LI Joe will save us all (and Street Fighter V's American scene)

Taylor Cocke
LI Joe and his father embrace at EVO 2016
LI Joe and his father embrace at EVO 2016 (Stephanie Lindgren)

Meet the new hotness in the North American FGC.

Technically, Joe “LI Joe” Ciaramelli has been well known on the scene for long time, but his impressive run at Evo 2016 established him as a fan favorite and the most lovable dude around. He’s earned the undying love and respect of the crowd.

I mean, watch them lose their minds when he and his Nash qualify for top 8 in Street Fighter V.


He’s just so pumped, I can’t even handle it. Shows of emotion are nothing new at fighting game tournaments, but LI Joe is taking things to a new level. A class act of the highest order, he managed to capture everyone’s hearts in NA by being the only Western player to make it into top 8 at EVO – and then give us gif after gif of pure, unadulterated gold. GOLD, I say.

LI Joe advances to top 8 at EVO
LI Joe advances at EVO 2016

This is what esports is all about. This is a man who has worked his butt off to get to the top, and was simply happy to be there. That smile, though.


He’s even gracious after loss. Plus he can work a crowd. Look at him address the crowd after dropping to yukadon in loser’s quarterfinals.

LI Joe thanks the audience after getting knocked out of EVO in 5th place
LI Joe thanks the audience after getting knocked out of EVO in 5th place

You’re my new hero, LI Joe. Just keep doing you.

Taylor Cocke is a fan. Follow Taylor on Twitter @taylorcocke.