UFC threatens to ban EA MMA fighters?
Source: Enthusiast blog MMA Scraps, relating a forum post on the Mixed Martial Arts Underground forums. What we heard: It isn't just the fighters in the octagon that employ merciless tactics to defeat their opponents, it would seem. Last November, a number of news outlets reported that welterweight...
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What we heard: It isn't just the fighters in the octagon that employ merciless tactics to defeat their opponents, it would seem. Last November, a number of news outlets reported that welterweight contender Jon Fitch and his fellow American Kickboxing Academy members were cut from the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Reportedly at cause for the move was a licensing disagreement between Fitch and the UFC on THQ's UFC Undipsuted 2009, in which the fighter refused to sign away his name and likeness rights in a lifetime contract for the game.
While that issue ultimately came to a peaceful resolution, the UFC again appears to be strong-arming the mixed martial arts talent pool over the fighting organization's deal with THQ. As spotted by enthusiast blog MMA Scraps, a Mixed Martial Arts Underground forum poster with the username Golden Boy said yesterday that the UFC was prepared to ban all unsigned fighters who agree to be a part of Electronic Arts' upcoming MMA title.
"I hear that all [MMA] managers were informed that if any of their clients not currently under contract with the UFC sign to be a part of the EA game, the[y] will forever be banned for fighting in the UFC," Golden Boy wrote. Later in the thread, a poster using the handle KenP--who MMA Scraps identifies as notable MMA agent Ken Pavia--substantiated this claim, writing, "It's true. And they told me [they] want the word out."
EA announced its entrance into the MMA genre during its press conference at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo. Though EA has yet to officially announce any fighters for the game, former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia told MMA News that he and fellow ex-champ Randy Couture had both been signed to appear in the game. EA Sports MMA is in development at Madden studio EA Tiburon, and the first installment is due in 2010.
The official story: Neither the UFC nor Ken Pavia's agency had responded to GameSpot's request for comment as of press time. EA declined to comment on the matter.
Bogus or not bogus?: Given the UFC's strong-arm business tactics in the past, this report seems entirely plausible. However, without firm confirmation from one of the parties involved one way or the other, it's impossible to say for certain.