sponsored bannersponsored banner

DjOn6: “All we want is to help new LATAM talents”

9 min

This material was created with the support of our Patrons. You can support us!

Become a Patron
DjOn6: “All we want is to help new LATAM talents”
DashFight’s interview with a prominent representative of the LATAM fighting games community

It often feels like different regions bring their own unique spirit into the global phenomenon of fighting esports. We can distinguish the general subtle style (vibes?) on, say, European or Japanese scenes. And we certainly can feel the mighty energy of LATAM players — especially when they participate in international events and conquer the world.

Players from the South American region are on the top of the Brawlhalla global scene at the moment (yüz is the World Champion). In Street Fighter 6, we have MenaRD with the biggest Cup of this title. Nicolas and Scorpionprocs pretty much dominate the MK11 competition, and we can expect the same level in MK1. And these are just a few examples.

The more success the LATAM community achieves in fighting esports, the more interested the rest of the world becomes. Sure enough, DashFight is here to satisfy this interest. And to make this possible, we reached out to one of the most prominent people in the regional (and global!) FGC — Newton 'DjOn6' Perez.

DjOn6 plays a lot of roles in the industry. He is a caster and tournament organizer; some of his recent projects are work on First Attack 2023 and Blink Respawn 2023. DjOn6 is the CEO of TopSieteGames and an Esports Talent Manager for Bandits (yep, that exact organization that sponsors MenaRD and Caba). Also, he is a Project Manager of the 100% Dominican fighting game KnockOff. Impressive, isn’t it? We thought so and decided to try and make this interview possible.

We have prepared a few questions for DjOn6 — and we are super grateful for the opportunity to share the answers in this post.

What fighting game(s) could define the FGC in South/Central America? What titles are the most popular (beloved) in your community? (like Tekken in Pakistan and South Korea…)

In Central America and the Caribbean, the most popular titles are Smash, SF6, and MK1, in that order.

In my community, [Dominican Republic], it’s SF6. You know, we have the two-time CPT champion MenaRD. But next to SF6 are Smash and MK.

Do the South/Central American players still have obstacles for reaching the global competitive scene? Have they become smaller or intensified?

In LATAM, we have obstacles to global competition, and the most important obstacle is the VISAs. We have too many good players in Latin America, but because of the visas, they can't compete on a global level.

There are too many sad histories for this issue.

Many US players attend tournaments in South/Central America — especially if it’s a part of a global league and a chance to get a spot in the Global Finals. Do you consider this practice fair? Do they take those chances from local players? Or is this rather a chance to grow in fights with strong opponents?

There is a dilemma in this one, we need this type of tournament for the global league, but we need more opportunity for our people. 

A perfect example of this is CPT, they have WW for regions and CPT offline events where everybody can compete and have a spot in the finals. 

MK1 Pro Kompetition has Liga Latina, so we have 4 spots for Latinos to be in the Finals: Brazil, Mexico, LATAM South, and LATAM North, and we have 4 offline tournaments where you compete for points.

So I think we have a good opportunity to be in the finals this time. 

Back in the day, to be in Pro Kompetition Finals or CPT finals, you needed to fly to an offline tournament and win points.

Stemming from this, do you think that regional tournament organizers should have some more publisher help if their events are a part of the bigger tours with thousands and sometimes millions in prize pools?

Yeah! We need more help, more support, and more global tournaments in LATAM.

Has fighting esports become more popular in the region after MenaRD won the Capcom Cup? 

What about the Chilean twins Scorpionprocs and Nicolas? They took the world of MK by storm.

hahaha… After MenaRD won the CPT in 2017, all changed in the region. People believed more in esports, and more sponsors started to work with TOs and teams.

The twins are another incredible history in LATAM, from Coquimbo to the world. These twins won all the big tournaments in the USA and all tournaments in LATAM South,  incredible talent.

But with all that, we are still looking for sponsors, and we want to compete in the offline Pro Kompetititon tournaments, one in Brazil and Combo Breaker.

Do you personally like the development course of modern fighting games, SF6, MK1, T8? Is there something that could be done better?

I like it and love it. People cry too much on social media about nerfs-buffs, and all that is part of the FGC, the perfect fighting game doesn't exist.

Do you agree with the trend of simplified input?

You can simplify input, but not the neutral/footsies. SF6 has Modern Controls, and I see too many Classic Controls win the tournaments. 

First Attack also has some popular non-fighting tournaments. Should other fighting esports events have such a section — say, to being a vaster gaming audience? 

Yeah, you can share and have a spot for shooters or other games, and with that, you have in your tournament a different audience. After your tournament, this audience can join the FGC.

So I think it's good. 

As a talent manager, how do you actually look for skilled players? Should guys win tournaments or do you have other criteria?

The guys need to win tournaments, but not only win tournaments; they also need to be consistent in the Top 8 / Top 16 minimum. And as you know in 2023, players need to create content and be active on social media.

When I go to talk with a brand, the brand says, “Ok, your players are good, but we need to talk about numbers”. So we need numbers on social media to get sponsors.

For some players, it is difficult to create content and be active on social media, but in these times, it is almost obligatory.

FGC needs to change its mentality on these points. 

Who would you prefer adding as part of your organization — a prominent champion or a bright young talent with a promise to become an even greater champion?

I prefer a young talent. I can mold it and guide it with the new mentality. Some classic champs are more difficult to work with.

But of course, a prominent champion is always good for a team if this champion is updated on social media and has numbers.

Is there a fighting esports celebrity you dream to sign for your organization?

Not really, all we want in TopSieteGames is to help new LATAM talents.

Organizing tournaments is probably a difficult process. But what motivates you to do this? What do you enjoy the most in the fighting esports events?

After more than 9 years as a TO, I don’t feel it is difficult because of my day-to-day work. My motivation is to inspire people to compete and enjoy the tournament experience.

The thing I enjoy the most is the people and the community; you can see so many emotions. And you know, I love to do commentary.

Being a commentator is a dream come true for me.

Isn’t it scary to be on a mic? How do you prepare for commenting tournaments? Do you need to recover after this experience?

It's not scary for me to be on a mic. Before esports, I was an underground hip-hop deejay. People say Djon to me, but the real nickname is Dj On6 (Dee Jay OnSix).

I used turntables and animated people in my hip-hop era. Being in front of real people in a concert is different from being in front of a camera with a mic.

I think it is easier for me to be a commentator.

What would be your dream tournament to commentate?

EVO is the dream, doing pools at EVO for me is a dream.

I do commentary at Combo Breaker (Chicago), Smash Factor (Mexico), First Attack (Puerto Rico), and Furia Tica (Costa Rica).

What would be your dream tournament or even a global league to organize?

I work with EVO, on pandemic online EVO. But offline I want to be part of the team, organize and do commentary. You know, EVO is the tournament, bro.

We at DashFight are looking forward to the excitement of many tournaments in Latin America and to witnessing new global success by players from the region.

Thank you for the conversation, DjOn6!

This material was created with the support of our Patrons. You can support us!

Become a Patron