Doug ‘Censor’ Martin wants to be The Rock of gaming

Doug 'Censor' Martin and his Faze Pro teammates take aim at a title in Columbus.

The first thing you notice about Doug “Censor” Martin is the muscles. The "Call of Duty" professional proudly displays his “guns” … everywhere.

The next thing you notice is that, despite the incessant trash talk about him online, he actually does possess thumbs. Two of them, perfectly intact. In good working order.

No Thumbs Doug. Lurk around the competitive "Call of Duty" community for any length of time and you’ll hear it, usually unprovoked.

He addressed the name, and the origin of it, in a YouTube video to his nearly 100,000 subscribers last month.

“I don’t know if it’s jealousy, or they just don’t like me, or they don’t want to see me succeed,” Martin, 20, said Wednesday when asked about the constant jibes. “Whatever it is, I feel the best thing to do is just not acknowledge them.”

Or maybe the best thing to do is prove them wrong with your actions.

He put those thumbs to good use over the weekend in Columbus, Ohio, leading his Faze Pro team to the championship at Major League Gaming’s Advanced Warfare Open. He also should have silenced some of his critics, as his team convincingly beat Optic Gaming — which features the game’s biggest star and a dream team of free agents — in the grand finale.

Will that stop the taunts? Probably not. After all, it’s not Martin’s first championship. He won a title in 2011 in "Call of Duty: Black Ops" with former team Quantic Nex-TT-hreat and two others in 2014, the US Regionals and UMG Nashville. 

Will it convince some people?

“I think it definitely helps … winning the way we did, in the fashion we did, against the teams that we did really should silence a lot of people,” Martin said.

Yes, he had plenty of help. And his new teammates have compelling stories, too.

Patrick “Aches” Price played through a wounded hand. He had to get several stitches at the base of his thumb for an undisclosed injury before the final day began, and MLG officials weren’t sure they should let him play.

Austin “Slasher” Liddicoat, the other new addition to the team, also made a huge statement with his play. Just a few weeks ago, his entire team was unceremoniously dumped after taking second place in the "Call of Duty: Ghosts" Season 3 playoffs. Now, he finds himself in the winner’s circle with a much more prominent team.

Faze’s other holdover — Bryan "Apathy" Zhelyazkov — also had a strong showing, quietly notching plenty of key plays and holding his own.

PHOTOS: Inside the COD: Ghosts playoffs

They also have the second-biggest fan support in the crowd. The Green Wall – Optic’s network of supporters – is clearly the biggest fan faction out there, but Faze has a vocal community that’s only growing.

“We’re definitely right behind (Optic), for sure,” Martin says of the fan support.  “Winning helps a lot, putting out good content, putting out good videos. They want to know what you do.”

The Optic comparisons aren’t lost on Martin. Optic Gaming captain Matt “NaDeSHoT” Haag has become a celebrity outside of eSports and has an audience reach that Martin craves. Optic teammate Seth “Scump” Abner also has an avid following.

“What makes people watch NaDeSHoT or Scump over, say, Aches? Aches wins a lot more than they do, but people watch those two more because they tell their story to the fans,” Martin explains.

“They know how to make people like them; they know what people want to see. They’re entertainers, and that’s why they are as big as they are.”

“Now everybody wants to do what they do.”

Martin is trying to catch up, using some of the same tactics on his YouTube channel and MLG.tv channel.

And when he does catch up, he says he has plans well beyond the "Call of Duty" world.

“There’s a lot of room to grow, to do something bigger than the game itself. … My life changed a lot in the last three years; I want to be able to help anyone who wants to change their life. … Winning championships is all good and fun, and it’s obviously important, but if I could be an inspiration to anybody who is going down the wrong path or wants to improve themselves, whether it’s through fitness or through ‘Call of Duty,’ that’s something that’s on my mind a lot.”

“That’s what I try to do every day. I try to project an image out … to set the standard.”

That brings us back to the muscles. When it comes to projecting an image, a tight, sleeveless shirt in a room full of gamers will do that. The former football player, who had dreams of being a D-1 defensive back in college, says he never really took fitness seriously until three years ago, right after his first "Call of Duty" title.

“I went home with $12,500 in my bank account as a 17-year-old, I felt like a millionaire. I went out and got a gym membership and everything I needed and I just hit it. I wanted it, I saw how to get it and I just went for it,” Martin recalls. “It just grew on me quick. It’s kind of like love at first sight. That’s how it felt for me. I’ve been doing it almost every day for the last three years of my life. … I’m about to go to the gym now.”

“I took some time off of ‘Call of Duty’ two years ago just to work out and focus on my grades, but then I saw how big ‘Call of Duty’ got so I stopped going to school and kept working out. I focused on putting out this image that you don’t have to be some skinny, scrawny or fat and lazy kid to play video games and win at the highest level.”

So what’s next for Censor? Well, hopefully more championships and fewer critics.

But he’s thinking big. Really big.

“What I’d love to do, you know 10 years from now, is to be something like The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) … an entertainer, a motivator. He started with wrestling, and that’s how he got into motivation and fitness and movies. I feel like my outlet to that level of success will be through gaming.”

I want to be something …. huge. I always wanted to be famous. I always wanted to be known throughout the world. I wanted people to know who I was. I think what I’m doing now is something special. I don’t know anyone else who does what I do.

Doug 'Censor' Martin

“I don’t want to be average. I don’t want to be an accountant in 10 years and have an average family and make an income of 70 to 120 thousand a year.”

“I want to be something …. huge. I always wanted to be famous. I always wanted to be known throughout the world. I wanted people to know who I was. I think what I’m doing now is something special. I don’t know anyone else who does what I do.”

Martin spoke of figuring out a way to combine his two passions, gaming and fitness, and becoming the first name gamers think of when they want to get healthier or change their lives. Maybe through a TV show, or perhaps through a product he develops.

“I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I will figure it out. It will happen.”

Kerouac Smith is an aging gamer and once did P-90 for a full three months. He’s so out of shape now that even his Twitter profile has a taco truck on it.