ESAM leaves Panda Global, promises to explain situation cover image

ESAM leaves Panda Global, promises to explain situation


After over seven years with the organization, ESAM has announced that he has been dropped from Panda Global.

The competitive Smash community has largely shunned Panda Global after the esports organization got involved in a scandal that led to the downfall of Smash World Tour. Despite the drama, however, Eric "ESAM" Lew stayed with the esports org. Until now.
On January 15, 2023, ESAM revealed that he was leaving Panda Global after seven-and-a-half years, making him a free agent ahead of Genesis. But what had Smash fans confused was that ESAM claimed it "was not my decision."
"I'll give an explanation what's happening later," Esam said.

Panda Global deals with aftermath of Smash World Tour and Nintendo drama

Smash fans were pleasantly surprised when Panda Global initially announced that it was teaming up with Nintendo to create an official Smash circuit. But this intrigue was replaced with frustration when Smash World Tour shut down before the championships tournament, blaming Panda Global's CEO for the situation.
As the Smash community continued to condemn Panda Global and its leadership for allegedly sabotaging the Smash World Tour and acting shady and aggressive towards event organizers, Panda stayed silent about its CEO. Then, once gamers felt it was too late, Panda announced that CEO Dr. Alan was being removed. Even more drama ensued when Dr. Alan offered up his own statement taking no responsibility for the situation and even blaming SWT for its own collapse.
2018-10-07 / Photo: Robert Paul for The Big House
2018-10-07 / Photo: Robert Paul for The Big House
After all of this, Panda Global was left with no choice but to postpone the Panda Cup Finals indefinitely. Smash players were boycotting the event left and right. Their own players were dropping out of the organization. The esports community had largely turned its back on Panda Global, once propped up for its support of the grassroots Smash scene.
This left only ESAM and Tyler "Marss" Martin at the organization when it came to Smash.
Now it seemed like Panda Global was the one to let ESAM go instead of the Pikachu main joining the boycott. ESAM was with Panda from the beginning. Letting him go made fans speculate that Panda Global was struggling to survive. On Reddit, many Smash fans wondered if Panda Global was shutting down completely. Smash, after all, was its main focus.
Many fans added that they felt bad for ESAM and understood why he clung to Panda Global despite the controversy. ESAM has had a lot of drama in his past, including racism allegations. Now ESAM will have to hope a new organization picks him up going into the 2023 tournament season.
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Olivia Richman
Olivia Richman
Editor | Twitter @y05h1eggz
Olivia Richman is a seasoned esports writer and editor who enjoys creating unique content about Smash, Apex Legends, Halo, Rainbow Six Extraction, Call of Duty, and basically every other game! Olivia enjoys the Pokemon TCG, Kirby, and being a persuasive thief in Fallout and Outer Worlds.