Image via Ubisoft/@kirill_vision
According to multiple sources and logs of internal communications reviewed by SiegeGG, a Ubisoft probe, initiated by Mirage, into alleged poaching by Oxygen Esports in the acquisition of Mitch “Dream” Malson and Ethan “Nuers” James has ended with no punishment due to a lack of sufficient evidence.
A management-level Oxygen representative confirmed the investigation's existence in a statement to SiegeGG.
Dream and Nuers are reportedly set to join Oxygen for the beginning of the 2022 season. Nuers was announced by Oxygen yesterday, March 4.
According to multiple sources, Oxygen’s team was informed of Leo “Kyno” Figuerido and Evan “Yoggah” Nelson’s intention to join XSET following their run at the Six Invitational that ended on Feb. 16.
Dream informed Mirage of his intention to sign with Oxygen on the first day of the transfer window, early in the morning, according to one source. He moved out of Mirage’s team house later in the day. The offseason transfer window began on Feb. 21 at midnight PST.
That leaves a period of around four to five days in which Mirage said the alleged conduct by an Oxygen representative occurred, as the team would likely be building a list of prospective players to fill the hole Kyno and Yoggah left.
It’s not straightforward, though. According to a source with an understanding of the contract, Dream’s contract with Mirage ended on Feb. 21 at midnight. Nuers, in that time frame, was still technically a free agent transfer, but was set to join Mirage when the transfer window opened, according to multiple sources.
There is a slim window in which a non-license holder Oxygen representative could have contacted Dream, and not broken any rules by doing so. Due to his lack of contract, Dream would be classified as a free agent during this small window, and no communication would have to be approved by Mirage.
Mirage’s contention, according to sources, was simple. It did not feel realistic, that in mere hours into the transfer window, Dream elected to go to Oxygen without rule-breaking levels of contact from Oxygen’s non-license holders in the four days leading up to his decision.
Per the public Global Rulebook, in order to initiate a player transfer, the license holders of each team have to discuss or sign off on any contact between a license holder and a non-license holder. Mirage, effectively, claimed that license holder to license holder contact was never initiated during the time period Oxygen was required to do so – if an Oxygen representative contacted Dream in that four-to-five-day period.
The Global Rulebook states, “Only License Holders are allowed to get in touch with other License holders in order to discuss and/or initiate transfer of Player(s). License Holders are not authorized to reach out or contact any Players or Team Staff from another Team for the purpose of a Player transfer … Breach of this rule will be considered poaching and will be heavily sanctioned within the scope defined by the Penalty Index.”
By declaring in internal communications that there isn’t enough evidence, Ubisoft is stating two things: that the hours between Dream’s contract ending and him communicating his intention to leave Mirage is more than enough room for Oxygen to have theoretically communicated a formal offer to him, for him to weigh his options, and for him to notify all parties of his intent to take the offer. Or, Mirage simply did not have enough evidence to prove their claim beyond all shadow of a doubt, a standard required to ensure teams are not punished for happenstance or acting quickly.
The exact date Mirage reported the alleged behavior was not divulged to SiegeGG, but according to sources, the probe was closed on March 1.
In this case, Ubisoft has concluded that there isn’t enough evidence to punish Oxygen for allegedly breaking the rules – no fines and no sanctions occurred following the complaint.
A Mirage representative declined to comment. Ubisoft could not be reached for comment.
“We cooperated with the investigation, and we were demonstrated to be operating above board in all relevant circumstances,” a management-level Oxygen representative said when asked for comment.