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The Shady Side Of NICKMERCS

Nick "NICKMERCS" Kolcheff burst onto the scene a little over a decade ago as a competitive "Gears of War" and "Halo" player. In the time since, he has cultivated a massive following on Twitch and YouTube. These days, he's one of the go-to streamers for "Call of Duty" and "Apex Legends" content, with millions of subscribers tuning in to see him blast his way through the competition and talk a good bit of trash as he does it.

Summer 2023 has seen a bit of a downturn in NICKMERCS' career, however, as the streamer has become embroiled in controversy. Fans continue to debate over NICKMERCS' public comments and actions, but one thing is for sure: This is not the first time he's landed in hot water in the court of public opinion. Over the course of his storied career in content creation and pro gaming, the FaZe Clan co-owner has rubbed people the wrong way on more than one occasion.

NICKMERCS and Ninja almost came to blows

Given his super competitive nature, it's no real surprise that Ninja has ruffled a few feathers in his day. Even so, one of the most intense reactions certainly came from when NICKMERCS threatened to beat him up prior to a "Halo" tournament. As NICKMERCS once explained on stream, "[Ninja]'s really good at talking s*** ... he'll get right under your skin real quick."

During an online gaming session years ago, Ninja apparently pushed Nick's buttons one time too many. It got to the point where Nick told him he needed to cool it, or there would be consequences when they saw each other at their next tournament. True to his word, Nick said that he went to the next event fully ready to fight Ninja. When he finally saw Ninja in person for the first time, he grabbed his fellow competitor and threatened to beat up Ninja's entire group. Things eventually de-escalated once they were able to talk things out peacefully, but it definitely made for a tense moment for both future streaming stars.

To be fair, both of the streamers were still pretty young when this happened, and their careers were just about to take off. NICKMERCS said that he ultimately doesn't regret going after Ninja like he did, but he also doesn't think he'd get quite that carried away now. It's unlikely that things would get so heated these days, especially since the pair seem to be on much better terms.

Streaming with a Warzone hacker for content

NICKMERCS has a real distaste for people who cheat in video games, as well he should. After all, as a pro gamer himself, it makes sense that he'd take issue with people breaking the rules and winning through means other than their own natural talent. In the past, NICKMERCS has gone so far as to say that people who cheat at video games should be in jail. 

That doesn't mean he hasn't enjoyed playing with cheaters on a few occasions, however. In one memorable stream that has since been posted to his YouTube channel, Nick realized that his duos partner in "Warzone" was cheating. Rather than report them immediately, however, NICKMERCS decided that this would be a great opportunity for some content. He began asking the cheater about their killstreak and why they do what they do, and got some pretty entertaining footage out of it. At one point, the cheater even managed to take out another cheater who had been griefing Nick for a while.

Although a great number of viewers got a kick out of Nick's interactions with the cheater, others argued that this kind of behavior could be seen as an endorsement of cheating. Some also pointed out that it seemed like a double standard was being created, since neither NICKMERCS nor the cheater were held accountable for this stream.

Asking Apex Legends to ignore a hacker who was helping him

That wasn't NICKMERCS' last time squadding up with a cheater, however. In September 2021, he and 72hrs were playing "Apex Legends" when they suddenly realized they'd been teamed with a hacker. At first, the pair believed that their teammate was just a very skilled player. It didn't take too long for them to catch on, however, as the player in question was straight-up defying the laws of physics in the game. Although NICKMERCS has ranted against hackers in "Apex Legends" before and since, he decided in this case to ask Apex Security member Hideouts to go grocery shopping and to look the other way.

In defense of his actions, NICKMERCS simply explained, "I'm on his team, I don't care ... I'm ready to reap the benefits." He added, "I've put my #timein," presumably referring to the number of matches he's played in which "Apex Legends" cheaters ruined his day and didn't see any consequences. Even though NICKMERCS has definitely paid his dues in "Apex Legends," a number of viewers were dismayed to see Nick enjoying these ill-gotten rewards.

