EA passed on UFC game - Report

Executive says sports publisher scoffed at creating MMA brawler a year and a half ago; UFC 2009: Undisputed nears 2M shipped.

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The war of words between defending UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar and former title holder Frank Mir was settled in the octagon over the weekend with boulder-sized fists. However, a battle of the rhetorical sort is just heating up between the mixed martial arts fighting organization and Electronic Arts.

Cheap shots are an art in MMA fighting.

In early July, reports surfaced that the UFC was prepared to dole out lifetime bans to all unsigned fighters who agree to be a part of Electronic Arts' upcoming MMA title. These reports have now reportedly been confirmed by UFC president Dana White, who addressed the issue with bellicose words following UFC 100 on Saturday.

As reported by enthusiast site MMA Junkie, White characterized the dispute between the UFC and EA as being "at war," saying that any fighter who signs a deal with EA Sports "won't be in the UFC." Further, White contends that it was actions taken by the gaming publisher that instigated the aggression.

"It's easy to sit on the other side of the table and judge me on how I react to stuff like this," MMA Junkie quotes White as having said. "But let me tell you what--I've been in the trenches for almost 10 years, and I've been dealing with all these businesses, and EA was one of them. EA Sports told us, 'You're not a real sport. We wouldn't touch this thing. We want nothing to do with this.'"

White reportedly went on to say that the UFC approached EA about making a game based on the mixed martial arts sport a year and a half ago, but EA declined. "They wouldn't even take a meeting because mixed martial arts disgusted them," White said. "This wasn't a real sport. Boy, they got over that real quick, didn't they?"

"We put our asses on the line, THQ and the UFC, to make a video-game deal in the worst economy in the world," he continued. "We go out there and do this thing, and it's successful, and now [expletive] EA Sports wants to do a video game." White went on to note that UFC 2009 Undisputed has gone on to ship nearly 2 million units since the game debuted to a strong critical reception for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in May.

EA had not responded to requests for comment on White's statement as of press time. Announced during this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, EA Sports MMA is still largely in under-the-radar development at EA Tiburon. For more on THQ's UFC 2009 Undisputed, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

Discussion

212 comments
TheUndisputed9
TheUndisputed9

You know a sport is big when it has its own videogame. GSP ftw

ClaTheNinja
ClaTheNinja

Lol Dana White: I'm mad at EA cause they don't take MMA seriously! Now I'm mad at EA cause they take MMA seriously! WTF dude? Make up your mind. This could be more money in your pocket but you're gonna pass it cause of something that happened years ago? And that something wasn't even all the bad in the first place. Oh wah, someone said "No" to the great Dana White. Plus I am extremely doubtful EA said "You're not a real sport. We won't touch this." EA's refusal years ago was probably more about how fighting games in general just were not doing that great. Much less American-made ones. (What else was there besides MK, which didn't fare too-well given Midway's eventual bankruptcy?) Now Soulcalibur 4 and Street Fighter 4 and Tekken 6 have revitalized the genre and now it doesn't seem like a bad idea for American companies to take more stabs at fighting games. EA can offer more money to the fighters to be in the game than White could offer them to be in UFC fights. So he might wanna change his mind before all the UFC fighters decide to take EA's money and just go be in other MMA leagues. UFC's only "the best" because of the big names. If all those big names moved on to other leagues, they'd be getting bigger too.

chrisark
chrisark

White may hate Tito, but he loves money. So he knows weighing them on a scale the love of money wins out over the hate of Tito Ortiz any day. But Exon you realize Fitch signed a contract giving away his likeness rights in the UFC game right..... or did I just missunderstand your entire post and you were going for sarcasm... White knows the UFC is the biggest draw right now, and no one can argue that or compete with that. Real Baller no one will have to sign lifetime contracts to be in Madden, NHL, MLB, or anything of the sort because games like that, are far into their franchises, no one can compete with Madden because it has full rights to the NFL. NHL 10 is celebrating almost 20 years of gaming hockey. If the UFC were as cemented as that, and EA were dicks then maybe we wouldn't be getting that reaction from White. But you'd think White would be the first person to say the only way to become better is through the spirit of competition....

