UMISHO holds up her new CEO championship belt. | YouTube/TampaNeverSleeps

Fighting game esports major Community Effort Orlando commonly abbreviated to CEO, played host to one of the sport’s most cathartic moments in recent memory. That’s thanks to out trans “Guilty Gear Strive” pro Claire “UMISHO” Harrison.

Fresh off a third-place finish at Combo Breaker last month, UMISHO entered CEO 2024’s “Guilty Gear Strive” tournament as one of several favorites to win. Her undefeated run through pool play landed her a spot in the winner’s bracket as the tournament moved to the Top 8 final Saturday evening.

UMISHO herself called the Top 8 field “nuts” for the collection of skilled players utilizing characters with a diverse mix of strategies. Alongside her were fellow favorites William “Leffen” Hjelte and Matthew “TempestNYC” Tulloch, the latter of which defeated UMISHO in the winner’s finals at Combo Breaker one month prior.

After winning her winner’s semifinal matchup against Aaron “Aarondamac” Godinez, UMISHO clashed against Leffen in winner’s finals. Leffen proved dominant in that matchup, dispatching UMISHO 3-1 in their best-of-five set and sending her to the loser’s bracket finals.

UMISHO would meet TempestNYC in loser’s finals, marking another entry in their celebrated rivalry as two of the most skilled North American “Guilty Gear Strive” players in the world. UMISHO jumped out to a 2-0 lead early with a mix of aggressive offense and well-timed defense, but TempestNYC battled back to force a decisive fifth match. She dropped the first game of the match only to explode back to win the final two and advance to grand finals, using CEO’s unique wrestling ring stage setup for a perfect celebration of the win.

UMISHO’s work wasn’t done though. Waiting for her in grand finals was Leffen, the only person to blemish her record during the tournament. Things took a complete 180 during grand finals, however, as UMISHO swept Leffen 3-0 to reset the double elimination bracket and then sweep him again in grand finals reset to top the field.

She bounced back and forth across the ring holding up six fingers, one for each of the six straight matches she won to defeat Leffen, as the crowd erupted at her performance.

The win was UMISHO’s first on the 2024 Arc World Tour, pushing her to the fourth-ranked pro in tour standings based on points. She tied for fifth place at the 2023 Arc World Tour Finals.

The joy of Saturday’s victory remained on UMISHO’s face during the medal ceremony as she hoisted her CEO championship belt and accepted praise from fans and peers alike. She continued celebrating the win on social media, saying “I’m the fucking best. Say my name. Say my fucking name … I’m so fucking happy dude.”

CEO saw additional LGBTQ representation in medal ceremonies. In one of the odder finishes of the weekend, out nonbinary pro RedIAmNot claimed seventh place in the same tournament UMISHO won while out trans pro Wavie took home fifth place in the “Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising” tournament.

All eyes now turn to the Evolution Championship Series (or EVO for short), the most high-profile fighting game major in the world, on July 19-21, to see if UMISHO can claim her second EVO title and earn an automatic bid to the 2024 Arc World Tour finals.