Meet SonicFox, The Queer Furry Who’s Destroying Everyone Else At Fighting Games

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Dominique “SonicFox” McLean competed in his first Mortal Kombat tournament in 2011 at age 13. Back then, his opponents didn’t know what they were up against. But SonicFox knew his own truth: he was queer, he was a furry, and he rocked at fighting games.

Seven years later, the four-time Evo champion has shown the rest of the world his truth, too.

“I was a furry before I started playing fighting games,” he told Kotaku when he visited our offices in Manhattan this month. He described the experience of discovering his blue fox fursona at age 10 or 11, buying his first pair of fox ears around age 16, and wearing them to boost his confidence whenever he competed.

Over the years, as he racked up tournament wins in Mortal Kombat, Skullgirls, Injustice and Dragon Ball FighterZ, he has become the highest-paid fighting game player in the world.

Thanks to all of that prize money, he can afford his custom-made fur suit, something he’s wanted to wear to tournaments since he was a kid.

SonicFox is also a full-time student at New York Institute of Technology, trying to fit homework and exams between his video game practice schedule and jet-setting around the world to tournaments. You’d think the crown (if not the fox mask) would weigh heavy on his brow, but SonicFox seems to enjoy humbling himself by switching from familiar games to new and unusual ones.

Recently, he’s dipped a toe into Super Smash Brothers, thanks to a challenge from Smash pro ZeRo.

He has a whole new uphill climb ahead, and we can tell, because Kotaku senior reporter and Smash aficionado Cecilia D’Anastasio beat him twice before he got a win of his own. He was missing his secret weapon, though – his fur suit, he said, was in the shop for repairs.


  • Furries and Gay people have access to video games who knew. Here is me thinking they were just normal people like every one else.

    • Good on you, my friend! I know that it may be difficult to believe when you have such an excellent view on the world, but did you know that some people actually believe that furries and/or gay people should be gated from the activities they enjoy? It’s appalling, I know, but that’s precisely why little things like this–which give visibility to proud representatives of such groups–are a good way to combat the message of those “gaters” among the normal populace.

      That’s why people such as you or I who understand these things should celebrate when the voice and pride of someone like this is given the kind of platform that others would deny them.

    • All the article does is showcase a positive story about a LGBTQIA+ competitor. Which by itself is pretty cool. He may also be a positive influence for other LGBTQIA+ players and maybe even a source of inspiration – once again, pretty cool.

          • I don’t think taxonomy really has an end. You could say the goal is an unceasing, limitless categorisation of subjects. A taxonomist might know; I don’t. I also don’t intrinsically know why people don’t understand what inclusivity is or why it works, or even why it’s not at all a bad thing to acknowledge people who could benefit from being seen and supported. Once again, maybe a taxonomist might know.

    • It clearly doesn’t. The reason why he was interviewed is that he’s one of the best players in the world. He also has other hobbies and interests which he shared–and is clear that as someone who left the closet recently, his sexual orientation is very important to him. Do you believe that the interview should have suppressed those bits just so nobody could accuse them of being “virtue signalling” or whatever?

      • Well if it was me I’d hope that my sexuality wasn’t the most interesting thing about me and I’d want to be talking about what I’m skilled at and why.

        I wouldn’t like to be described with such words that refer purely to my sexuality such as the title of this article.

        But that’s just me.

        • Those are words he’s chosen himself though, not descriptions ascribed to him by the author. He’s been very public in his adoption of them, it’s clear that he wants to be identified in that way.

          It’s cool that you wouldn’t want to be identified that way, but he does and the article is about him, so I’m not sure what the issue is.

          • Just my opinion. I’m not bringing up an issue. That’s just how I’d feel.

            No offence, but does every comment need to bring up an issue? That feels kind negative to me. Sometimes I just want to say how I feel and see if a conversation starts. I don’t mean to be adversarial, I hope that’s not how I come across.

            If I make it big I’d hate to be described as “hetero gamer Rowan destroys opponents”. My name is enough.

          • Some of the other comments are sarcastic, hard to read a straight comment in the middle of that. If I misread your intent I’m sorry.

          • No, you are wrong amd must be told how wrong you are. There is no room for discussion because you are wrong.

          • Though there are so of us who don’t care who has sex with who. So it just becomes useless fluff in an otherwise interesting piece.
            Look at celebrity interviews for new movies, they start ranting about how hard it is to be a working parent etc. I don’t care I just want to know what your movie is about. This is the same deal. I dont care, I just like fighting games.

          • It’s not like you have to care. I’m sure you can appreciate that there are people that do, though. There’s a lot of power in seeing someone ‘like you’ doing well and unafraid to be who they are, especially when you’re part of a group that’s been demonised or harassed a lot.

          • I understand that completely, but as I dislike the video cause it was mostly boring, I will now probably…. knowing here be branded a homphobe because I didn’t like a video by a gay person.
            I know I am over reacting to make a point here, but you know the crowd here as well as I.

          • The point remains: the video will be enjoyed by certain kind of people. If you didn’t enjoy it, then it was not for you.

            As an advice, and please believe I mean it genuinely and friendly: Not liking this kind of things doesn’t make you homophobe or whatever; you have the right to your own preferences. However, when the title made clear what kind of article was this and you still clicked and watched and got annoyed, /then/ came into the comments to make your displeasure known and be defensive about it… well, now that’s eyebrow-raising; chiefly because the whole issue was entirely unnecessary and avoidable.

            If you didn’t like it, understand that it was not made for you and just move on. Even better, if you believe that it’s content that you will not enjoy, just don’t click and keep scrolling. This is the internet; you’ll find something that caters to your preferences in less than a minute, even just here, on this same website. There’s 0 necessity to waste your time or to crap on the enjoyment of those for whom the video was made.

        • You are not wrong to think like that, but I imagine you yourself haven’t come out of a closet? Neither have I, but I’ve heard it’s intoxicating, especially if it’s something that you had to hide for years.

          I think articles like these need to be framed in this way because we’re still at a young stage in our acceptance of LGTB folks as a society. It gives heroes to a demographic that has been demonised or discriminated against and sends the message to those that remain in the shadows because they are afraid of said demonising and discrimination that it’s ok to be who they are. Hopefully, they also help cement the idea among the general populace that these are people like anybody else, with the capacity of being remarkable, too.

          In an ideal world, you’d be right: there’d be no point whatsoever making such a fuss about a person’s identity because it’d be widely understood that it bears no relevance on their quality as a human being.

          • In reply to above, you’ll notice I was mentioning it, in reply to something a commentor said. Rather then just making my displeasure known as you state. Don’t let the events get in the way of your story though. I will give points to the pretending to be polite at the end in that passive-asshole way.

          • It is a bit sad if you believe that somebody cannot disagree with you and be genuinely polite. Maybe you have a story, too, which requires people who disagree with you being secretly assholes so you can dismiss what they are trying to say?

        • If you read above I don’t care about it either and think it does stray off topic, we’re here to hear about gaming, not where dicks are flying, but @zombiejesus does make a decent point above to one of my replies, although I may not entirely agree.

    • Agree. don’t much care what he does in his free time. To each his own, and I don’t envy him his identity with all the haters out there.

      I would be far more interested in hearing about how good he is at games and what he thinks made him that good.

      • Surely he talks about that some other times, or rather all the time, this is the era of youtube. When he chooses to talk about his sexuality, you may also choose not to watch, if it doesn’t interest you.

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