REAL_BALLER_69
REAL_BALLER_69

next thing you know people will have to sign contracts for life to be in games such as madden nba live and teams wont recruit you in college due to the athlete not wanting to be in the college sport video game or being unhappy with his projected overall

ExonValdez
ExonValdez

Fact: Fedor would tell Dana White to suck it and sign with EA Sports MMA for a fat paycheck. Fact: Dana White will still make a Brock/Fedor World Heavyweight Championship match. Fact: Jon Fitch said he wont sign his name over to UFC because the marketing rights that being one of the top 10 fighters in the world can bring you cash. Fact: Dane White is and will always be a whore for talent. FACT: HE ABSOLUTELY HATES TITO ORTIZ AND HE WAS STILL IN THE GAME!!!!!!!!!! What a joke...

rcastoro
rcastoro

That's Too Bad because No professional MMA Fighter from UFC or WEC will EVER go to EA Sports to help EA produce a MMA Fighting Game - Dana White publicly announced that EA and UFC are at war, and any UFC Fighter that even approaches EA for a position in any of their fighting games will no longer be a UFC fighter. You Know What - EA can suck Dana White's Balls. He Produced a Perfect UFC Game for his First UFC Game, it's Decades beyond it's age... The Way you can control ground tranisitions and Counters. EA Would'nt be able to produce a better UFC Game then Dana White Did Even if EA COULD get ONE (Amature) UFC fighter NEAR the EA building, (Who would be then, an X-UFC Fighter). As far as I'm concerned, when it comes to UFC or MMA Games, the Game companies need to have some respect for Dana White - Afterall - It's HIS SPORT AND HE'S THE MASTERMIND BEHIND THE UFC, BROUGHT IT UP FROM NOTHING TO THE BIGGEST FIGHTING SPORT IN THE WORLD AND GROWING. DANA WHITE TOTALLY IS IN CONTROL OVER EA, EA - SORRY, YOU MAY MAKE GAMES BUT YOU DON'T MAKE RULES, ESPECIALLY WHEN You'RE DEALING WITH UFC FIGHTERS THAT CAN RIP YOUR HEADS OFF WITH A SINGLE HIGH KICK TO THE JAW OR A MUAH TAIH CLINCH KNEE TO THE FACE. EA ---- BACK OFF - DANA WHITE IS NEVER GOING TO LET YOU GET NEAR A MMA GAME WITH AS MANY TALENTED FIGHTERS AND AS GOOD AS GAMEPLAY AS UFC UNDISPUTED

Yay_Gamerz
Yay_Gamerz

I think they was was hella stupid in da first place, but what they shud do is bring back Def Jam with the gameplay of FFNY wit Graphics like Icon,with a long story mode and more fighters with different fighting styles including the old fighting styles.That just a start potna!!!!!

NobleEskimo
NobleEskimo

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Kungfu_Kenobi
Kungfu_Kenobi

I think we're getting Dana's paraphrased version, and NOT what EA actually said. Dana is a hothead, and hotheads exaggerate.

Houghbot
Houghbot

Dana is such a cry baby. He is single handedly ruining the sport and acting just like Microsoft did in the mid 90's but that's okay because he says f*ck a lot...

Holyknight_CJ
Holyknight_CJ

While EA definitely got what was coming to them, it's none of Dana White's damn business what video game his fighters (as well as potential recruits) want to be in.

xtoperchris
xtoperchris

People should understand that Dana's decision is not for EA's bad alone, but for the whole MMA fighters alive and gamers.

pure_impact
pure_impact

EA is so full of BS. The y had their chance to do business with Dana b4..up urs EA! I support Dana all the way in what he is doing with this.

jboxer82
jboxer82

I say Dana White should take UFC to 2K Sports next year. That'd be a good kick in the nuts to EA wouldn't it? I like some Ea games but I'm personally sick of all the exclusive contracts they make. (especially with the NFL). UFC and 2K Sports. Make it happen White!

Coolyfett
Coolyfett

EA should just stick to their guns and not do the game. Man you know I was a fan of many of EA titles, but now I think I am understanding why people are hating on them the way they are. They told the official MMA company they would not do a game for them, and when it blows up and gets very popular, now they want to do a game for them? That is not right, thats like some bandwagon s***. Just do Maddens and Fight Night EA. EA said they didn't want any MMA games so why make them now? They should just stay away like they originally planned.

