EA Sports MMA pins Couture

Five-time UFC champion signs exclusive deal with publisher; president Peter Moore says MMA game will alternate annually with Fight Night series.

SAN JOSE--If a fighting game is only as good as its roster of competitors, EA's upcoming mixed martial arts game, EA Sports MMA, just got a bit stronger. Today, EA Sports president Peter Moore confirmed what many fight fans had suspected for a while now: that MMA legend and five-time UFC champion Randy Couture would be in the game as a playable fighter. Accompanied by Couture, Moore made the announcement at a press conference in San Jose, hours before a Strike Force promotion being held Saturday night at the HP Pavilion at San Jose.

Couture is the latest high-profile addition to the EA Sports MMA roster. Late last month, the publisher announced that well-regarded Russian heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko--thought by some fight fans to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world--had been signed to the game as well. In addition, the company also announced today that Jay "The Thoroughbred" Hieron from Couture's "Xtreme Couture" training camp would be joining the game's roster.

During the press event, Moore was asked several questions regarding EA's previous meetings with UFC president Dana White--specifically the timeline of said meetings and why the publisher turned down the opportunity to develop and publish a UFC game. White was quoted as saying that the meeting between EA and UFC was as recent as a year and a half ago; while others pin the meeting at closer to three years ago. Moore agreed with the latter timeline and was quick to disavow responsibility for EA's rejection of UFC in the first place.

"Certainly [the meeting] was before my time. I've been with Electronic Arts not quite two years. Next month I'll have been here two years; it had not occurred during my tenure here. The label structure that we organized to make EA Sports a full label--as a stand-alone [profit-and-loss segment of the business]--was not put in place until two years ago.

"I've no doubt that Dana, in particular, came to see EA. It was probably sometime in 2006. The fact stands as this: They signed a deal with THQ in January of 2007; the game, then, has been in development and, of course, shipped in May. That was a game that was developed by Yuke's in Japan. So any meeting [between UFC and EA Sports] that would have happened would have, of course, had to have happened before they signed a deal with a competing publisher. So my assumption is they probably met with somebody [at EA] about three years ago. And at that time, unfortunately, there wasn't a deal that was struck. That's way before my tenure here, way before EA Sports was actually formed as a label. It sounds like [between] Dana's 18 months versus the three-year timeline, the three-year timeline sounds a little bit more familiar. And actually probably that's when it was."

As to White's claim that EA spurned UFC representatives and scoffed at the sport, Moore said he was sure that was "not the case" but reiterated that he was not working for EA Sports at the time and was not present at the meeting itself. "I'd rather focus on the future rather than the past. Whatever my friends at UFC want to purport to be the situation, that really doesn't matter now. Our goal is to create a great game, to actually go alongside what they're doing at UFC and grow the sport itself."

Moore also answered questions regarding reports that Dana White will blackball fighters who sign on to the EA Sports MMA roster, saying that the situation has not cost the game any potential roster additions.

"There's no conflict whatsoever," he said. "We're not seeing any pushback from any outside influences [regarding] people trying to influence fighters not being in the game. If we believe that the quality of fighter is there, that they're obviously going to help us build more authenticity [in the game], we'll certainly sign them up and you'll see in the coming months more and more announcements."

As for the game itself, Moore was vague on details regarding features or controls but did confirm that the game is in its second year of development at EA Tiburon (home to other EA Sports titles like the Madden NFL, NCAA Football, and Tiger Woods PGA Tour series). Moore confirmed the game was on schedule for a 2010 release and said that the overall plan would be to take two years in between MMA releases, alternating years with the publisher's Fight Night boxing series. Asked if the game would feature matches in a cage (a la UFC) and/or in a ring (as in the defunct Pride FC promotion), Moore said that a final determination had not been made.

"If you look at the different circuits around the world...our goal, as I said, is to provide geographic diversity," Moore said. "If there are different rules or different fighting environments, then those will be reflected [in the game]. We're still a ways away from shipping this game so no decision has been made on that."

