The Unfortunate Failure of Creator Clash 2

PawLoveArt/Shutterstock iDubbbzTV/YouTube Remix by Caterina Cox
Analysis

Influencer boxing charity tournament Creator Clash 2 lost money and cannot donate funds to any charities, according to a video posted by its founder Ian “iDubbbz” Jomha on Monday. So what happened?

The first Creator Clash, an influencer boxing event created by Jomha and his wife Anisa, was a massive success. In May 2022, Jomha took a bet that influencers and their audience were hungry for a new type of competition, one that would raise money for charity instead of views for internet beef.

His gamble was a success — 18 fighters competed at a packed-out Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida, and over 100,000 people bought the show’s pay-per-view. Fans were allowed to see a different side of creators generally known for building, streaming games, or just being lovable goofballs. The event raised over $1.3 million for charity.

But Jomha revealed in a video on Monday that the second Creator Clash put on in April was a massive flop. Despite massive energy at the larger Amalie Arena in Tampa and a broadcast roster of some of the most famous creators around, like Kaitlin “Amouranth” Siragusa and Charlie “Cr1TiKaL” White Jr., the event just couldn’t reach the heights of the first. 

With more expensive production, 24 influencers receiving $20,000 pay stipends, and a rented-out hotel for them to stay in, Creator Clash 2 lost money — over $250,000, Jomha claims.

It’s unclear if the 14 charities listed on the event’s website, like the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the AbleGamers Charity, will ever see a donation from this event. Only net revenue was slotted to charities, and there was a net loss. 

“I foolishly thought the event last year should be a minimum of what we can do this year, and that wasn’t true,” Jomha said in the video.

Why Did Creator Clash Fail?

Jomha puts part of the blame on the rampant piracy of the stream. He claimed that only 50,000 pay-per-views were purchased, compared to the 1.3 to 3 million people he claimed accessed the broadcast illegally. He plans to put the broadcast on YouTube for free and hopes people will still donate to charity. 

“I’m okay with us fucking up and taking a $250,000 loss, I’m not okay with charities not getting any money,” Jomha said in the video. 

With all those expectations, it’s understandable that Jomha had high hopes for this year’s bout. Influencer boxing is still a very hyped industry — just look at the dozens of articles and hundreds of social media posts full of speculation that YouTuber KSI will enter the ring once more for a rematch against professional boxer Tommy Fury. 

But if you look at the other issues, including a last-minute fighter replacement and poor marketing, you can better understand what went wrong. Putting all the blame on the stolen streams isn’t fair, considering the PR kerfuffle with which the event was led. 

The Froggy Fresh Controversy

A few weeks before the event was supposed to begin in March, internet rapper Froggy Fresh was cut from the roster for breaking the event’s “legally binding code of conduct” several times, according to a statement from Creator Clash on Twitter.

With a vague statement and confusion, controversy blossomed for clicks. Drama creators like Daniel “Keemstar” Keem and Kavos posted multiple times to social media about how unfairly Fresh was treated, creating a negative atmosphere around the event. Prankster JiDion even offered to donate $100,000 to charity if Froggy Fresh was returned to the card. 

Jomha doesn’t blame this controversy on the failure of the event in his video. But, he did all but ignore it until the event was over. That’s when he posted a YouTube video with 1.4 million views explaining that Fresh was removed for training with internet provocateur and white nationalist Sam Hyde. Hyde and Jomha had made internet documentaries on each other, which ended in bad blood and animosity.

“The reason I didn’t address this sooner is that I was terrified of jeopardizing the success of the event because there are a lot more people involved than just Anisa and I,” Jomha said in the video

A PR Nightmare

That negative stigma lingered around the event and may have swayed some of the goodwill earned from the previous year. But Creator Clash 2 also had very little marketing, with fighters mostly staying away from supporting the event on social media for fear of receiving backlash.

Ian’s wife, Anisa Jomha, describes herself as a “boxing promoter” in her bio and posted about the event 20 times on her Twitter in the months leading up to the event. Harley Morenstein, the host of YouTube’s Epic Meal Time, defended the event in its lead-up on Twitter, dealing with a wave of harassment in response.

Now that the event is deemed a failure, those same drama-tubers revel in their victory. Nicholas Deorio described the event as a “massive fucking failure,” and Brandon Buckingham tweeted, “Not even people who hate [Jomha] are happy about this.”

A Sad Ending For Creator Clash 2

It’s sad that there will unlikely be a third Creator Clash or the charities will receive donations. Creator Clash was unique because it brought influencers and fans together in a rarely seen way. There wasn’t any manufactured trash-talking from a Paul brother or multi-million dollar bets meant to build hype. The joy of the series is watching creators not known for being muscled-up meatheads practice and succeed in fighting in the ring.

What often happens on YouTube is drama engulfs a good plan. Once control of the narrative is lost, influencers who make a living off hate and propaganda can sway the audience’s opinion. It partially became that after the event was labeled a sham, using charity as a smoke screen for bad behavior. Drama can engulf any good plan, swaying public opinion and leading conspiracy theories into conversation.  

But this whole controversy is ending on a slightly lighter note. Jomha did a 24-hour live stream after releasing his latest video, raising over $130,000 for nine charities. He’s done the ice bucket challenge, inhaled a spoonful of cinnamon, and shaved off his mustache to reach specific charitable goals. It may not raise as much money as the first Creator Clash, but it still gives something back to the community.

What do you think of the Creator Clash 2 news? Email [email protected] to share your thoughts.

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