Condit tattoo missing from UFC video game

June 20, 2014

Earlier this week, EA Sports released the latest UFC video game which includes many of your favorite UFC fighters including Carlos Condit.  However, gamers may notice that Condit will not have the lion tattoo that is on the side of his body for legal reasons.

As  the Wall Street Journal reports, the tattoo was removed from the video game as a precaution from infringing on any copyright issue that Condit’s tattoo artist may have with its use.  Previously, Condit’s tattoo artist sued defunct video game maker THQ for the unauthorized use of the tattoo in UFC Undisputed.  Long story short, Escobedo asked for millions, the Bankruptcy Court quantified the use to the sum of $22,500 (the amount Condit was paid for the use of his likeness).

Condit tattoo

The move to digitally airbrush Condit of his tattoo underscores a big issue the National Football League Players’ Association (and likely other leagues) is facing when it comes to player tattoos and digital rights.  One of the ways to protect itself from lawsuits is to have players get their tattoo artists sign releases.

Payout Perspective:

Authenticity is something that sports video games have and the inclusion of fighters’ facial features, hair style, mannerisms and even their tattoos are important. College football games have come under fire for similar issues and we may see the elimination of any identifiable feature your favorite college player may have in a game.   But that issue is a little different from the one here.  However, it is clear that If you are Carlos Condit, you might be concerned with the fact that your likeness is not exact, which may impact your overall future brand. That argument is a little far-fetched but the issue of re-imaging personas due to concerns about being sued is a slippery slope we may see in future video games.

EA Sports UFC Video Game Features “The Ultimate Fighter” & Sponsors

May 11, 2014

With just about a month away from the official release date, EA Sports has finally released details for the career mode in the video game. The big news here is the addition of The Ultimate Fighter as a prerequisite for fighters to enter the UFC, which is something THQ never incorporated into their UFC video game in the past.


Payout Perspective:

Its actually surprising that the UFC has not previously incorporated TUF into any of their previous video games.  There are many naysayers when it comes to TUF, whether it’s the stale format, the lack of talent the show produces, or the declining ratings. The addition of TUF to the video game once again illustrates what type of value the show still has for the UFC in their eyes. Not only is TUF how the UFC has previously reached out to casuals and has converted many of them to PPV buyers, but its also their number one tool they will utilize towards breaking into new international territories.  This is the reason why I have repeatedly argued that TUF is more important than most fans realize. Not only did it save the company from going bankrupt when it was $40M in debt almost ten years ago, but it continues to be a key component in their business model.  Of course, no one can argue that the effectiveness of the show hasn’t considerably decreased since the explosion of free MMA programming all over network and cable television. Especially now that the UFC is on free network TV after their FOX TV deal.

Along with the TUF, career mode will also allow the fighters to sign deals with UFC approved sponsors.  The video features the following sponsors: EA Sports, Affliction, RVCA, Musclepharm, Bruce Lee Enterprises, Training Mask, Topps, Alienware, Bony Acai, and Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery to name a few.  The number of sponsors for a fighter are directly correlated to their popularity and success during their career. Their unlocked sponsors allow fighters to fill up their sponsorship banner and use their gear in the game.

As for the fighters MMA skill set, they will build up experience points throughout their career which can then be used to evolve and level up a fighter. The more experience and evolution points, the more advance moves a fighter can unlock.  There are three ability categories for each fighter, which consist of Ground, Stand-up, and Physical. These abilities can then be applied to fighter game-plans which give a fighter performance boosts in those areas.  Career longevity will be calculated for a fighter depending on his/her fighting style. If you fight smart and don’t take too much damage, you will have a longer longevity as supposed to an exciting brawler who takes a lot of damage.

EA Sports unveils UFC release date, game cover, & details

April 15, 2014

Last year, EA Sports announced that Jon Jones would be on the cover of this year’s EA Sports UFC video game. Alexander Gustafsson also joined Jones after being voted in by the fans after defeating GSP in the finals. Below is the finished cover for the game.

