Ligma: The Silent Killer

Ligma Balls southpark

America is at the grip of a terrifying disease: ligma cancer. What is ligma cancer? It’s an offshoot of Bofa, and if left untreated can lead to the deadlier sugma and sugondese, maybe even the dreaded Grabahan.

But what is ligma? Well if you have to ask

Ligma Balls.

Haha! Get it?! Ligma sounds like ‘lick my’ and then balls haha! I fooled you!


Probably one of the most annoying memes in the past decade, Ligma started out as a fake death hoax perpetrated against Fortnite streamer Ninja. Since then, it’s appeared on various social media posts, YouTube comments, and has spawned a few sub-memes like Sugma (suck my) and Sugondese (suck on these), the latter being a derivative of the “Deez Nuts” meme.

Yes, I’m salty, frankly because I was one of the hapless victims who asked “what is ligma” in a reddit thread. Needless to say, I was caught with egg on my face.

So, to protect you and your loved ones, we’ll discuss what ligma is, how it started, some derivatives, and a timeline of when this…travesty happened.

What the Hell is Ligma?

Ligma Balls southpark
Retrieved from Tenor

Ligma is a fictional disease that IG user ninja_hater started accusing Fortnite streamer Ninja of having. Apparently, it’s supposed to be contagious, spreads rapidly in the victim, and lethal. There is no known cure for Ligma (because it’s fictional), and of course, all this fear-mongering leads to people asking that trap question: what is ligma?

To which, of course, the person claiming Ligma busts out the response: ligma balls!

Clever? Maybe. Funny? Fine, yes it was pretty funny, for the first like two thousand times. Unfortunately, it got so saturated on social media and Reddit threads that it just became so annoying. It also doesn’t help that it spawned other derivatives, namely Sugondese and Grabahan. Both derivatives are described either as symptoms, progressions of the Ligma disease or as fictional nationalities.

You gotta admit, it’s pretty clever, despite all versions of the meme using the Updog template (Hey, updog. What’s updog? Ugh).

A Timeline

May 28, 2018 – IG user Galevik uploads a video of a Twitter conversation he has with David Hogg, noted gun control activist. In the conversation, Galevik tells David to “boycott ligma”, a bait that, of course, David bites on. The post gains more than 300,000 views and goes viral.

June 6 – Parody account @realDonaldTrunp [sic] tweeted a meme of Donald Trump dabbing after using the ligma joke while speaking with a journalist. It was actually pretty funny.

July 13 – YouTuber Cowbelly uploads a video that opens with a Ligma joke. The video, titled “why I asked everyone to unsubscribe before 1 million” garners more than 300,000 views and almost 5,000 comments within two weeks of posting. The Ligma joke has officially crossed over from dank meme to mainstream hack.

July 16 – The Ninja death hoax is posted. Famed Ninja hater ninja_hater (pretty apt name) posts a meme of Ninja going up to heaven, being greeted by other dead memes like Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur, Lil Peep, Billy Mays, and of course, Harambe (RIP).

Since then, the image has been posted after a high profile person or celebrity dies, the image is reposted with the caption “Join us, Ninja”, because a lot of people really don’t like Ninja and they want him to die. I mean, sure, he’s kind of annoying, but aren’t all vloggers and live streamers?


July 17 – IG user foster.roach adds that Ninja had died after contracting the deadly disease Ligma, creating more traction for the hoax to take off. On the same day, Ninja posts that he had landed in L.A. Gaming news site Twin Galaxies investigated the hoax, with the death hoax being so believable that numerous fans had started inquiring as to whether or not Ninja was actually dead.

To dispel the rumors, Ninja uploaded content to his social media accounts, as well as live streaming. During the stream, hapless fans tried questioning him about the “Ligma” disease, to which viewers who knew about the joke responded with ‘ligma balls lolololol’ or, alternatively, ‘ligma nuts lolololol’. Mature.

July 18 – Earn the Necklace, a popular pop culture news site, covered the hoax in an attempt to make sense of the Ligma phenomenon. On the same day, IG user nutjuice_ posted a meme he created of a CBS News headline that stated that Ninja had ‘passed away because of Ligma”. The meme immediately goes viral, with graffiti artist Lushsux retweeting the meme and asking his fans if he should paint a wall in memory of Ninja.

July 22 – PewDiePie covers the Ligma/Ninja Death hoax in his meme review, giving the hoax and the meme even more traction.

July 23 – Various mainstream media outlets the The Sun, The Verge, The Daily Dot, Metro, Polygon, and Daily Mail, all take a crack at Ligma and the death hoax. Polygon even went so far as to interview ninja_hater, the progenitor of the hoax. ninja_hater admits that he did it as a joke, of course, and did not expect the hoax to spread as much as it did, nor did he create to elicit the kind of response that it did. The Polygon article goes even further, crediting other IG users for originating the Ligma joke itself. The article also shows a conversation between Ninja himself and spookid, the originator of Ligma. The conversation shows that Ninja had asked spookid to stop telling people he died of Ligma, to which spookid responded with the first known variant, Bofa (as in, get a hold of bofa deez nuts).

Critical Response

In retaliation, ninja asked moderators in his stream to ban anyone from using Ligma in the chat. First offenses would carry a 24-hour ban, while repeat offenders will be banned for life. On the same day, IG Comedian Supreme Patty, who was also a target of the hoax, uploaded a sketch of him being diagnosed with Ligma by a doctor.

On July 22, Ninja finally accepted the meme in a YouTube comment on a PewDiePie video. PewDiePie pins the comment, as evidence of Ninja’s seeming admittance of defeat.

With Ninja’s acknowledgment and acceptance, people breathe a sigh of relief. Is it really over?



A day before Ninja’s comment, KissingmyhomiesGN (props on the name), submitted “sugma” as an entry to Urban Dictionary. Sugma was defined as:

“Sugma: Commonly mistaken for ligma , sugma is a rare disease that fortnite streamers are exposed to

Ex. Guy 1: did you hear ninja died of sugma

Guy 2: no he died of ligma you fucking idiot”

The next day, on July 23, Dolan Parker, another influential YouTuber, uploaded a video of a Twitter DM he sent PewDiePie, in which he tricks Pweds into asking him about “Sugondese”. PewDiePie bites, and the classic “Sugondese Nuts” is born. Within 24 hours, the video gains almost 150,000 views and almost 2,000 comments.

When Will it End

Man in an interview
Retrieved from Tenor

Thankfully, as is the nature of most memes, the Ligma joke has seemingly died down, along with its derivatives. And if there’s anything we’ve learned from this entire fiasco: if you encounter a word you’re not familiar with, Google it first, or ask a Reddit thread you trust. Otherwise, be prepared to be humiliated online.

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