Exclusive: MMG players and management speak up following mamba’s disappearance
We got the chance to have a chat with ex-staff and core members of the now disbanded Mamba Mode Gaming (MMG) Valorant team caused by the disappearance of the CEO, Gabe “mamba” Ren. The following is an exclusive interview to which answers have been crafted jointly by numerous ex-MMG members, including Jamie “Cad” Albright, the team’s coach, as well as a founding member of the MMG Valorant organization.
RunItBack: First of all, thank you for devoting the time to clarifying this horrible situation that has transpired at Mamba Mode Gaming (MMG) as well as for your time. If you could first tell us who you are and what role you have/had at MMG?
MMG: My name is Jamie “Cad” Albright. I was a Marketing Intern who did work on the admin side for MMG. With me are Creed, the team’s manager, Chase, the team’s founding member, Harmon, one of the team’s members, and Kevin, the team’s coach. They will provide responses to help provide crucial context to the situation from a player and management point of view.
RunItBack: So Mamba Mode Gaming’s CEO (Gabe Ren) has mysteriously disappeared without a trace. Except he was caught playing a game on Steam, suggesting that he is safe and sound. What do you think is Gabe Ren’s motive behind his disappearance? Is it the prize money?
MMG: Honestly, we do not know. In the past, Gabe disappeared for periods of 1 to 5 days, citing mental health issues and visits to see sick family members. We believe the most likely cause is mental health, as Gabe often communicated his thoughts with the team. As a group, we think it is unlikely that Gabe would just run off with the prize winnings, as he has put in a considerable amount of money into the organization. In the past, Gabe paid both salaries and prize winnings on time. However, there is evidence that staff and players began to receive payments late as his disappearance came closer. We hope that Gabe is safe and healthy.
RunItBack: Is there any legal action that you, the team, or anyone affiliated with MMG can pursue against mamba? Or were the contracts designed in such a way so that mamba is untouchable if a situation like this happens?
MMG: As far as I know, no one affiliated with MMG is pursuing legal action. According to the players, their contracts were very fair and were upheld until the last two weeks. Contrary to the rumors being spread, the contracts were never an issue. Gabe included a section on the contracts that related to Occupational Abandonment. Please note that this clause applied to both the players and Gabe. This clause was fair and not manipulative.
RunItBack: Before the unexpected disappearance, did you by any chance see any strange behavior displayed by mamba, indicating that something was not quite right?
MMG: Towards the end, Mamba started cutting pay for many members of staff. Other than lack of payment, nothing pointed towards Gabe leaving. On the last day he was present, December 20, he planned team bonding events. We had no clue he would disappear,
RunItBack: With mamba gone, Monkey Mode Gaming was set up in January. However, players are looking for opportunities. Can you clarify whether the new MMG will continue competing together or not?
MMG: All players will be going their separate ways. Everyone has received an outpouring of support. Players and staff have gotten offers, so it does not make sense to stay as a F/A five.
RunItBack: Also what about the academy team, Baby Monkeys?
MMG: For now, the academy team will be competing under the Baby Monkies banner. You can find them on Twitter at @BabyMonkiesVal. The team is being managed by @Astonlorenzoval.
RunItBack: It’s such a shame that a successful Valorant team has to go through this. Do you have any final words for other players and organizations pursuing a career in Valorant, or esports for that matter?
MMG: MMG would like to send thanks to all the teams we have played. Thank you to our former players and staff. Thank you to tournament organizers and staff on websites such as Liquipedia, VLR, TheSpike, and Run It Back. To players, pay attention to the signs and be vigilant. None of us expected this to happen, but we could see a scenario where this could occur in retrospect. To organizations, look out for your players and communicate consistently. In the end, MMG will go down as another example of poor leadership in the T2 esports scene. This is not the first time this has happened in Valorant, and it will certainly not be the last.
RunItBack wishes all the best to the former staff and players on the Valorant Mamba Mode Gaming roster. Thank you for your time and good luck in your future endeavours on the Valorant esports scene.
*Answers may have been altered minimally for the sake of clarity and brevity.*
Naim "EnKay" Rosinski