Super_Austy_X
Super_Austy_X

EA KO'ed in second round? I'm a fan of the UFC and the game so I'm pretty happy EA won't mess this up, THQ made the game what it is and I believe it should be them, not EA that should improve it.

fearino
fearino

@ alkaline_DnB Agree that White is doing the same thing EA does. But this is to let EA have a taste of their own medicine.

rowens1182
rowens1182

Problem with starting a fighters union is if the big names or the mid level fighters want to threaten the UFC with a walkout or protest, there are plenty of local pro and ammy promotions to repopulate the UFC with. UFC is still the 800lb guerilla in MMA. Most people outside of Fedor, Tito, and other fighters can make the type of money off sponsors or bonuses the UFC offers. I am all for fighters being taken care of and paid fairly but unions suck!

ekisom
ekisom

yea... [expletive] EA!

playa42018
playa42018

Sounds like the fighters need to start a "fighter's union," otherwise Dana White pretty much owns your soul after you sign with the UFC.

shatiek20
shatiek20

haha wow what greedy organization (EA) is lol its funny, well they lost out one this one.

barn79
barn79

What EA's wants (which is money in which they dont care about the quality of the game at all) EA gets (Greedy bastards!). Dana did the right thing.. I mean he was insulted and now EA wanted to be part of the sport they just rejected... that was a stupid move EA and now ya'll should get what you deserve...

alkaline_DnB
alkaline_DnB

@ Kyuubi_Vegetto that's a nice, drawn out point, and i'm sure that a lot of people understand that, but you're still failing to grasp the concept that Dana IS still doing what EA is doing, which is make a game with a legitimate roster...high profile stars that actually sell a game, and not allowing another company to do the same. I hope that clears things up. his methods are different, mostly because he holds authority which EA does not, but he has the authority to ban players, yes, he's the president, EA are not presidents over the NFL, so they obviously can't do that, but he IS doing what EA does, and, like I said, and what many others are saying, he's making it so that they can't make a game with a legitimate roster or high-profile stars that will help sell their game.

akiwak
akiwak

UFC 2009 was a good try at MMA fighting. I could see all the fine tuning that they did and your customization options are also good. I'll buy the next version of the game if it really puts more personality into the fighters. So far they all stood the same, walked the same, and looked like robots in their movement.... I still love the game don't get me wrong but dana white looked ugly in the video game. PS2 and Xbox had more details and looked better with some of their characters than what is capable with this gen of technology..... Some character heads looked way to big to be on some of the fighters bodies and it is more noticeable on the lightweight division...

neokids
neokids

Sorry EA, but this is one battle you were destined to lose from the start. You might as well just cancel EA MMA and start working on some other title that's destined to bomb as well, but not as badly as this would.

Jackc8
Jackc8

You've really got to wonder what kind of screwballs they've got working at EA. Any normal adult would have told Dana that they weren't interested at that particular time, but perhaps in the future, we wish you all the best, etc. But no, EA had to insult White and the entire MMA sport, and now it's costing them millions that they could be making. Real intelligent. Give that loudmouth a raise.

elby322
elby322

dana white sounds a bit like a petulant child, but i respect him for not just thinking about money. it would have been easier just to accept EA's offer. instead he's sticking to his principles. in some way, the UFC has gotten more press out of his outburst than an EA game probably would have. big deal, EA makes their MMA game based on other organizations. might sell better in Japan, where K-1 is king.

bizuit
bizuit

DrunkenGoon, hate to tell you this but every company is in it for the money, no matter what you believe about your favorite companies.

bizuit
bizuit

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godzillavskong
godzillavskong

Good. I think I would've rather had THQ work on this one anyways, since they've seemed to have done their homework and really took their time with this one. Great game, with a big roster of characters, and really feels like a responsive MMA game. Mixed Martial Arts is a sport, and I think it's the fastest growing sport out their, so I'm glad EA lost out on this one. Now I wish they would just loosen their grip on the NFL license.

