UFC President Threatens Fighters Over EA MMA Game
Think of all the powerhouses you have heard of. Now, out of those powerhouses, what comes to mind when I say “Video Game Sports Titles”? Hopefully, your answer was “EA Sports”. How about when I say “Mixed Martial Arts”? Easy, UFC, right? One would think that a joint effort between the two massively popular companies for a MMA game would be absolutely out of this world. Alas, it’s never going to happen.
Electronic Arts rejected UFC president Dana White when he came to them with the idea of a UFC fighting game. Mr. White claims that EA told him that MMA is “not a real sport” and pretty much laughed at him for having the idea (odd considering Peter Moore, EA Sports’ President, was involved with the Dreamcast’s MMA title). However, soon after THQ’s UFC 2009: Undisputed’s resounding success, EA Sports announced it’s own MMA game, effectively eating their own words.
Dana White had this to say on the matter at a press conference: “We put our asses on the line, THQ and the UFC, to make a video-game deal in the worst economy in the world,” White said. “We go out there and do this thing, and it’s successful, and now [expletive] EA Sports wants to do a video game. Really? That’s not what you told us a year-and-a-half ago. They told us They’d never be in business with us. They wouldn’t even take a meeting because mixed martial arts disgusted them. This wasn’t a real sport. Boy, they got over that real quick, didn’t they?”
Mr. White has also made a
threat promise that any fighter, besides Tim Silva and Randy Couture (who had already signed the deal with EA), who signs with the video game giant, “Will not have a job in the UFC anymore”. Dana has reinforced the fact that he is not joking around, and will effectively deal with any of his fighters that look to make a quick buck with licensing deals from EA.
At the same time, Mr. White’s hardball tactics have not come without controversy. The UFC cut a number of fighters, including Jon Fitch over a dispute regarding lifetime likeness rights in video games with THQ. “We tried to negotiate five- or 10-year deals with them, but it wasn’t good enough. It was all or nothing. He wanted our lifetime. He wanted our souls forever,” Fitch was quoted as saying in November 2008. The fight within the Ultimate Fighting Championship is not likely to let up anytime soon.