Throwing a mask-less event amidst COVID-19 precautions

Twitch garnered a great deal of backlash in late 2021, when the platform announced that San Diego TwitchCon would be requiring attendees to wear masks and present proof of vaccination as part of its attempts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These requirements were put in place after a number of streamers announced they would not be attending the con, which had not put any such rules in place until very shortly before the event.

Mere minutes after TwitchCon announced its safety protocols, NICKMERCS tweeted that he would be holding his own separate event in the area. In what seemed like a very pointed response to Twitch's guidelines, NICKMERCS promised, "No mask requirements, no vaccine requirements at our events. Do you, and we'll see ya there."

This announcement created quite a divide among Nick's followers. Some people gave him props for wanting to do his own thing, but others felt like he was unnecessarily passing judgement on people who still wanted to wear masks and take precautions against COVID-19. Some couldn't help but draw comparisons between this event and a massive barbecue that NICKMERCS had held the year before, when the novel coronavirus was undoubtedly still a major concern in largely populated areas. That event also did not require masks, and NICKMERCS received online criticism for holding what was referred to as a "super spreader event" on Twitter.

For his own part, NICKMERCS responded to the people questioning his mask-less San Diego event by saying they were "[living] in fear of a virus," which didn't exactly smooth things over.

MFAM Gauntlet slammed for lack of female representation

This is a tricky one, as NICKMERCS received a good bit of backlash due to the rosters for one of his MFAM Gauntlet tournaments — but he also didn't pick every player in the tourney. An "Apex Legends" competition was held on March 31, 2023, with 20 participating teams battling for a prize pool of $200,000. NICKMERCS and tournament organizers picked 20 team captains, who then filled out their squads for the contest. When the full line-up was announced, the tournament was criticized for only including two women players among dozens of participants.

Some saw this as a slight, as well as an odd bit of exclusion. Social media lit up with tweets from players going to bat for the women in the "Apex Legends" community. Since Nick is the figurehead of the event, many commenters took him specifically to task.

 

Former "Apex Legends" pro Diegosaurs argued, "Y'all just don't give girls a HONEST chance man fr, if you just play with a girl and treat them just like you treat a brother you'd see it's no different." Others contended that there wasn't anything sketchy about the lack of female representation at the tournament, pointing out that the two women who were competing were also put in captaining positions. TSM GuhRl was one such captain (and one of the winners of the tourney), and she said that she was happy to see the positive response that came from the tournament itself.

At the end of the day, although it certainly doesn't seem like NICKMERCS and his teams meant to purposefully exclude anyone, some fans expressed their hopes that such an oversight won't happen in the future.

Controversial Pride tweets lead to the removal of his Call of Duty skin

On June 7, 2023, NICKMERCS responded to a tweet of a violent fight taking place outside of a school board meeting in Glendale, CA, which was held to discuss Pride Month festivities on campus. "They should leave little children alone. That's the real issue," NICKMERCS tweeted. 

This tweet was immediately seen by many as a condemnation of the LGBTQIA+ community and was met with severe backlash. Shortly afterward, the official "Call of Duty" Twitter account announced that the newly released cosmetic pack modeled after NICKMERCS would be removed from the game's store.

NICKMERCS would later explain he didn't intend to hurt anyone, nor does he have any problem with the LGBTQIA+ community. Streaming shortly after the controversy kicked off, he told viewers that he would prefer to be the one to educate his child on such matters, rather than have that be something taught in schools. He added, "I'm not apologizing about the tweet, because I don't feel like it's wrong. I'm gonna stand by what I said." Needless to say, this did not do much to make people less angry. 

In the days since NICKMERCS' skin was removed from "Call of Duty," several other streamers have staged their own form of protest against the game. TimTheTatman requested that his own Operator pack be removed from the game, while Dr Disrespect uninstalled "Modern Warfare 2" and said he will not play until Nick's skin is reinstated. It remains to be seen how this scandal will impact Nick's standing with "Call of Duty" going forward.

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