ana White’s most recent interview regarding the organization’s upcoming video game, UFC Undisputed 2010, yielded even more of an insight to his opinions regarding EA’s own effort, EA MMA.
With both games set to be released next year, the rivalry is as heated between Strikeforce and the UFC as it’s ever been. Even more pertinently, Dana White has it out for EA like never before.
As he revealed to “Kotaku dot com” on Tuesday, those fighters who’ve chosen to participate in EA’s forthcoming effort will not be banned from the UFC after all, a waffling of sorts from his initial declaration that the fighters snubbing the UFC’s video game effort in favor of EA’s would face perpetual penalty from the UFC for doing so.
“Nah, some people have crossed over…” White states, referring to fighters such as Randy Couture, who is confirmed to be participating in the upcoming EA MMA release.
“But believe me,” he continues, “this is still going to continue to be a battle. …they’re the me-toos. The UFC game is the original game.”
White’s gripes with EA Sports stems from dealings relevant to their initial advancements towards developing the first UFC title, UFC Undisputed 2009. Circa three years ago, White tells that he and Lorenzo Fertitta proposed the then-future title to EA Sports, only to be shot down by the reasoning that EA did not perceive MMA as a sport.
“EA Sports… We sat in the room with them,” recalls Lorenzo Fertitta during an interview with Kotaku late last year. “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,” Fertitta recollects. “This was three years ago. They said the UFC was irrelevant and that we were wasting their time. So 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.”
While Dana’s comments aim at the contingent of fans who may consider buying the game where they once were leveled towards those who were making the choice to participate in the effort, Lorenzo remains minded of the long-term ramifications that young fighters are making in choosing between the two entities.
“The UFC video game has been a massive success with three million copies sold,” Fertitta remarks. “And guess what EA wants to do? They want to do an MMA game now… If you are 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.“
EA Sports has seen reduced revenues as a result of the stagnation of their most tenured video game franchises (Madden, NBA Live and Fight Night, most notably) and downturns in the economy, as reduced disposable consumer income directly impacts sales of such luxuries as video games. White indicates his awareness of this element.
“Let’s see how they do now. Their earnings reports just came out and they suck. This company that used to control the whole video game world and were these big fucking giants, we’ll see where they are in the next two years. And as as far as the MMA space goes, we’ll kick the living shit out of them,” White foresees.
Still upset to a degree about what he feels was EA slighting not only his organization but the sport they’ve worked diligently to validate, White looks at the EA effort as a second-coming, second-best foray into a market which his own effort will eventually dominate.
“I talked to EA Sports about doing a Mixed Martial Arts game. They told us it’s not a real sport,” Dana tells. “First of all, they wouldn’t even take a meeting with us. They told us they would never do a game and now they’re coming out with a fucking game. Johnny come latelys. Me-toos.”
White states that exhibited abstinence from EA’s project on behalf of “UFC fans” would indicate cohesion with the UFC’s effort, citing that they’d be “fucking nuts if they buy the EA game.”
Though the sentiment is endearing, it’s unlikely that White’s words will do much to stop consumers from swarming to buy the second brand of MMA video game to hit the United States market so far.