Couture currently has two fights remaining on a contract signed with UFC but confirmed he is exclusive to EA Sports MMA, a deal that came together during Couture's 13-month absence from the UFC. "Unless the UFC wants to do a licensing deal with EA, I don't see being in a UFC game happening for me. I have an exclusive deal with EA and I'm very excited about that."

Speaking about his involvement in the game, Couture said that he has already had his photos taken (presumably for character modeling and marketing purposes) and will be doing motion-capture work with the development team in October. MMA will actually be the 46-year-old fighter's second appearance in an EA game--last year, Couture played the role of Commander Warren Fuller in EA's Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3.

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Discussion

181 comments
davemcnally
davemcnally

EA are big enough to make a decent game and having the option of a match up like Couture vs Emelianenko can only be a plus!

octotoke
octotoke

EA did not believe in the idea of making a UFC game...in fact I've read an article that said they had denied making one for the longest time because they did not think it would sell(this one talks about it too). So THQ makes an awesome game and releases it at a time when MMA is growing bigger each day...the game sells better than at least 75% of EA games and NOW EA has to come out with something in order to get a part of the cut. Like NBA Live is to basketball games...EA's MMA will be to MMA games...and I think that they will probably have to end up copying the fighting mechanics from UFC 2009 because I simply do not see a better way of doing it...

daihideo
daihideo

Well I do give EA props for the only thing of doing it on a every other year update release, which they should do for all their sports games, I will not buy a game that loses it's value and playability in a year.. But I still have my money with Yukes and THQ with a better UFC game in the next couple years.

So7_Thrasher
So7_Thrasher

@TheMayor88, Ok I agree with that UFC may be held back by Dana because he wont let them fight outside UFC, but he does that for ratings and if he let them fight elsewhere then it wouldnt be a very smart business decision at all. And agree that there is competition all over the world that could beat alot of UFC fighters but what i dissagree with is that only Machida, and the Spider ufc wouldnt be beat i think that GSP and BJ could hold their own all over the world.

unknown2007
unknown2007

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

ChamillionLive
ChamillionLive

@GOWzztrippinzz And if you were paying attention, you'd note that I said that even with a roster of lesser-known skaters (again, for people that don't follow skateboarding), Skate still blew Tony Hawk out of the water.

ChamillionLive
ChamillionLive

@GOWzztrippinzz I know Skate had a superb roster (PJ Ladd & The Gonz > j00), but no "big names" that casual fans would recognize like Hawk, Bam, Burnquist, or Koston. Rob & Big wasn't popular yet, and Danny Way was more known for bomb dropping from a helicopter than the Mega Ramp. Kinda like the casual MMA fan not knowing anyone on EA MMA's roster except Randy and Fedor and writing it off because "they're not the UFC". If you know anything about MMA besides the UFC, just like if you know anything about skating besides the X Games/Dew Tour, you know how good the roster is shaping out to be.

d1w27
d1w27

Wow, if EA gets the UFC roster and the WEC roster this would be crazy...can u imagine Faber (WEC) going up against Anderson Silva (UFC)...OMG!!! I wouldn't even play i'll just watch the computers kill each other. EA Sports MMA would be the only MMA game 2 play for the rest of life. P.S.: Can u imagine Kimbo Slice vs Brock Lesnar??!! Wow...

GOWzztrippinzz
GOWzztrippinzz

@ Chamillionlive If you new anything about skateboarding then you would recognize that Skate 1 and 2 both had a superb roster.

Neokun
Neokun

The UFC is to MMA as the NFL is to football. MMA is a sport, UFC is the leading broadcaster/company/whatever of the sport. Nobody claims monopoly on the NFL. I for one support the UFC in what it is doing, and believe that eventually all of the bigger MMA will come together under the UFC, much like what happened to Pride. I also think that the 2012 iteration of EA Sports MMA will be called UFC '12 or something like that, White will eventually see the logic behind joining EA.

