifiers, season 1 will be on an invite-only basis with sixteen combatants per game.
Going forward into future seasons, however, things will be quite different, as WePlay Esports will have the top players remain, while open-qualifiers are held worldwide for additional slots in the bracket.
While this may mean a lack of dark horses in the bracket, the cream of the crop in the fighting game community will be competing.
Mortal Kombat 11
In the Mortal Kombat 11 competition, legendary stars and up-and-comers were invited to battle it out, including the one and only Dominique ‘SonicFox’ McLean.
— WUFL | #WePlayUFL (@WePlayUFL) March 29, 2021
SonicFox lived up to expectations, taking the victory and netting themselves $15,000.
SonicFox was in competition with Console Gaming League’s Jarrad ‘NinjaKilla212’ Gooden, Noble esports’ Zoulfikar ‘Kombat’ Dayekh, Matthew ‘Biohazard’ Commandeur, and more.
The full roster for SOULCALIBUR VI’s tournament will feature 16 competitors from all around the globe, including major SOULCALIBUR muscles Linkorz, Japan’s Yuttoto, Singapore’s Shen Chan, and even EVO Japan champ Bluegod – making for a truly thrilling and stacked bracket.
— WUFL | #WePlayUFL (@WePlayUFL) March 29, 2021
James Banks, project consultant at WePlay Esports, said: “Our commitment to the FGC is for now and the future, and I can’t wait to show you everything we have planned. Your eyes will be opened and your minds will be blown…stay tuned!”
Ultimate Boxing Night
In addition to the fighting game spectacle, on April 10 the line between traditional sports and esports will be blurred when professional boxers from Ukraine, England, Hungary and Belarus duke it out at the WePlay Esports Arena.
In total, there are nine matches on the card, including a main event eight-round super middleweight slobber knocker between Ramil Gadzhyiev and Ivan Murashkin.
Pro boxer Oleksandr Usyk’s involvement is a highlight for some of the competitors too. A F0xy Grampa, who also boxes, said it was great to have Usyk involved: “I like that we’re supported by a champion status fighter because I train in some boxing myself, so it’s nice to have a crossover between some of the things I like most in life. I’m grateful for what he and the team bring to us.”
You can catch all the action on WePlay’s official Twitch channel, running until April 11.