“My eyes started blurring out of focus. I started feeling dizzy. I started feeling like, ‘Is this even real? Am I even in reality right now?’ That’s how I felt.”
Florida Mayhem players won the 2023 Overwatch League Grand Finals! The tournament took place at Toronto's Mattamy Athletic Centre between Sept. 28 and Oct. 1, and Florida Mayhem players swept the Houston Outlaws 4-0 for the win. We sat down with the winning team for an interview!
Florida Mayhem interview: Someone shares his esports journey
Florida Mayhem experienced victory after victory at the 2023 Overwatch League Playoffs and Grand Finals. For example, Jordan "Gunba" Graham became the coach of the year while Choi "Mer1t" Tae-min became the Overwatch League Grand Finals MVP. Additionally, Ham "Someone" Jeong-wan earned the 2023 Overwatch League MVP title plus Dennis Hawelka Award.
"When I joined the league after my stint in Contenders, I was aware that fans and other pros in the scene did not have a great perception of me. So I focused on proving all of them wrong," Someone told esports.gg. "I made that my motivation. And every time I beat strong players on different teams, it would just kind of fuel this joy and the motivation inside me."
Someone added that when the 2023 season came around, Florida Mayhem became an even stronger roster. That added to the fuel and momentum. "I think that's how we ended up with this MVP award in my lap," he said.
This momentum and energy synergy were highlighted on the live stage as Florida Mayhem gave the audience a phenomenal performance. On Day 1 of the Playoffs, the team went 3-1 against the Houston Outlaws before sweeping Dallas Fuel 3-0 on Day 2. When it came down to the Grand Finals, Florida Mayhem went 3-1 against Boston Uprising. In the final match for first place, Florida Mayhem bested the Houston Outlaws 4-0.
Florida Mayhem's WhoRU talks growth and progress
During the interview, Lee "WhoRU" Seung-jun also shared a story about growth. WhoRU's early days in the scene involved matches in Overwatch Contenders. Then, he played in the Overwatch League. After a few team changes, WhoRU joined Florida Mayhem.
"I've met so many people throughout the years," WhoRU recalled. "It's true that I've progressed through many teams throughout my career. But through that process, I've met such a variety of people. And with each individual, interaction, and relationship, I've learned so much. Through that, I've also just gained a deeper and deeper understanding of the game. And I think that's what helped me just never want to let go of the game and want to keep going."
Rupal and Checkmate on Florida Mayhem's win
The team's efforts paid off as they lifted the 2023 Overwatch League Grand Finals on the main stage. While fans and supporters celebrated Florida Mayhem's victory with cheers and applause, some players also experienced an unforgettable moment.
"For me, when we first lifted up the trophy, I think my instant reaction was like, 'Is this even real?' It really felt like another level of something I've never felt before," Rupal "Rupal" Zaman said. He added that the victory was thanks to multiple years of work by not only himself, but the entire team.
"I think the championship itself really symbolizes how good of a team we are," Rupal continued. "Being able to play so many different compositions, learning so much about the game. And we won pretty dominantly, I would say. A huge part of that is just how good we are as a team, not just individually. So I really appreciate my team's hard work."
Then, Baek "Checkmate" Seung-hun jokingly emphasized his own incredulity.
"Well, once I knew we had won, I thought I was getting a heart attack," Checkmate said. "My eyes started blurring out of focus. I started feeling dizzy. I started feeling like, 'Is this even real? Am I even in reality right now?' That's how I felt."
A victory for everyone
Meanwhile, Sung "Ch0r0ng" Yoo-min and WhoRU shared similar sentiments about the win. They both said they saw the happiness of their teammates. In turn, they also felt happy. Although Ch0r0ng wanted more of a challenge in the Grand Finals against the Houston Outlaws, he said he felt great when he saw all of his other teammates cheering and rejoicing after the 4-0 sweep.
As for Mer1t, he compared the moment to the success he had in Overwatch Contenders. He said that winning the 2023 Overwatch League Grand Finals felt multiple times better.
On Day 3 of the tournament, Florida Mayhem's coach, Gunba highlighted how Mer1t's an incredible hitscan player. When the Grand Finals came about, Mer1t went on to win the Overwatch League Grand Finals MVP Award.
Additionally, Oh "Maka" Eun-seok, he showed his humbleness after being congratulated on the victory. "I've only been here for two to three months with the team, but my older brothers — they just gifted me this win and I'm so grateful for it. I'm also kind of incredulous," he said.
That's all for now. Stick around on esports.gg for more Overwatch 2 news, interviews, guides, and updates!