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EA Sports Says There Are Enough “Unaffiliated” Fighters to Compete with “UFC Undisputed”

(Forget the fighters, how far can you go without the rights to the Octagon girls?)

Last week we mentioned that the video game barons at EA Sports were planning on putting out their own MMA game in 2010 to rival THQ’s “UFC Undisputed” and we wondered out loud, just who the hell did they think they could put in this thing?  Turns out they’ve thought of that.  MMA Payout pointed us to this article in the Financial Times Tech Blog where EA’s chief executive, John Riccitiello claims that there are plenty of fighters to choose from because “[m]ost of the athletes in mixed martial arts are unaffiliated.”

When you compare the UFC’s overall roster with every pro fighter competing at every level, that’s obviously true.  But does that mean you can really go head-to-head with “Undisputed” by tapping the relatively few big names not in the UFC (your Fedors, your Barnetts, your Jose Cansecos) and combining them with the Jason Guidas and "Crazy Horse" Bennetts of the fighting world?  Sounds like EA thinks so:

“Harking back to 1999, we didn’t have an NFL licence and Acclaim did and we outsold them with a players’ licence, and we quickly got an NFL licence after that. [THQ chief executive] Brian [Farrell]’s UFC game is already doing really well, but we feel that frankly there’s room for competition and we’re not afraid of it.”

Yeah, sounds like the dudes at EA are the types who will never let you forget that they managed to start up the absurdly popular Madden football series without having an NFL license.  Kind of like your friend who was a state champion wrestler in high school: every time he gets four beers in him, you’re going to hear all about it just before he shoots for a double-leg on you.

THQ’s Farrell pointed out that the UFC is the only brand worth controlling in the MMA video game sphere, saying, “We have the league, we have all the fighters, so EA seems a little late to the party.”

But on EA’s MMA game website and forums there’s already talk of the many unaffiliated fighters who could potentially turn up in a non-UFC game.  Of course there are guys like Shinya Aoki, Nick Diaz, “Mach” Sakurai, etc.  But there’s also some potential with the legends of the early days like Bas Rutten, Don Frye, Kazushi Sakuraba, and so on.

The question is, would that be enough to get you to buy a non-UFC MMA video game, or does the power of the UFC brand, as well as the fighters they already have the rights to, outweigh all those other considerations?

Cagepotato Comments

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J-Dog- June 11, 2009 at 9:31 am
@Baroni and the video game detractors....

My wife and I fight each other in UFC: Undisputed while our kids are in bed. You don't have to be a kid, a loser, or a dude to like video games!
AussieJosh- June 11, 2009 at 12:22 am
Id get it!!!.....If my girlfriend would let me get a Playstation! :(
Fedor vs. Bas- June 10, 2009 at 6:03 am
I think Phil Baroni should answer the question for all of you guys playing the Video Game... Take steriods, hit the gym, go outside, get a tan, and talk to a girl
TheHuytonHandGrenade- June 10, 2009 at 1:56 am
I would deffo buy an EA Sports MMA game dont they also make Fifa and the Fight Night Games are sick
Shatski- June 9, 2009 at 10:35 pm
Didn't think about it before that Randy Couture isn't in Undisputed, so it's possible he'd be in the EA game. And if Fedor is in it, then you know Randy will be the first in line so he can finally say that he fought and beat Fedor in an MMA match up. Not technically a lie, right?
Dubbayoo- June 9, 2009 at 8:58 pm
I wish I had a game developer at my disposal, because I have the blueprints for an awesome game.. I picture it as somewhat mortal kombatish.. but I'm persuadable. Put Tank in, give him just a big right hand and a signature move ejecting his opponent from the cage (or pit). Put Cabbage in- signature move is absorb impact until his opponent's stamina is gone (like that episode of the Simpsons). Gotta think freak show, boys. UFC's got too much bank to compete against them w/ anything REAL-mma related..