EA_UFC_2014_Cover currently lists the EA Sports UFC video game for the PS4 and Xbox One for $60 USD with a release date of June 17th. Here are the features for the game:

  • Real Damage: Every fighter knows that one good shot can ruin your day. EA SPORTS UFC introduces a non-linear damage system which can result in big damage coming from a single strike. The system produces a greater variety of cuts and contusions.
  • Dynamic Striking: A mixed martial artist uses the environment to his advantage and for the first time in a UFC game, you can too. A dynamic environment allows you to pull off jaw-dropping moves using the Octagon, including roundhouse kicks, superman punches and much more. Combine those abilities with the best striking technology in the industry and that one perfect strike could change the fight.
  • Real-Time Exertion: A UFC bout is one of the most physically demanding sports on the planet requiring mixed martial artists to give it their all with every movement. Real-Time Exertion brings each moment of that action to life in your gameplay experience. Through real-time vein popping, skin discoloration, muscle flex, as well as signs of fatigue setting in through the course of each round, you will witness the effort it takes to be one of the best fighters in the world.
  • Strategic Submission Battles: To own the belt, you have to be dominant on your feet and on the mat. EA SPORTS UFC re-invents the ground game to create a battle for position and control that captures the strategy of a submission battle. Like the real sport, in EA SPORTS UFC fighters will work through multiple stages as they work to advance or escape from a fight-ending submission.
  • Fighter Likeness and Facial Animations: EA SPORTS UFC will set a new bar for character likeness and emotion in gaming. For the first time in an EA SPORTS game, every single licensed athlete in the game has been created from high resolution 3D head and body scans to deliver revolutionary character likeness and authenticity. Powered by EA SPORTS IGNITE, new facial animation technology delivers more expression, emotion and will communicate greater sense of awareness and intelligence in the Octagon.


Payout Perspective:

The UFC’s debut from EA Sports is scheduled for June 17th, which is roughly about two months from press release.  Not much promotion has occurred for the game yet other than private demos and slow leaks of features and scans for the game.  That figures to change as we get closer to launch date.

E3 will take place on between June 10 and June 12, so just a week before the release.  Expect a big UFC presense during the event.  Also, it is expected that a EA UFC demo should be available before the release date, which would be available at E3 as well.  The UFC will also push the game’s release on the UFC 174: Johnson vs. Bagautinov PPV, though it’s a shame that event will likely receive little exposure.

A few weeks ago, MMAJunkie’s Mike Bohn did a developer Q&A with the EA UFC team, which is a very good read for those interested on the developers thoughts and their process to making the game.  There was also some controversy a week ago when it was announced that Bruce Lee would be a pre-order bonus in the EA UFC video game. The inclusion of the martial arts icon was not the issue, but the labeling of him as “the Father of MMA” in the game did appear to ruffle some feathers within the MMA community.

UFC footage from EA Sports features fighter likeness

February 13, 2014

In anticipation for EA Sport’s UFC video game release in Spring, EA Sports will be releasing video game  footage and fighter screenshots to build up the launch.  This weekend, new footage was released to illustrate the next-gen likeness that the UFC video game can take advantage off from the PS4 and Xbox One.


Payout Persective:

EA Sports UFC video game looks to be coming along quite nicely.  With only a few months away from the expected launch date, you can expect more videos and footage to be released with promotion kicking into another gear real soon. So far, the images and short clips have looked great, but the in-game play has been kept a secret so far.  There are a few hands-on reviews starting to leak, like this one from gamesradar.  We will keep an eye out for the release date, which the UFC will heavily promote with a UFC event.  An EA Sports heavy promo strategy on the April UFC on FOX 11 event.

Gustafsson voted for cover of EA Sports UFC video game

December 14, 2013

Alexander Gustafsson was named the winner of the fan vote to be on the cover of the upcoming “EA Sports UFC” video game.  Interesting enough, Gustafsson beat out Georges St. Pierre who announced his indefinite leave from the UFC earlier in the day.