Paladin_King
Paladin_King

There are no pins in mixed martial arts. MMA is not wrestling. An attempt at a witty title by Gamespot fails once again. Surprise, surprise.

solidstein
solidstein

he isnt gonna blackball fighters anyway if there is a fighter in EAs game that will make money then he will use them plus UFC will join EA in its next game in 2012 anyway since its contract with THQ ends in 2011

mattinavat
mattinavat

The UFC made MMA what it is today, and that's great and kudos to them and many thanks etc. etc. - but now they are just getting greedy and trying to maintain a monopoly. They think they have a right to it since their efforts brought MMA to mass market. But the truth is, for MMA, the more it can break out of the clutches of the UFC monopoly the better it will be for the sport. If UFC maintains a monopoly, even if the fights aren't bogus like WWE, the match ups will be just as choreographed, and the fighters lose because there is no competition for their participation. Dana White says he is blackballing EA fighters because he cares about the sport...he cares about his ego, his pocketbook, and preserving his MMA monopoly.

mattinavat
mattinavat

Hopefully they'll do a better job w/ menu's etc. than THQ. If you thought Undisputed's fighting was slow, try playing career mode and dealing with all of the menu's and placing sponsor logos and crap. But even if the fighting was a little too deliberate in pace, they had the depth and fighting mechanics and so many other things never achieved in fighting game before. Great game. I hope EA's is even better.

solidstein
solidstein

lets just see machida/silva now that would be the ufc fight of the century imho they both have crazy unorthodox fighting styles

solidstein
solidstein

ufc did well because of the name thats all it coulda have been the worst game ever and it still would have done well its like if u add final fantasy to a title u automatically sell 1million copies

unknown2007
unknown2007

if EA can master the speed mechanics that lacked in UFC undisputed. that itself would be a huge improvement. thing i hated the most in undisputed was how slow pace it is. the striking. the ground game..it didn't at all mimic the real deal. i mean it makes sense typically for the HW's to be slow....but LHW. LW. WW. and MW divisions? all of which rely on speed. i felt as though they were on the same level as the HW's. for undisputed to be successful as it was i think THQ could've done a better job with that specific aspect of the game.

ChamillionLive
ChamillionLive

@Sir_Donk Greg Jackson's definitely a great trainer and planner (well, except for the Evans/Machida fight), and he may be what convinces GSP to keep the fight standing. But if he wants GSP to do the usual... And using Loiseau, Jardine, and Dodson as examples of "beasts" kinda hurts your example. Dodson has potential (and by potential I mean he's 8-4 and only 25 years old), but Loiseau and Jardine are middle of the road.

shinspikes
shinspikes

UFC is great, love the game, play it all the time. But, there are soo many problems and its soo slow. I hope EA sees all of these problems and improve or destroy it. Yukes and THQ sucks, but if they can improve for 2010, then props to them. EA knows how to make a proper and deep online game, lets hope they use all their talents and powers for this. Competition makes future games much much better. Cause they fight for your money.

DubYew
DubYew

@Sir_Donk It matters because it plays directly into Jake Shields strengths, which is why Jake Shields is one of the few men to pose a legitimate threat to GSP.

Sir_Donk
Sir_Donk

@ ChamillionLive Why does it matter if he uses his wrestling more than anything? He uses his wrestling because he's good at it and Greg Jackson has some of the best game plans in MMA. Every fighter to come out of Greg Jacksons Gym is just a beast like David Loiseau, GSP, Keith Jardine, Marquardt, John Dodson, etc.

ChamillionLive
ChamillionLive

Damn, Silva turns in a brilliant performance against Griffin and now his striking is untouchable? Really? If he's truly motivated, yeah he's great. But if not, you get the Cote fight. And the reason I say Mousasi is "damn near" Silva's striking level is that he doesn't throw knees too often. But his boxing is great and almost on the level of Silva's MT. If anything, Mousasi has the potential to be better than Silva, due to Mousasi having a bonafide ground game on top of great striking. But that's a little fanboyism talking.

