ESPN Makes Street Fighter Player Change Character’s Thong Due To ‘Broadcast Standards’

ESPN Makes Street Fighter Player Change Character’s Thong Due To ‘Broadcast Standards’

On Sunday night local time, ESPN aired Evo 2017’s Street Fighter 5 finals. During Ryota “Kazunoko” Inoue’s match, in which he played as the character Cammy, ESPN requested that Kazunoko change the character’s costume from her default thong leotard to her formalwear DLC outfit. (Cammy does not wear pants in this formal outfit, either, but she does wear a full-coverage pair of black briefs, rather than the thong that her other costumes feature.)

Kazunoko managed to play one finals match with Cammy in her default costume. The video above shows ESPN’s version of the broadcast on the left, compared to a YouTube video of the online live-stream of the match. As the video on the right shows, an Evo staffer halted the match and pulled both players back into the Character Select screen. After listening to what the staffer had to say, Kazunoko changed Cammy’s costume. Kazunoko’s agent confirmed to us that the costume change was a request from the Evo staffer: “He says he was asked to change costume by tournament organiser and he’s not sure why they asked.”


Kazunoko looked surprised to be asked to change Cammy’s costume

We reached out to ESPN to ask whether the costume change was due to the revealing nature of Cammy’s thong leotard, and an ESPN representative confirmed that it was: “The request was made per broadcast standards.”

A similar incident unfolded during ESPN’s broadcast of Evo 2016, in which Keita “Fuudo” Ai made it to the finals with the character R. Mika, whose default costume also features a thong. During the finals, Fuudo changed her costume to a less revealing outfit. Ryan Harvey, one of the translators for Evo 2016, tweeted that the costume change had occurred because ESPN had deemed R. Mika’s default outfit to be “too revealing”.

Cammy has been wearing a high-rise leotard since her first appearance in Super Street Fighter 2, although her original outfit appears to boast an additional few centimetres of upper buttcheek coverage. Similarly, R. Mika has been wearing a high-rise leotard since her first appearance in Street Fighter Alpha 3, although again, the original version appears to feature ever so slightly more fabric.

In any case, both characters have a long history of baring their upper buttcheeks in Street Fighter, and by the time Street Fighter 5 rolled around, their animated butts have levelled up from pixelated blurs to clearly-rendered cheeks. In SF5, both Cammy and R. Mika’s nether regions also get treated to multiple camera zoom-ins during their special moves and victory dances. Their thongs get a lot of on-screen appearances.

Luckily for ESPN, which routinely airs beach volleyball matches, both characters have at least one costume that features a few more square centimetres of butt coverage.


  • I wonder if that extends to males as well. Are Zangief’s pants acceptable but Urien’s secret alternate costume’s pants unacceptable?

  • A bit of butt cheek sends the network into a spin, but it’s perfectly fine to show 2 guys in a ring beating each other to a bloody pulp.

    • “A time-out has been called. Let’s switch over and see if the cheer squad has a show for the fans!”

  • ESPN interfered in a sporting event? Granted its ESPORT but seriously, If a broadcaster interfered in a sporting event, interacting with a player in a game…they might knuckle under for the cash, or they might cancel and find a broadcaster who can stay the shit out of the sport.

    • Yeah, I was under the impression that video games had been ruled as art in the US giving them second amendment protection (I could be wrong about that amendment number)

      This is important to this discussion because that’s censorship of artistic vision.

      • I believe that is correct but that would have no bearing on the broadcasting rules that ESPN would be under

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