Via Wikimedia

Via Wikimedia

The light heavyweight will join Jon Jones on the cover of the video game which is slated to be released this spring.  Gustafsson won the Metro-PCS sponsored vote in which voters picked their favorite fighter in a “tournament-style” vote.  Due to high vote production from his native Sweden, Gus was the highest vote-getter in each round of voting.  According to The Wrestling Observer (subscription recommended), 40% of the voting in the last week came from Europe.  Most of these votes were presumably for Gus.

Payout Perspective:

The Gus vote is a little surprising considering that GSP is one of the sport’s most popular fighters.  It also made Friday’s announcements a little more interesting.  What if GSP announced his leave and then he was voted the cover guy for the launch of the video game?  Would GSP do press for the video game this spring when he wanted time away?  With Gus, you get a guy that can carry the popularity in Europe and gave Jones the best fight of the light heavyweight champ’s career.  Thus, it makes having them on the cover make sense.  But, for those not following the UFC, GSP would have been the more recognizable face than Gus.

Gus likely won based on his social media campaign and the staunch backing of his Swedish fans. Of course, GSP also asked his twitter following to vote for him as well.  In comparison, Gus has about 59,500 twitter fans versus GSP who has close to 876K followers on twitter.

THQ sues EA and Zuffa over video game acquisition

October 7, 2013

According to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court in Delaware , Bankrupt video game maker THQ is suing Zuffa and Electronic Arts, Inc. (EA) stating that EA had informed Zuffa of THQ’s shaky finances as EA and Zuffa worked together to so that EA could acquire the license to UFC video games. The Complaint was filed last Friday.

The issue goes back to 2006 when EA expressed interest in acquiring the UFC video game franchise from Zuffa.  However, court documents stated that, “EA made what Zuffa considered to be an insultingly low offer for the UFC video game rights and was rejected.”

In 2009, THQ developed “UFC 2009 Undisputed” and it was a success selling over 3.5 million units.   Despite the success two years prior, THQ’s finances declined in 2011 and the company determined that it would be unable to support its projects including the next games in the UFC franchise.

In 2011, THQ and EA discussed a potential sale of THQ as a whole to EA.  According to court documents, “THQ provided EA internal financial information including detailed sales and revenue figures for the UFC Franchise, and projected marketing expenditures on the next UFC Franchise game.”  Despite initial interests, EA broke off negotiations with THQ in December 2013 2011 citing disinterest.

Two weeks later, Zuffa criticized THQ about its expenditures and threatened to terminate its relationship with THQ based on its insolvency.  There had been no prior evidence of dissatisfaction with THQ.

THQ entered into a $10 million settlement with Zuffa in exchange for the termination of its license and all intellectual property rights to the UFC game brand in 2012.  However, THQ now claims that this was a fraudulent transfer as it believes that EA had contacted Zuffa and conveyed the internal financial information it was provided by THQ during the potential sale of THQ. THQ claims that it was “hamstrung” in negotiations with Zuffa due to its knowledge of THQ’s finances and the actual value of the UFC video game franchise was $20 million.

UPDATE 10/08/13:  Some more info from the Complaint

EA Sports MMA was released in June 2009.  You may recall that it featured the Strikeforce plus Randy Couture.  This included Fedor, Nick Diaz, Jacare Souza and others. It also featured Bas Rutten as a trainer in the game.  A hidden game feature was discovered where a player could create their own MMA fighter and could enable a player to create UFC fighters with the same tattoos, shorts, hairstyles, etc.  Zuffa discovered this issue in late November 2010 and notified EA of its objection to the use of UFC licensed fighters.  In March 2011, EA agreed to patch the game feature so that you could no longer recreate UFC fighters in the EA Sports MMA game.

Paragraph 19 indicates that after a “December 12, 2013 high-level meeting” negotiations between THQ and EA broke off.  Obviously, the Complaint likely meant December 12, 2011 as Zuffa sent the demand letter to THQ on December 30, 2011.