DubYew
DubYew

ChamillionLive uses real logic! Quick, thumbs down!

ChamillionLive
ChamillionLive

"Yushin Okami and Ryo Chonan haven't fought in the UFC? lol Learn your history moron! Okami couldn't even beat Franklin who Silva destroyed twice and Chonan lost to guys like Karo Parisyan who's just a stepping stone in the UFC" There's your MMAth. I didn't say the striking b/t Shields and GSP was 50/50, I said GSP's gameplan at first was 50/50. His last few fights however (since about the Kos fight) have been 90/10 wrestling. And if he takes Shields down, it's unlikely it'll be a repeat of the Alves/Fitch/Penn/Serra II fights.

jfcundiff
jfcundiff

Well Mousasi's striking is not close to Silva's just yet, but he is still very young(23-24 years old) and has so much potential. He is someone I will like to see in the UFC LHW division, along with Lil Noguira.

RightOn44
RightOn44

You won't find 1 expert MMA analysis agree with that Chamil.

CrazyRabbi
CrazyRabbi

Agreed, I don't know what you've watched ChamillionLive but he's right... Mousasi's striking isn't "damn close" to Silva's. That's not saying it's bad though. Alot of really good strikers don't compare to Silva.

RightOn44
RightOn44

"If Mousasi's not as good a striker as Silva, he's damn close." I'm sorry but no it's not, but that's not taking anything away from Mousasi but Silva's striking is really in a league of it's own!

CrazyRabbi
CrazyRabbi

Trust me... I don't go by MMA math and that's not my logic. Ex: Wanderlei > Rampage > Chuck > Wanderlei until last year. That was not what I was going by and I'm not sure where you saw that but I really don't see Shields ever beating GSP. Their striking is also not 50/50... that's a joke. Let's be honest. Shields has gotten killed in his striking before he's taken them down.

ChamillionLive
ChamillionLive

If Mousasi's not as good a striker as Silva, he's damn close. If the fight goes to the ground, there's no telling which Silva will show, the one who was getting GnPed by Chonan prior to the heel hook or the one who choked out Henderson. But it's not the lock you think it is, that Mousasi has no chance.

ChamillionLive
ChamillionLive

@CrazyRabbi You've got this MMAth thing down. GSP lost to Matt Hughes who was dominated by Thiago Alves. So GSP had no chance vs. Alves, according to your logic. But we all know that didn't happen. Shields has a better shot than you'd realize. GSP's game has changed from about 50/50 wrestling/striking to 90% wrestling. Shields is better on the ground than just about anyone GSP's faced (save Serra, and those fights were mostly stand-up).

getyeryayasout
getyeryayasout

EA will probably make a more accessible interface than the UFC game. I hope it's good.

CrazyRabbi
CrazyRabbi

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

CrazyRabbi
CrazyRabbi

@TheMayor88 Really? Yushin Okami and Ryo Chonan haven't fought in the UFC? lol Learn your history moron! Okami couldn't even beat Franklin who Silva destroyed twice and Chonan lost to guys like Karo Parisyan who's just a stepping stone in the UFC. Why do you think Kampman or Swick are getting GSP next? Cause he's beaten every1 else! He's cleaned out every1 at 170 who's worth a crap just like Silva is now destroying 205 fighters cause there's no more top 185 fighters to even challenge him, let alone beat him.

CrazyRabbi
CrazyRabbi

@DubYew I really doubt Mousasi has too much of any chance of beating Anderson when top 205 guys in the UFC really don't. Anybody he actually tries against lately gets destroyed. Motivation is his only weakness at this point and I guarantee Shields doesn't have much of a chance against GSP. His stand up is actually pretty bad and he won't out wrestle or submit him. I don't think Mousasi or Shields could even beat guys that GSP and Silva have beaten like Rich, Dan, Forrest or Fitch, Alves and BJ.

