Last week, Electronic Arts announced its cover athlete for its mixed martial arts game, EA Sports MMA. The lucky fighter was Fedor Emelianenko, an MMA heavyweight and judo/sambo specialist ranked best in the world by enthusiast site Sherdog.com.
The news appeared to contradict reports that Emelianenko was close to signing a deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed martial arts league. That's because last month, the UFC's outspoken president, Dana White threatened to slap a lifetime UFC ban on unsigned fighters who agreed to appear in EA Sports MMA. The UFC game license is exclusively held by THQ, which has enjoyed triple-platinum success with its first MMA title, the well-reviewed UFC 2009 Undisputed.
Now, it turns out that reports of Emelianenko being on the verge of signing a UFC deal were greatly exaggerated. Today UFC rival Strikeforce announced it had signed a multi-fight deal with the brawny Slav, nicknamed "The Last Emperor." Under the terms of the agreement, Emelianenko will headline world championships in conjunction with M-1 Global and appear on Strikeforce specials on the Showtime cable network this fall. (Showtime is owned by GameSpot parent company CBS Corp.) Emelianenko currently holds a 30-1 record as the WAMMA heavyweight champion.