Payout Perspective:

The basic claim here is that THQ is claiming that when it had entered into negotiations to sell itself to EA due to financial troubles, it revealed confidential financials to EA as EA was doing its due diligence before the potential acquisition.  Once acquisition talks failed THQ claims EA took what it had known about THQ finances and sent it to Zuffa.  As many recall, EA had developed EA Sports MMA which did not do well because it did not have recognizable UFC names in its game.  Thus, THQ argues there was reason why EA wanted Zuffa to terminate its relationship with THQ.

EA is set to unveil a new UFC game, “EA Sports UFC” this spring.

The Bankruptcy laws are a little complex and THQ is asking the Bankruptcy trustee to undo the authorized settlement to Zuffa as it was not market value.  It also argues that EA tortuously interfered with its UFC contract by divulging confidential information to Zuffa.

MMA Payout will keep you up to date with this situation as it progresses.

“EA Sports UFC” Among Strong Lineup Announced for Xbox One Release

May 21, 2013

Microsoft headquarters today hosted the much anticipated Xbox One reveal, which showcased key EA Sports franchises such as Madden, NBA Live, FIFA, and the newest addition EA Sports UFC.

The video was to show off EA Sports new engine, Ignite, developed for the next generation Xbox console. Though there was no actual gameplay footage, it was a sneak peak of what can be expected in the future. The UFC portion focused on UFC LHW Champion Jon Jones and UFC LW/FW contender Anthony Pettis performing the “Showtime Kick” on current UFC LW Champion Ben Henderson.


MMAPayout Perspective:

Not much was “revealed” for the EA Sports UFC game other than it will be available next year for the Xbox One, but to be included with great franchises such as Madden, FIFA and NBA Live is a pretty big deal for the UFC.  In terms of development, it seems that they are still in the early stages, but we will keep an eye on E3 and see if more information about the game will become available.

First “EA Sports UFC” news to be revealed during next generation Xbox launch

May 20, 2013

One day before Microsoft is set to debut the next generation XBOX console, EA Sports announces that it will also release EA UFC news on the same day.



Payout Perspective:

The assumption here is that the first official news coming out of EA Sports regarding the UFC title will take place during Microsoft’s press conference tomorrow, which will unveil the next generation XBOX console.

During a recent EA press conference, it was announced that EA Sports UFC would not be released until after this fiscal year, which ends after April 2014.  That would mean that tomorrow’s announcement could confirm that EA Sports UFC will first be officially available on the XBOX’s new console.  Also confirmed for tomorrow’s event is EA Sports FIFA franchise.

It is expected that various EA Sports titles will have a major role during tomorrow’s conference, which will be used to boast XBOX’s vast on launch  titles as well as developer support, something both Sony and Nintendo have been struggling with as of late.  There are even rumors of exclusivity talks among the two brands with certain titles, but just mere talk up to now.

Mircrosoft’s new generation console, is expected to have some presence in next month’s E3 event in Los Angeles.

The UFC Video Game Chronicles (Part 1) – Enter the Digital Era

May 16, 2013

The Ultimate Fighting Championship video game franchise made its debut towards the end of what many of its fans now refer to as the “Dark Ages” for Mixed Martial Arts. The successful venture occurred just a few months before current owners, Zuffa LLC, purchased the MMA promotion from the near bankrupt Semaphore Entertainment Group.



During this time, the struggling MMA promotion was still sporting a black-eye from politicians and mainstream media who labeled it “human cockfighting”.  This was a time before “cage fighting” was fully regulated, sanctioned, or accepted throughout the country. Due to the circumstances, not much was expected from the UFC’s initial foray into the video gaming world.