Oh, and I'd make Tito and Mauro commentators..
The Harvester- June 9, 2009 at 4:23 pm
EA does make great games and I am one of those individuals that buy Madden and the NHL game every year. The cool thing about the hockey game is that it not only has the NHL but the AHL and like 5 European leagues and the National teams. Something like that would be amazing if UFC got on board. UFC gets its name on the cover and dominant focus but they include other fighters and other leagues, that would be prime. However, I am not stupid enough to think that would ever happen as Dana doesn't like to share. But what if they made a game exactly like that with all the leagues and just left out UFC, if it started to get more popular and outsell the UFC game it would put the UFC in a pretty weak spot in the video game market.

Just think of FIFA and how many different leagues, teams, and players are in that game. EA has the money and the power to give THQ some sleepless nights.
Dante- June 9, 2009 at 4:19 pm
This game has so much potential. If I were THQ, I'd be walking on egg-shells hoping that UFC2010 is even greater than 2009.

EA's Fight Night franchise is clearly superior in terms of stand up combat gaming. If they can capture that magic on the ground, they win. Hands down.

Also, if they are able to round up a deep enough roster to have a "LEGENDS" section, that would be amazing.

With that said, I love Undisputed, can't stop playing it. If you want to get raped, hit me up on live... dudeyerrrLEGIT
llbunbaoll- June 9, 2009 at 1:44 pm
THQ is gonna run out of business soo, hopefully UFC goes to EA with better graphics. FUCK THQ!
Lysol- June 9, 2009 at 1:34 pm
Tank and Butterbean are both guys that the common sports fan knows and finds marketable for whatever reason. But really, if a game came out that will allow me to pit Oleg Taktarov against Don Frye in a non-gimmicky bowl surface, I'd buy it.
CZ- June 9, 2009 at 11:47 am
He's EA's chief executive making millions and this fuck can't spell "license." I feel so good about the two degrees I have now.
boilerbinkley- June 9, 2009 at 11:28 am
Shatski is correct, Tito, Arlovki, Sylvia, anyone already in this UFC game will remain in the UFC game. They signed the "my likeness is yours to abuse" contract when the game started getting developed.
Cookie Monster- June 9, 2009 at 11:06 am
neither of these games will ever measure up to Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style. silva's muay thai aint got shit on ODB's drunken boxing. ya boyeeeeeee!
Shatski- June 9, 2009 at 10:48 am
Also, would they be able to use Tito, Arlovski, and Sylvia? Since they are in Undisputed, I wondered if they hd signed one of those lifetime likeness agreements a while back when still with the company.
Shatski- June 9, 2009 at 10:45 am
Competition is good for growth in whatever industry it is taking place in, but EA seems like they are all about trying to build a monopoly. If they can't get the license, then maybe they'll try to do a buyout or hostile takeover of THQ like they tried with Rockstar right before GTA4 came out. They did the same thing with Bioware and Pandemic not long before the release of Mass Effect from Bioware, which sold pretty well, and like MMA in New York was presented with some uninformed and even idiotic opposition. But that insured that anything else put out by either of these two companies, a cut goes to EA. Not the first time and probably won't be the last. Some of their once fun franchises went stale or were just cranked out by that same idea of repetition with a few minor tweaks and other still with a few major changes that takes away what made those games great.
Some of those names in MMA that aren't related to the UFC currently might not be recognizable enough in the mainstream to generate those sales. Not in the U.S. anyway. The average American might recognize Chuck Liddell as "that UFC fghter with the mohawk," but if you mention Fedor Emelianenko you'll probably get a look from someone expecting you to explain who the hell that is. Even a casual fan of the UFC.
x FenixKnight x- June 9, 2009 at 10:37 am
Ok, they already stated they will be using the Fight Night Round 4 Graphics engine so you know its going to look better than the UFC game. As long as they have good controls, good single player campaign and these fighters. ( I know I left some out but you get the idea.)

Nick Diaz
Mayhem Miller
Eddie Alvarez
Josh Barnett
Lil Nog
Brett Rogers
Kid Yamamoto
King Mo Lawal
Kevin Randleman
Gilbert Melendez
Josh Thompson
Jeff Monson
Paul Buentello
Robbie Lawlor
Jake Shields
Bobby Lashley
Cung Le
Frank Shamrock
Gegard Mousasi
Vitor Belfort
Scott Smith
Joe Riggs
Gina Carano
War Machine lol
KidDinomite- June 9, 2009 at 10:26 am
Yeah it really does come down to gameplay and replay value. I mean the games are 60 fucking dollars!!! Thats why I waited 3 1/2 years to buy the XBOX. Not even touching the PS3 til it comes down to 300 for the best model. But the game needs to have some names in it too. Fedor, Babalu, and yes, even Tito Ortiz could bring the sales. I'm hoping EA has a top team working on the game like they have for Fight Night. If so, they could potentially trash THQ's UFC game.

