(‘Have you ever wanted to own a championship belt made of genuine snakeskin or whatever the hell this is? Hi, I’m Jay Hieron, and I’m offering you the opportunity of a lifetime…’)
Guess the UFC is more serious about drawing a line in the sand over the EA Sports MMA game than Jay Hieron previously thought. Though the fighter told us he was all for signing on to the game and didn’t think it would keep him out of the Octagon, it appears to be a major factor in sending him to Strikeforce rather than the UFC. The former IFL welterweight champ has now officially signed on to face Nick Diaz for the Strikeforce welterweight title on August 15, and he had to turn down an improved offer from the UFC, partly because of his commitment to EA and partly because of the allure of a championship belt:
"I couldn’t turn down an opportunity to fight for a title shot," Hieron told FanHouse. "I had other offers on the table and with the UFC. I just signed a video game deal that I was obligated to [and] I couldn’t get out of it. … UFC stepped up the offer for me. It was a great offer, but again, I signed a deal with EA Sports. I was definitely surprised and I was ready to go back to the UFC. I got a great opportunity with Strikeforce, though, and I’m excited to fight for a title."
Take note, other non-UFC fighters. Unless your name rhymes with Tandy Schmouture, the UFC is not willing to look the other way on this video game thing. You can’t fault Hieron for his decision, though. This way he (presumably) makes a little scratch off the video game, whereas UFC fighters get nothing but continued employment for signing away their likeness in perpetuity, and he gets to immediately fight for a title against a highly regarded welterweight in Diaz.
All things considered, he made out well in this Affliction debacle. Kind of like the anti-Josh Barnett.