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'I'll be taking a step back from competitive play... I have no drive' - Street Fighter 5 pro Punk is changing gears until offline events return

To shift focus to hosting, streaming, and growing the scene

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • March 25, 2021 at 3:53 p.m. PDT • Comments: 71

Panda Global's Victor "Punk" Woodley hit the Street Fighter 5 community with some somewhat somber news today as he announced a kind of hiatus from competitive online play.

This is specifically not a retirement, however, as "The Alpha" plans to still stay very much connected with the community. He is now looking into contributing to the scene in significant other ways while waiting for offline events to return.

As one of the absolute strongest Street Fighter players on the planet right now, Punk has affected plenty of community members with his incredible in-game abilities. The young champion has won numerous major events, made it to the grand finals of both Evo and Capcom Cup, and has amassed quite the online following as a result.

Of course, the fighting game community has been feeling the effects of COVID-19 in some very real ways as the traditional means of going about tournaments (holding massive gatherings at hotels or community centers over the course of full weekends) have simply not been in the cards as of late.

We've naturally seen a rise in network play as well as in the number of online tournaments. While thankful to have a means to play our favorite fighters at all, many in the scene, including Punk, take issue with the fact that lag that inherently comes with network bouts throws something of a wrench in the works for competitive contests.

"I am here to tell you guys that I will be actually taking a step back from competitive playin'. My heart is not into playing online competitively," he says in his video message to fans. "I have no drive."

He goes on to specify that he will, in fact, still participate in NLBC, a weekly online East Coast tournament, and will be regularly streaming multiple fighting titles. This messaging comes across as a bit confusing, but it may imply that Punk is more specifically not planning on participating in the recently announced online Capcom Pro Tour 2021.

"I will be focusing on hosting tournaments and commentating," he continues, noting that he'll be hosting a weekly online event for the West Coast as well as a larger "Beta Bash" event for the Middle East. Woodley shares his larger goal of eventually getting his own tournament, the aforementioned Beta Bash, on the Capcom Pro Tour as a ranking event when things transition back to an offline setting.

It seems we'll still be seeing plenty of The Alpha moving forward, just perhaps not in the final brackets of larger online contests. For the tourneys he does enter, we can likely expect a more cavalier approach (though that does not at all mean we shouldn't expect to still see him win). Listen to Punk's full message via the embed below.

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