SBD/Issue 205/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Dana White Says EA Sports To Blame For MMA Videogame Dispute

EA Sports Declines To Discuss
Possibility Of UFC Videogame
UFC President Dana White said that the organization had "hoped to join the ranks" of other sports as having a videogame created by EA Sports, but the gaming company "declined to discuss the possibility," according to John Morgan of White following Saturday's UFC 100 said that he is "'at war' with the popular video-game developers," and repeated that fighters who sign contracts to appear in EA Sports' upcoming MMA title "will find themselves out of the UFC's good graces." White: "I'm not tap-dancing around this thing or whatever. I'm telling you straight-up, I'm at war with them right now. That's how I look at it." White insisted that EA Sports "fired the first salvo in the still-developing controversy." White: "EA Sports told us, 'You're not a real sport. We wouldn't touch this thing. We want nothing to do with this.'" Morgan reported when EA Sports passed on the rights to UFC's videogame license, "rival software company THQ elected to partner" with the MMA organization to create "UFC Undisputed." White: "We put our asses on the line, THQ and the UFC, to make a video-game deal in the worst economy in the world. We go out there and do this thing, and it's successful, and now (expletive) EA Sports wants to do a video game. Really? That's not what you told us a year-and-a-half ago." White added that he has "made it clear that any fighter who signs over their likeness to the new project will be blacklisted from the UFC" (, 7/12).

HOW IT WENT DOWN: UFC Chair & CEO Lorenzo Fertitta Saturday said, "When we had the opportunity to go out and build a video game who do you think the first people we called was? EA Sports. ... We sat in the room with them and I would have cut a worse deal just to be with EA Sports. I wanted them so bad. They looked at them and they told us they didn't think MMA was a sport. ... They said the UFC was irrelevant and that we were wasting their time." Fertitta added, "We went down the street and did a deal with THQ and they thought MMA was a sport. So we stick with the guys who stick with us. Now the UFC video game has been a massive success with three million copies sold. And guess what EA wants to do? They want to do an MMA game now." Fertitta added, "If you are [a] young fighter coming up, it just makes sense to stay under the umbrella of UFC companies, sponsors and marketing to ensure yourself a cut of the action for the rest of your life" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 7/12).

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