DrunkenGoon
DrunkenGoon

I like Dana White despite the fact that I don't like some of his business dealings regarding the sport. BUT I can see exactly why he is so mad now.. If this turns out to be true I won't be buying EA's game. If they are just in it for the money.. No thanks.

rangr
rangr

Good for Dana White and UFC for indirectly sticking it to EA. I am sick of them (EA) attempting to gobble up all of the rights to third party sports titles and releasing roster updates disguised as new games every year.

maaly81
maaly81

sounds like its cancelled then, or a game with made up characters will be made maybe. EA needs to stop trying to monopolized everything and make madden worth $64

Jericho66
Jericho66

ouch...strange tho, why not buy the rights just to have exclusitivity even!

gmreedy
gmreedy

Imo, EA is stupid to have let that opportunity pass by. It just goes to show that when another company like THQ makes tons of money off a MMA game based on the UFC, then EA opens their eyes (money!). That is all this is, purely money based. And UFC/MMA isnt fake, people are just jealous. EA let a HUGE opportunity litterally steam-roll past them, and now they gotta live with it. Good job EA ;)

XxTerryH15xX
XxTerryH15xX

so does this mean ea sports mma is cancelled?

punisher41542o
punisher41542o

dana white is something else. hes takeing a page outta ea's book.

chesucks
chesucks

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Folleyrules
Folleyrules

Dana White 4 President!!!!!! Watching UFC since before he owned it, he has made the sport huge in the US. EA made a big mistake with this one.

JGoWild
JGoWild

I am not a fan of MMA or UFC. I would rather watch Baseball than former, keep in mind that m not a Baseball fan either. So m not in a position of judging MMA or UFC. But, however, this DANA WHITE dude seems to be more of a business man than a sports promoter to me. I mean if he wanna sell out on the name itself then how is it gonna make him differ from EA at the first place.

sukrpunch
sukrpunch

I'm 5 million percent glad EA didn't get the rights to UFC... so they can't turn off the servers when ever they please and make us register at their stupid site. THQ did an amazing job and they can only improve form the amazing base they have now. UFC is lucky IMO that EA didn't want to land a deal.

Decessus
Decessus

Part of me can't help but smile at the poetic justice of this situation. Now EA will find out what it's like to try and sell a sports game that doesn't have the rights to the premire league of said sport (much like no one else can use the NFL). I don't think it will have as much impact as the NFL deal, but I still think a majority of people will pass on EA's MMA game simply because it doesn't have UFC fighters in it.

jasongrizzle
jasongrizzle

Yeeeeah............................................something tells me Dana White is exaggerating EEEEEEEVER so slightly in regards to EA turning them down before. I can believe that EA would turn them down, but I seriously doubt their conversation was as "brutal" as he makes out. Dana is also reknown for being an **** If there was an **** in the negotiations, I'm almost certain it wasn't some guy at EA going "lawl ufc ain't even a sport man lololol" or some childish crap like that. I mean think about it. He's trying to cover his ass for the flack he got for deciding to ban people for being in any other game other than his. Also, I find it funny, how people will say: "woooooh yeahhhhh F.U." to one company who monopolizes certain things, but when another does it in an even worse fashion (I mean can you imagine someone who agrees to be in a 2K Sports game being banned forever from the NFL for LIFE???), everyones like: "YEAHH BABY!!! YOU SHOW THOSE GUYS!!!!" When UFC has the monopoly on MMA titles and starts to dip in performance when the devs and UFC get complacent because of the lack of competition, people will once again get on their: "OMG THIS COMPANY SUX" mantra and the process will start all over again.

yankeefan338
yankeefan338

farmfaag abviously knows nothing about ufc

VivaRevolucion
VivaRevolucion

@FarmFreshDX Hmmmm... let me bust out my dictionary here.... sport... sport... what does sport mean? What is a sport? Ah... here we go.... A Physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively. That's what a sport is... So yes, boxing and MMA are in fact... a sport... that's straight out of text my man. I mean... man, unless the dictionary in YOUR HEAD surpasses the actual... dictionary... then these are indeed sports. Dana white is indeed a professional at what he does... why? 1 Because his product sells world wide (In this case.. viewed and paid for by us.. the consumer) 2 Because he makes millions each year. I mean... he makes more then you... UFC is only one of the fastest growing SPORTS ( That's right, it's a SPORT) in America, and to say other wise is a lie. Next time back up your BS with facts.