UFC Allegedly Threatening Particpants in EA MMA Game

July 1, 2009

Hot on the heels of banning a fresh new crop of apparel sponsors, the hits keep on coming in regards to the draconian moves of the UFC. The newest measure involves blackballing from the UFC any current non-Zuffa fighter that signs with the EA MMA game and then seeks at a later date to sign with the UFC:

The most recent controversy came to light when managers were reportedly warned that if their fighters appeared in EA Sports’ upcoming MMA video game, they would never fight in the UFC again. The UFC and game developer THQ recently released UFC: Undisputed for the PS3 and Xbox, which has since gone platinum.

In the leadup to Undisputed’s release, the UFC threatened to cut rising star Jon Fitch, and his teammates, when he refused to sign over lifetime video game portrayal rights, for free, to the UFC. Fitch and the Fertitta’s eventually came to an agreement and the fighter returned to the roster, appearing on the untelevised undercard on his next scheduled fight.

The rumor was first reported on the Underground and later confirmed by MMA Agent Ken Pavia.

The move is one that shifts the general opinion of the UFC from that of “That is a gangster move” (in a fawning “I Love Dana White’s Ruthlessness” mindset that some adhere to) to a “That is a gangster move, hmmm…let me refresh myself on what those RICO statutes cover” mindset. But I digress….

While this move is seemingly par for the Zuffa course, it isn’t exactly fresh material. The same threats were made when the IFL were enlisting fighters for their inaugural season. If fighter that appeared in the EA MMA game becomes available , White (much like Jon Fitch during the THQ debacle) will likely lack the courage of of his convictions and follow the money in making his decision to sign a fighter or not. In the meantime it adds to a general pall of animus and retribution in the air towards and coming from the UFC brass.

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