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.
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.