Michaelangelo made an impression on me when I went to interview him, as did Perfect Legend. The man is easy-going but hard working. Very hard working. (You’ll see what I mean later.) When we had repeated technical difficulties, he kept working at it and kept insisting until we finally got everything fixed.
The FGC has been welcoming, accommodating, friendly, and professional so far. All those terrible things I’ve heard about drama or hating anyone who even has the letter “M,” “L,” or “G” in their name have just not proven true so far. I’m sure some of it is still out there, but I have yet to find it. And I think MLG and the FGC are about to discover they care a whole awful lot about each other.
Gilean: We’ll start with the basics: What is your name, your handle, and what character do you play in Mortal Kombat?
Michaelangelo: My name is Michael Lerma. I go by Michaelangelo in tournaments. I play Kabal and a bit of Kenshi right now.
Gilean: Which leads to my next question. “Kaballin!” Really? Will you be sporting that shirt at your next MLG Event?
MIchaelangelo: Haha! I wear that sexy shirt to every tournament I go to, and plan on going to MLG events but, unfortunately, not in time for Columbus.
Gilean: It sounds as though MLG is pretty passionate about the FGC, so I would be too worried about missing your chance. Fighting games are here to stay on the Pro Circuit.
Recently, you raised approximately $10,000 and sponsored yourself to attend essentially every event there was throughout the year. (Told you he was hard working.) What possessed you to do this, and how did you raise that money? Did you make it to all the events you wanted to?
Michaelangelo: It’s all about the passion and dedication I have for fighting games. Especially Mortal Kombat! I raised the money by just working and saving. Little did I know it was for Mortal Kombat tournaments. I’m really glad I saved and had one of the greatest times of my life last year!
I did make it to every event I wanted to.
Gilean: Your competitive “season” ended with EVO 2011, if I’m not mistaken. But it didn’t end quite as well as you had hoped. How did you place?
Michaelangelo: I placed 9th at Evo. It was tough not placing where I wanted to at EVO, but I did have a great run, and I’m happy with how well I did last year.
Gilean: There was talk you might take it easy after EVO and drift toward more casual gaming. Will we really find you waving a Wii-mote around in your downtime?
Michaelangelo: Haha! “F” that! After last year, I only really play games I want to take seriously. Other than that, I’m usually doing other things besides gaming. I thought I was going to take it easy, but I have received so many requests from my amazing fans that this year I’m going to try to make it to as many events as I can. This year I’m doing it for them.
Gilean: Was part of your decision to stay competing related to your performance at EVO and a desire to go out on top? Or are there other stronger influences?
Michaelangelo: I have always been a very competitive person, and my passion for games sometimes scares me. The fans just made me take it to a whole other level. I enjoy making people happy and some of the looks I would get at tournaments said it all.
Gilean: Speaking of love for games, there’s one other game that has interested you in the past that a large portion of the MLG Community is certainly…”passionate” about, to put it lightly. You’ve competed in Halo in the past, though perhaps not at MLG. How did that go for you?
Michaelangelo: Before I played fighting games [almost exclusively], I would play any game I felt was competitive and did very well in local tournaments. I would go to houses and bet money against people who heard about me and thought they were better.
After doing so well last year I decided to go big. The rest is history. *Smiles*
Gilean: Mirror matches are something that the League of Legends and FPS communities don’t know much about, although I’m sure our SC2 friends could comment on the subject for days. How difficult is a mirror match for you? What added challenges does it throw into a fight?
Michaelangelo: Well mirror matches for me are a bit scary because Kabal is so damn overwhelming sometimes that the matches almost feel like a blur.
Gilean: Are there any match-ups that Kabal or you seem to struggle with?
Michaelangelo: Kung lao, Kung lao, Kung Lao! For some damn reason, it is engraved in my brain that he is scary to play. Any other character I don’t really mind playing.
Gilean: Finally, Mortal Kombat seems to be your main gig. Do you plan on branching ou in the future? Do you spend any time with other fighting games?
Michaelangelo: I do play a bunch of other fighters (although I hate 3D ones), but I never loved on as much as I love Mortal Kombat. The day you find me playing a game other than MK9 at a tournament is the day MK10 comes out!
Shout-outs to everyone who believes in me and supported my crazy ass.
Gilean: A huge thank-you to Michaelangelo for taking the time to talk (and fighting through the technical difficulties). Follow him on Twitter @MKMichaelangelo and check out his website MichaelangeloPlayer.com.
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PDP: 7th Place
UFGT: 4th Place
Revelations: 1st Place
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East Coast Throwdown: 1st Place.