DubYew
DubYew

@OverkillAzault Did you not read the article above or do you just take Dana Whites word as gospel? Even if some past corporate schmuck DID have that stance on MMA, so what? Why would you not want another MMA on the market? Don't you believe that competition breeds excellence? Would you be petty enough to deprive yourself of a potentially great game over hearsay?

OverkillAzault
OverkillAzault

Posted Aug 17, 2009 2:01 am GMT I don't understand why so many so called MMA fans are opposed to EA making an MMA video game... ======================================== because EA considered MMA a joke and not sport back then

ChamillionLive
ChamillionLive

@lowerclassbrat Apparently you can't differentiate between "UFC" the brand name and "MMA" the sport.. It's ok, a lot of UFC-only fans make that mistake. I just hope you don't tell folks your favorite music genre is "Metallica".

DubYew
DubYew

I don't understand why so many so called MMA fans are opposed to EA making an MMA video game...

ChamillionLive
ChamillionLive

@buckeyejuggalo The ground game wasn't bad because of takedowns, it was bad because you could hold the right stick and block your opponent's transitions, attempt a sub, stop it, and keep holding the stick to automatically stop your opponent from ever escaping that position. The ground game basically devolved to "punch once, hold stick, punch again, hold stick, sub cancel, rinse & repeat" til bottom guy is rocked. Then its "throw punches to body" til TKO. Even though there's NEVER been a TKO due to not defending the body adequately IRL. The only way Dana was involved in MMA's growth was because he green-lit The Ultimate Fighter, a reality show when reality shows were still popular (irony being he was originally opposed to it until he saw the ratings). You could have given any organization that chance at that time period and gotten the same results.

lowerclassbrat7
lowerclassbrat7

Screw Halo I can't wait for the new Haylow game to come out. It will sell well because it's a realistic fps.

buckeyejuggalo
buckeyejuggalo

@Tripwolf: Agreed. I hate when people say Dana White has done nothing for the sport or has ruined it. Apparently not many people are under the impression being Mr. Nice Guy will get you anything in the business world, especially MMA. You need to be a ruthless dick to get things done. If it wasn't for Dana White being involved in MMA (not just UFC) we would not be holding these discussions on this board. There probably would be no prime time MMA and it would still be comparable to backyard bare knuckle brawls. @ChamillionLive: They are looking into fixing those issues in the future as well as update the rosters on a constant basis such as Madden. They've already updated the online play to match opponents latencies (I've never had any online issues) and the CAF's will no longer be able to be exploited for online play. They also are intending to release UFC games yearly, in a Madden fasion. If you played during Rashad vs Machida you would see they updated the game simply to advertise the fight on the ring canvas like they do IRL. EDIT: I find the ground game in UFC to be not as bad as everyone says. People just get pissy when they want a fist fight and get taken down and cannot defend it. *cough* holdinleftorrightontherightstick *cough*

ChamillionLive
ChamillionLive

@Tripwolf The EA game has been in the dev process for 2 years. If that's "cashing in", NBA2K9 was a cash in on NBA Live 2007.

ChamillionLive
ChamillionLive

Visit any forum that discusses UFC:U, and there's a laundry list of issues that come up. The online is atrocious, the ground game is severely lacking, as is the CAF, I'm not sure ANYONE likes how submissions are applied...all issues EA MMA could trump. It was realistic, sure, but so was Tony Hawk in that you couldn't skate underwater.

ChamillionLive
ChamillionLive

If THQ doesn't improve UFC:U for 2010, it IS gonna go the way of Tony Hawk. Either that or Dana White will take the UFC license elsewhere, karma dictating he'll tuck tail and try to strike a deal with EA (and subsequent release of MMA 2012, featuring UFC fighters alongside Dream, Strikeforce, Sengoku, etc).

lowerclassbrat7
lowerclassbrat7

I guess that crap tons of people already own a fairly realistic representation of MMA which makes slim pickens for EA MMA.

ChamillionLive
ChamillionLive

I bring up Skate because people believed that a realistic skate game that appealed to skateboarders and skate fans primarily would flop. But guess what...