However, I'm thinking UFC 2010 will bring the better gameplay, as well as custom styles, more options for created fighters, entrances, southpaw stances, and overall better production to the table. If they don't then I probably won't buy it if it's just a roster update like Madden is year after year, at least not for 60 bucks of my hard earned cash.

All in all though, competition is good. It makes the developers work harder and it brings us better games. That's a good thing.
My Fight Wiffa Cheeto- June 9, 2009 at 10:23 am
It's only a matter of time before EA gets the UFC license anyways.

I used to game test for them at Tiburon in Orlando during the summers when I was in college. They pay well and pay you to break the game everyway possible. We sat in sessions discussing with the developers what and where things needed to be improved. All the little things that we think are missing from Undisputed, Electronic Arts would have fixed or put into the game.

i.e. the menus, fighting against the cage, a way to not go into submissions when you're just trying to make a guard pass, a more in-depth career mode, being able to fight the other matches on the card you're apart of, etc.
boilerbinkley- June 9, 2009 at 10:23 am
I agree with caffn8d about the menu and the like... but I completely disagree with AntonG420. As you develop your character the striking and ground game completely diverge themselves from other fighters. You can clearly determine a Muay Thai from a Boxer, and a BJJ from a wrestler.

That being said, EA sports will end up hosting the UFC on their title... it's bound to be better the second time around.
Marcer- June 9, 2009 at 10:20 am
I wish EA would have just acquired the UFC brand instead of THQ, then we would probably have all of the big name fighters and a good game, instead of the mediocre one that is Undisputed.
caffn8d- June 9, 2009 at 10:13 am
Others are right... it comes down to gameplay. If it's a solid game, I'd definitely give it a shot. Especially if they had names like Bas, Frye, Royce, and others. That said, I think they have their work cut out for them in getting that gameplay down. I figured UFC 2009 would be a joke before trying the demo but it won me over. Sure, the submission stuff is still a bit goofy, but it's far and away better than I thought it would be. I've had a lot of fun playing against my friends... especially pre/post PPV events.

Oh, and I definitely second the complaints about some of the rough edges in UFC09. The load times and menu navigation in career mode are pretty ridiculous.
Dojima- June 9, 2009 at 10:10 am
I want EA to take the UFC franchise.... THQ rushed out Undisputed, despite having to know that it would be a success, leaving us with a semi-great game that has nothing to offer except realistic characters, but only some of them, as the rest are just generic CG with a name.. everything in the game outside of the fighting seems thrown together at the last minute with no thought to the finished product - I mean, for fucks sake the menus read at an odd fucking angle upwards , and that is just ameteur horseshit design... I still love the Undisputed '09, but EA would make a way better game with a much less repetitive and helluva a lot more fun career mode..

and also, why the fuck cant I let just the computer fight in Undisputed? sometimes, i just wanna set two fighters up and watch the computer fight itself... why did no one at THQ think of that simple option? my guess is a strict company policy against ganja.
AntonG420- June 9, 2009 at 9:51 am
Considering how Dana White is ripping fighters off with this video game while his bald head is collecting your loot, I'd buy anything other than the UFC game. Thats the reason I havent bought mine, because he bullied everyone in the UFC into signing their character over for free. EA makes way better games than THQ anyway. I mean I got bored from playing just the demo of UFC game, I could tell that the rest of the fighters/strikes/submissions are gonna exactly the same in the full version.
El Famous Burrito- June 9, 2009 at 9:51 am
If I could use the Keith Hackney Groin Shot, it'd be worth the $9.99 bargain bin price.
Justin- June 9, 2009 at 9:49 am
I'll buy both in 2010 and then buy UFC when EA takes it over in 2011. THQ made a good game but they can't compete.