T1 drops GOAT MkLeo, Smash community stunned and concerned cover image

T1 drops GOAT MkLeo, Smash community stunned and concerned

MkLeo is the top player in the Smash Bros. Ultimate scene but that didn’t stop him from being let go from T1. What’s going on?

The Super Smash Bros. community has been left shaken up after T1 announced it was dropping Leonardo "MkLeo" Perez.

MkLeo is indisputably the best Super Smash Bros. Ultimate player in the world. He has remained in the number one spot on UltRank thanks to his continued success as major tournaments and online challenges alike. He has become known for taking mid fighters and using them to completely dominate in matches against top players using high-tier characters.

So it was definitely a surprise when T1 announced that the esports organization was saying goodbye to MkLeo.

On Twitter, T1 wrote: "We wish Leo all the best in his next adventure! He will always be part of the T1 family."

While it sounded like a positive send-off, the community was immediately horrified. Smash commentator Phil "EE" Visu lamented, "So it begins..." Others called it the "biggest fumble of all time." But while the Smash esports scene was clearly confused, it seemed like a possibly ominous sign.

Just recently, The Guard laid off every single employee. The seemingly swift and sudden decision left a bad taste in the esports community's collective mouths. But it was just the latest in a long string of esports organizations, publications, and companies shutting down and downsizing.

And now, without the Smash World Tour or Panda Cup, it's possible that T1 saw no promising financial gain from keeping MkLeo on board. It's really no secret that there's no money in Smash, especially with Nintendo publicly shunning (and sometimes sabotaging) the esports side of the game. The prize pools are notoriously low compared to other titles as well.

So if even MkLeo wasn't making enough to be worth a sponsorship, where does that leave other Smash pros, especially ones without a strong social media or content creation presence?

For now, Smash fans are anxiously awaiting MkLeo's next move. It seems like esports orgs with a Smash roster may fight to add him to the lineup. Could he end up on another big org like FaZe Clan or Team Liquid? Right now, it's unclear what MkLeo's future is — and the future of Smash is also just as hazy.