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EA Sports staying out of Dana White's UFC/MMA video game war

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dana-white-peter-moore-ufc-ea-sports.jpgChronically outspoken UFC president Dana White says he's at war with EA Sports, developers of some of the most successful sports video games in history. But the video game behemoth is apparently taking the high road by avoiding any verbal sparring.

It all started about a year and a half ago when UFC allegedly approached EA Sports about the possibility of developing a game. It didn't happen. Then, EA rival THQ recently released "UFC Undisputed 2009," which White told the media has shipped more than 2 million copies since may.

EA Sports announced in a press release June 1 that "EA Sports MMA" -- ostensibly lined up to compete with "Undisputed" -- is in development, eyed for a 2010 release.

That didn't sit well with White, who MMAJunkie.com recently quoted as saying, "EA Sports told us, 'You're not a real sport.'" EA Sports wanted "nothing to do with" a mixed martial arts video game. "I'm at war with them right now," White said. "That's how I look at it."
If EA Sports did initially say that MMA is not a sport, it has certainly changed its tune. In the June 1 release, EA Sports president Peter Moore said, "Fans have been begging EA SPORTS to get into the cage, and "EA Sports MMA" will put them in control of the sport's unique combat experience while finally, in an immersive interactive experience, capturing the raw intensity that has made mixed martial arts one of the fastest growing sports in the world.  We're ready for the fight." For those keeping score at home, Moore calls it a 'sport' twice in that quote.

White has apparently taken his frustration with EA Sports a step further, promising to blackball any fighter who licenses their image to EA Sports.

Meanwhile, EA is remaining mum on any fighters who may have signed on to appear in the game. An e-mail from an EA Sports PR representative this morning pointed to a recent blog post by Moore and offered only, "We are very excited about "EA Sports MMA" and would love to work with you moving forward on coverage of the title.  But at this point, we are not releasing any further information about the title."

From Moore's blog post:

"I know there has been some recent discussion about EA Sports bringing a challenger to this sport.  I love mixed martial arts, and we've been working on a game concept since I came to two years ago. I have great respect for the  organizations and individuals that have invested in the sport's growth over the past decade - so this is one that is near and dear to me and I'm excited to see such good progress to date.  I trace my MMA video game roots back to my support of Crave's UFC title on the Dreamcast in 2000, and have been a fan ever since."

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10 Comments

EA sports will probably make a strikeforce video game which is fine but for the most part Dana usually wins these kinds of battle. Love him or hate him he loves MMA and he said it "they don''t give a *#$( about MMA"

Dana White will not win this battle there all plenty of competitors out there that will not sign with the ufc. theres plenty of organizations out there with great fighters such as DREAM, Sengoku, Affliction (i believe i'm missing some)

True people are just now jumping the wagon on mma and only know about organizations/events/fighters here in the states. but there is more talent overseas that true fans keep up to date on.

If EA sports come out with a MMA game they beeter reach out to those fighters and get their attention. If they plan it out as good as they have with all their other sports genre's I can see myself buying EA sports MMA

It will be tough to beat the THQ game. Aside from the quitters (which hoepfully the patch will take care of soon) it's a really well-balanced game. The only thing I can see EA taking in terms of US fanbase is retired fighters. If they create a legend game with Royce, Shamrock, Severn, Kimo and the like, and they are able to make an equally balanced game (please no total punch control) they may have a shot at hurting the THQ franchise but I highly doubt it. People want to play with UFC fighters, plain and simple.

EA doesn't care about the sport of MMA, per se. They just care about money/profits. Dana White is correct in this regard.

And I have no doubt what White says is true -- EA Sports is not known for taking risks and making "first" games. They wait for other people to take the risks and prove (or not) that a marketing niche exists. If it does, they roll in. If it doesn't, they don't.

So, hopefully Dana White wins this battle.

EA Sports signed Randy Couture and Frank Shamrock about making a video game back in 2008. EA Sports has always had it in their plans to make an MMA game, specially since Moore took over. What Dana White is doing to the fighters, saying that if they sign with EA and make money, they will be banned for life from the UFC". Its despicable to tell someone that they can't make money when those people may never even go into the UFC or the UFC may cut them after one fight (for losing) and then losing all their rights, which would prevent them from ever signing with EA or anyone else.

I found this quote on line:

At the same time, he continues to diversify his business outside the ring, landing some national, mainstream projects like “MMA for Dummies” with Wiley Publishing and one of the crown jewels of sports licensing deals, an MMA videogame by EA Sports that hits stores in 2010.

- Frank Shamrock in Nov. 2008


IGN: You didn’t appear in any of the UFC video games. Why was that the case?

I wouldn’t waive my rights, so they yanked me from the game, and I’m not in the new version. I’m pursuing trying to do a video game of my own which I’m talking to EA about. I’m going to show up in Command and Conquer as a general, in a theatrical version of the video game they’re doing now, and hopefully that will be the first step towards a video game with EA featuring me!

- Randy Couture On May 2008

@KiddGrappler
Who is going to be in this game? Fedor, Barnett, Overeem, Buentello, Aoki, Moussasi, Hansen, Nick Diaz, The Shamrocks, Mayhem Miller, Sakurai, Brett Rogers, Jake Shields, Josh Thompson, Alvarez? Not much of a roster. They are going to have to rely on a lot of small name talent from Strikeforce and Japan and it is unlikely they will reach out to the Japanese organization which are unknown to American fans when compared to the UFC. Do not see the roster being worth the game with only a handful of standout fighters.

Dana white is a moron.... if he just saw it from a marketing standpoint.... hes sooo stupid.... how is he making any money off of not being nice about it.... he would be making a killing just off of the PR from the game .... and people would view UFC much different if EA was attached to the game.... THQ- cheap EA sports = MONEY MAKERS ... infact I believe Many gamers are turned off by the THQ version of the game.... and they will buy EAs version right away...

I dont care who wins the battle the thing which matters is if EA would make MMA then its going to be something different and beautiful and i think people want to play MMA in EA.

Ya true point but if Dana wont let EA sports feature any of his fighters who the hell are they going to put on the game? Fedor? lol good luck

I hope for the sake of the sport ego doesn't get in the way of a GREAT WAY to promote there sport. VIDEO GAMES!! Period. Get the names of these athletes in the mouths of these little kids so the sport can grow and be as big as it can get. I hope ego doesn't do what DONALD TRUMP did to spring football! EA sports is SPORTS period. MMA, FOOTBALL, BASKETBALL, they make money! UFC needs as much pub as it can get

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This page contains a single entry by Kevin Allen published on July 17, 2009 9:14 AM.

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