The self titled release was first made available on a console that many critics and fans now say was ahead of its time, the Sega Dreamcast. The UFC poster-boy and brand ambassador at the time, Tito Ortiz, was a no-brainer as its first cover athlete.   The game was first developed by Anchor Inc. for the Dreamcast and released on August 29, 2000. A follow up release was then developed by Opus for the Sony PlayStation (PSX) on November 13, just a few months later. The game was even ported to the Game Boy Color on November 27, just weeks after the PSX release by Fluid Studios. All three versions were published by Crave Entertainment.

To the surprise of many, the game was well received by fans and critics. Popular video game outlet IGN gave it score of “9.1 – Amazing” and was awarded the “Editors Choice” tag. Metacritic, who takes the scores from all major outlets and computes an average score, scored it an 88 out of 100. The game on it’s own merit proved to be a success, but it did more than just provide good game-play to video game fans.  Due to word-of-mouth and rave reviews, it served as a tool to introduce the UFC and MMA product to an untapped market.  It was the first step the UFC had taken towards trickling into the mainstream, where they could reach young teens and commence the process of converting the non-MMA fan. The video-game playing teen demographic back in the early 2000’s eventually evolved into a sizable portion of what has become key to the UFC’s growth over the years, the elusive male 18-34 demographic.

Much of the success the first UFC video game obtained can be attributed to one key decision… or stroke of  luck, depending on who you ask. SEG made the decision to license their product to Crave Entertainment and selected a relatively small Japanese video game development start-up, Anchor Inc.


– The Anchor Inc. Era


Anchor Inc. is a Japanese video game development & CG animation production studio, founded on October 1996. The small development group, which has employed a staff of anywhere between 25-50 throughout the years, was founded by Masahiro Onoguchi and his brother Kohichi Onoguchi.  Before starting Anchor Inc, Masahiro Onoguchi worked at Namco, one of the most prestigious Japanese game development studios. While at Namco, he worked on classic fighting games such as Tekken and Soul Calibur. After leaving Namco, Onoguchi worked for a small company, DreamFactory, which was founded by some of the people from Namco and Sega.  His strong relationship with the group led to providing animation and support for the Virtua Fighter game series, an original 3-D fighter title released for Sega consoles.

Anchor Inc’s  first release was Fighter’s Destiny for the N64, which was produced in cooperation with Namco.  Their next release would be their first full-fledged in-house release. The title of that game was “Ultimate Fighting Championship” and was set to release on the Sega Dreamcast on August 2000.  Anchor Inc. would go on to release some of the best MMA & WWE games ever developed for that era, though they never made another UFC game after their initial full release.


 – THQ Crosses Path With the UFC


With the amount of success and popularity the Japanese MMA promotion PRIDE had amounted in recent years, game publisher THQ decided to acquire the PRIDE video game license from Dream Stage Entertainment.  The next step in THQ’s MMA venture was to find a developer to work on the game.  Ironically, because of the success the first UFC title had achieved, THQ reached out to Anchor Inc. to develop their PRIDE game a few months after Ultimate Fighting Championship was released. As you can imagine, Anchor Inc was more than thrilled to take on the 2-year project, which involved creating the PRIDE video game engine from scratch.

“Yes. With UFC for the Dreamcast, Anchor was given more attention outside of Japan. When we got the Pride project, we were excited because Pride is very well known in Japan. We got the feeling that we’d be recognized as the Pride developers. UFC was a popular overseas event at the time of our developing the game, so we didn’t really know about the fighters or the skills. But Pride is held in Japan, so we know the fighters, events, etc. We’re more attached to Pride than we were to UFC.”

When “PRIDE FC: Fighting Championships” was ready to release, it had much hype from gaming and MMA enthusiasts. The game walked away with IGN’s PS2 simulation and fighting game award of E3 in 2002 and only created more hype to the much anticipated Anchor Inc follow-up. After it was released in February 2003, the game got many positive reviews but the lack of a few game-play options drew some minor critiques. IGN gave it a score of “8.0 – Great” while Metacritic scored it a 77 out of 100. In the end, the game became a classic, just like the previous Anchor Inc release.


