Goichi beats Sonic Fox for first place at EVO, creating the greatest moment in sportsmanship ever

If only more contests could end with this much class.

The Evolution Championship Series annual fighting game tournament wraps up today, but all eyes were on the final round of the Dragon Ball FighterZ contest last night that pit defending 2018 champion Dominique “Sonic Fox” McLean against long-time rival Goichi Kishida in an intense final battle for the champion’s belt.

The fight was all top-level play, with both players taking advantage of the smallest of slip-ups by their opponent. Sonic Fox managed to fight his way back after what appeared to be an insurmountable deficit, but in the end it was Goichi who pulled out the win.

Catching Sonic Fox out on an uncharacteristically ill-timed combo, Goichi managed to juggle and then drop Sonic Fox’s last character, and went in for a relatively simple win. It was a five-second sequence, but once it started, the crowd knew Goichi had sealed a victory.

And as soon as the game recognized that he’d won, Goichi dropped his stick and burst into tears, his hands trembling from the leftover nervous energy of the fight. He crouched over his stick and raised his hands to his watering eyes, overcome with emotion and leftover effort.

What makes this moment all the more beautiful, though, is how the defeated champ reacts. McClean’s first thought is to reach out to his rival to treat him like a genuine friend: congratulating him, rubbing his back, and laughing in celebration along with the gathered EVO crowd.

Goichi is rendered helpless for nearly a minute, covering his eyes as he regains his composure after winning, and McClean – all smiles and laughs – pats him on the shoulder and gives him a hug. It’s impossible to fake what’s shown on camera: Two top competitors, one genuinely happy to cede his title to his rival after a well-fought battle.

McClean pulled his victorious comrade up to face the crowd, lifting his arm to claim the win in front of the massive Las Vegas crowd. Tears still on his face, Goichi found the strength to raise his hands to respond to the massed chant as Sonic Fox joined in the applause for his friend.

It was possibly the sweetest, most wholesome moment I’ve ever witnessed in competitive sports, and the respect and kindness on display on that stage last night made me feel better about humanity in general. More of this kind of thing, please.