Creator Clash 2, an influencer-run boxing event, failed to raise money for charities, organizer says

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Creator Clash 2, a boxing charity event run by online influencers, was unable to raise money for the 14 charities creators had pledged to support, with one of the co-founders saying the event lost $250,000.

Creator Ian Jomha, known as iDubbbz, said after last year’s successful event that he “foolishly thought” inviting more creators to spar for funds would translate to even more pay-per-view buys. However, efforts to up the $1.3 million raised last year (for the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Heart Association and the Healing Horse Therapy Center) were a bust.

“Despite it being a fun event, despite good fights and a lot of creators sacrificing a lot of time, money and energy, we lost $250,000 on the event,” Jomha said in a YouTube video, titled “The Harsh Reality of Creator Clash 2, uploaded Monday.

After events wrap, organizers typically start by paying off the expenses — broadcasting, hotel, travel and other costs — before then paying the charities, Jomha said.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t even reach the break-even point,” he added.

Jomha and a spokesperson for the event did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Representatives for the charities listed on the event’s website — the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the AbleGamers Charity, the American Kidney Front, the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, the Kids Cancer Foundation, the Sarcoma Foundation of America, the American Heart Association, the Critical Role Foundation, the Longest Day, the Paralympic Sports Association, the Humane Society of the United States, Merrimack Hall, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Healing Horse Therapy Center — also did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.

“I was wrong, and I feel a lot of shame, because a lot of people were trusting me and trusting our team to protect the event and protect the charities,” Jomha said. “It feels particularly bad because this isn’t like a regular business where it’s all a personal loss and I can just … walk away from it.”

In his video, which has amassed more than 131,000 views since it went live Monday afternoon, Jomha attributed the loss to the event’s lack of piracy-prevention measures. Of the 1.3 million to 3 million people who accessed the broadcast, he said, only about 50,000 were pay-per-view viewers.

On top of the piracy, he said, Creator Clash 2 was more costly because of the larger arena and more elaborate broadcasting.

The event, which brought unlikely internet celebrities together to box in April, was expected to be larger this year. It was held at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, which was double the size of last year’s venue. There were three additional fights, as well as more commentators and charity partners.

Booking hotels for creators and paying to feature more fighters incurred additional expenses, Jomha said.

In addition to Jomha, other creators who participated in the event included: Alex Wassabi, John Randall Hennigan, Harley Morenstein, Michelle Khare, Andrea Botez, William Haynes, Chris Ray Gun, Haley Sharpe, Marisha Ray, Myth, Hundar, Arin Hanson, Jarvis Johnson, Mika, Alanah Pearce, Leonhart, CrankGamePlays, Dad (Nathan Barnatt), AB (Ab Ayad), Jaelaray, Abelina Sabrina, Jack Manifold and Dakota Olave. None of them immediately responded to requests for comment Monday.

In the weeks before the fight, organizers had faced some backlash when the event announced that YouTube rapper Tyler Cassidy, known as Froggy Fresh, had been dropped from the lineup because he violated the event’s code of conduct.

Cassidy said he was never given notice of the violations. He also alleged that Jomha threatened him with a lawsuit and asked him to return the $15,000 he received for training expenses.

In an interview in April ahead of the event, Jomha denied suing or planning to sue Cassidy but added that organizers asked him to repay training expenses so they could put the money toward resources for a new fighter.

Following the decision to drop Cassidy, backlash and speculation over the reason he was removed fueled numerous YouTube drama videos. Fans threatened to boycott the event, with some accusing organizers of being disingenuous about their charitable efforts.

In Monday’s video, Jomha addressed those accusations directly.

“There are some people floating rumors around that we’re pocketing money from Creator Clash, and that’s extremely hurtful, because it has been nothing but the opposite,” he said, adding that the event has come at a “huge sacrifice.”

Jomha said he is still unsure of the way forward. For now, he said, he plans to upload the full Creator Clash 2 broadcast on YouTube for free. He said he hopes some viewers will choose to donate.

“I want to make it more right,” Jomha said, adding that while he is OK with the organizers’ messing up and taking a financial hit, he’s “not OK with charities not getting any money.”

In the video’s caption, Jomha wrote that he aims to upload the broadcast Tuesday.

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