A Lake Erie fishing tournament ended with the event's original winners caught up in a cheating controversy.
On Friday, the Lake Erie Walleye Trail (LEWT) fishing tournament in Ohio crowned Chase Cominsky and Jake Runyan winners after weigh-in. But in a video posted to the tournament's Facebook page, one of the contestants appears to question the results on stage before the video cuts off.
Another video [Warning: the linked video contains graphic language] widely shared online captures chaos erupting after one of the winners' fish is sliced open and found to be stuffed with lead weights and other fish filets. One by one, the contestants' other fish are gutted, each of them revealed to contain items stuffed inside to add weight to the catches.
The man who cut open the fish can be heard screaming "we got weights in the fish!" and yelling at one of the two alleged cheaters "get outta here!"
The dramatic footage showed an increasingly outraged crowd gathering around the contestants, accusing them of cheating in previous tournaments as well and threatening to call the cops, saying that the two men had essentially stolen thousands of dollars from other competitors.
In a subsequent Facebook post, tournament director Jason Fischer listed the true winners of the tournament after Cominsky and Runyan were disqualified and apologized for the cheating scandal.
"Disgusted guys and gals, I'm sorry for letting you down for so long and I'm glad I caught cheating taking place in YOUR LEWT at the same time," he posted.
"I hope you know now that when I say 'you built this LEWT and I will defend its integrity at all costs', I mean it. You all deserve the best," Fischer added.