Pro in DOTA 2 says: He was fired for staying with his mother 2 days too long before she died of cancer


Filipino-American professional gamer Michael “ninjaboogie” Ross Jr. (30) played in MOBA DOTA 2 (Steam) for Team SMG, an organization from Malaysia. On Friday, the team announced its dismissal. The player says: He was fired for visiting his mother who had terminal cancer. He only wanted to spend a few days with her in the hospital as things neared the end, but the team didn’t accept that decision. His motivation was questioned.

This player is about:

  • 30-year-old ninjaboogie is a veteran of DOTA 2. He switched to Valve’s MOBA in 2012; back then from Heroes of Newerth. He plays the role of a support.
  • In his long career as a professional player, he has earned $475,000. Most of the money came in 2019, when he bagged $137,320 for a mid-table spot at the massive tournament The International 2019 (via esports earnings). At that time he played for Team Mineski, also a team from Southeast Asia.
  • In 2021 he ended up with Team SMG, but this time has now been divided in dispute.

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Team says goodbye to players via Twitter post, thanking them for their dedication

Here’s how the team announced their departure: Team SMG tweeted the departure of ninjaboogie on May 20, thanking the player for his “excitement, hard work and dedication to Team SMG.”

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There was no indication why they split up. Everything looked kind of cool.

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If you know the background, the post seems cynical.

Player only wanted to spend a few days with his dying mother

That’s what the player says: The 30-year-old explains what is behind the separation. It was a kick that came the week before:

  • He had known for a long time that the day would come when his mother would die. Because she had terminal cancer.
  • The player’s mother suffered a stroke on May 12 and was hospitalized
  • Ninjaboogie was supposed to fly back to the team on May 14th. A “boot camp” was scheduled. But in a conversation with the team, he asked if he could stay longer with his mother, because the preparatory camp didn’t start until the 20th. Then he would be there.
  • However, a Team SMG player, the carry Midone, was already pushing for a decision on May 14 on whether to fly back or not. The team expressed doubts as to whether he was still fully involved.

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The player got a lot of encouragement for his situation on Twitter.

“I can’t leave you alone in this critical situation”

That’s why he didn’t fly back: The professional assured the team that he is still fully motivated and will not be distracted. He also trains in his free time, but he can’t leave his mother alone now. He would feel like a failure as a son if he did that. He only needs a few more days to stay with his mother: it would now be decided in the next few days, either she would be better or, unfortunately, she would die.

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She will be released from the hospital by Monday the 16th at the latest.

The player asked for more days with his mother before going into boot camp on the pro team. He hopes the team accepts his decision (via twitter).

My aunt is with her in the hospital and keeps me updated on her condition. I play ranked in the free time I have. She even told me to leave herself, but I can’t leave her behind in a critical situation like this. I felt like a terrible son.

I have just a few things left to sort out before hopefully she gets released from the hospital and I’m ready to meet you all at boot camp. I hope my decision is okay with you.

ninjaboogie in a message to Team SMG

Player is fired, the day after his mother dies

This is how it went on: On May 15, the team informed him that they had a meeting without him. And continue without him in the future.

The player says his mother passed away on Monday 16th May.

Twitch streamer Trainwreck is a tough guy, but the DOTA 2 pro’s case outrages him.

These are the reactions: Many on Twitter can relate to the player’s situation, they too lost people they loved to cancer.

The reaction to the actions of the team is partly outraged. Twitch streamer Trainwreck says something like:

Screw them, buddy. It’s clear that the people who made the decision don’t have families themselves, because if they did, they would not only have supported your decision, they would have encouraged you to make it.


The professional player was asked on Twitter why he wanted to return to his team so quickly. Why he doesn’t take the time to trust his mother. The player explained (via twitter):

  • his father died of Corona, right at the beginning of the pandemic
  • since then, ninjaboogie has been the head of the family and it’s up to him to provide for them
  • he had raised all his savings and had to earn money – that was the only way his mother could be cared for if she had survived
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There has been no further statement from the team so far.

We recently reported on MeinMMO about a professional player who was released under controversial circumstances:

18-year-old pro draws a “Z” in DOTA 2: Valve disqualifies his team – he is fired