In an exclusive interview with Richard Lewis, Rick Fox, the former owner of Echo Fox revealed disturbing details regarding controversial investor Amit Raizada and the sale of their slot in the League of Legends Championship Series.
In the interview, Lewis goes over the entire process of selling Echo Fox's LCS team, as well as why Raizada was chosen as an investor despite his troubling past. It seems that Raizada came highly recommended from friends of Fox’s, which led him to not do his due diligence in selecting the partner.
“I definitely learned a lesson in picking partners,” Fox said. “And that’s my lesson in all of this. But it doesn’t mean that I should not continue to try and right this situation. That’s what I’m fighting for. That’s why I bought the controls back twice. I spent time and money - a lot of money to get the control back.”
Fox explained to Lewis that Raizada changed the working agreement that he had with Echo Fox and structure it so he would benefit most all without telling anyone. This could be considered fraud. Essentially, Rick Fox and his team were under the impression that because Raizada had purchased the debt that the team had accrued, it would be able to be pushed out past 2019. However, Raizada ended up “putting a gun to the team’s head” as Fox puts it, and threatened to recall the debt immediately.
For his part, Fox took a very forward stance on protecting the investors, who he says, just like him, lose out on this current agreement.
“We can only go so far when at the end of the day, people don’t want to be in business with an individual like this. Like this guy doing this stuff. And none of us want to be in it… so he has held the company hostage and he’s doing what he’s been known to do before. For me, unfortunately, two years in I discover the nature of who he is, right? And shame on me for not going to Google.”
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This protection of investors is why Echo Fox shed most of its FGC roster over the past year in an effort to stem the bleeding that the company was enduring from its debts. It also explains why Echo Fox went with a younger, less experienced roster in the LCS.
“My son says all the time: ‘Dad, just Google it.’ I come from an era where you just read a newspaper… so I learned that lesson. But here we are. Look, this is a community to me. Esports is a community of young and old. I’m old, my son’s young. It’s a community of races and creeds and games that everyone can play. It’s not a community of bullying. It’s a community of anti-bullying and yet here I am in this situation watching a bully go to work.”
Riot initially gave Rick Fox and his team at Echo Fox 60 days to eject Raizada from the organization. When they were unable to do so, the LCS worked with Echo Fox to find a buyer for their LCS slot, significantly decreasing the value of the remainded of the organization after the sale would be completed. Because LCS were helping facilitate the team sale, they ultimately have final say on which team they decide to allow in the league, which has added another 30-40 days of consideration time from the league.
This decision should be wrapped up in time for the 2020 season, and Riot has said they are doing all they can to make sure the transition is smooth. For his part, Fox says that the developer has been very accommodating.
Fox has gone on record stating his regret for how the situation was handled, despite the welcoming attitude that the League of Legends community has had for his team since their inception in 2015. He elaborated to Lewis that this won’t be the end of his journey in esports, or for his team, although it may be under new ownership.
“To see this type of behavior conducted, forget that it’s Echo Fox, this type of behavior being done at the community at large in general… there’s situations out there where I’m not the first, but I want to make sure I’m the last. And if I have to go down fighting, then I hope I pass the baton to someone who can pick it up and continue to fight cause there’s just no place for it. I refuse to just crawl in a corner and just go away because bad people do bad things and win.”
With contributions from Dexerto writer Michael Gwilliam.