 – The Crave Entertainment Era

Crave Entertainment will forever be known as the first video game publisher to release a UFC game, but it released many games for multiple consoles for over a decade. Crave was founded in 1997 by Nima Taghavi and was based out of Newport Beach, California. After the successful release of “Ultimate Fighting Championship”, Crave quickly began to work on a sequel.  Since Anchor Inc was busy working on their PRIDE FC video game, Crave partnered with another Japanese developer, DreamFactory, for the release of “UFC Tapout”. Interestingly enough, DreamFactory was the company Onoguchi worked for before founding Anchor Inc after leaving Namco.

UFC Tapout was released for the XBOX on February 2002. The game received some high scores though there were some mixed reviews from the critics. GameSpot gave Tapout a score of “8.3 – Great”, though Metacritic computed a score of 77 out of 100, which was a similar score the PRIDE FC game received one year later. The game eventually became the official Xbox Magazine 2002 Editors Choice Award winner. Though the game had some flaws from the original Dreamcast title, the release by DreamFactory was another success for Crave.

The next step for Crave was to release a PS2 version of the game, which they titled “UFC Throwdown”. This time around, Crave teamed up with Genki, Capcom Production Studio 3 for the release.  The reviews were not as pleasant as previous releases and Metacritic computed a score of 68 out of 100 for the game.

After the PS2 release, Crave focused on the Tapout sequel for the XBOX.

“Tapout 2 will feature a completely overhauled core game engine. ‘With the changes in the engine, an enhanced AI, upgraded career mode, and new fighting moves, we’re practically putting the gamer right in the middle of The Octagon,’ said Rob Sandberg, senior producer at Crave Entertainment. ‘Tapout 2 will look and play noticeably different from any previous version, and I think fighting game fans will be very impressed.”

By the time “Tapout 2” was released for the XBOX on March 2003, Crave Entertainment had lost the UFC video game license.  The game ended up being published by TDK Mediactive, though it was still developed by DreamFactory. Metacritic computed a score of 66 out of 100, continuing it’s ratings slide from the first two games it had released.

Crave continued to release games for multiple gaming consoles after the partnership with the UFC ended. It was eventually acquired by Handleman Corporation in 2005 for $95M. Four years later in 2009, it was sold to Fillpoint for only $8.1M due to Handleman’s bankruptcy proceedings. As has become the fate for many video game companies that went through the recession, Crave Entertainment eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2012.


– The Post Anchor Inc Era

After Tapout 2 was released by TDK Mediactive for the XBOX in 2003, TDK did not retain the UFC video game license.  This time around, UFC partnered with video game publisher Global Star and previously used development group “Opus” for the PS2 follow-up to “Throwdown”.  The game once again received mixed reviews and  Metacritic computed it’s lowest score to date, 54 out of 100 for a UFC game.  As it turns out, this would end up being the last video game release for the UFC before going on a 6 year hiatus.

Many fans and critics pin-point losing Anchor Inc. studios to THQ and the PRIDE FC game as the culprits for the downward slide of the UFC video game franchise.  As it turns out, not only was PRIDE stealing some of the UFC’s best fighters at the time, it also took an essential component of what made the UFC’s first release such a big hit, the small video game development group Anchor Inc.

Anchor Inc’s Onoguchi said the following about the UFC games that were developed after their departure:

“Not fun at all. I want to be honest. First, I don’t like the gameplay at all. And it seems that they put in more modes and features to cover up the lack of gameplay.”

Video game critics shared a similar view:

“Overall, UFC: Tapout 2 has some strengths, but they’re the same strengths that the previous Tapout game had. The game doesn’t really bring anything new to the genre, and the game’s AI flaws make it a very dull single-player experience. Even devout fans of the sport would be better off with the previous Tapout game, or, if they own a PlayStation 2, THQ’s Pride FC.”

The next UFC game would not be released until 2009, by none other than THQ… which we will continue in part 2 of this series.


Tapout (XBOX – 2002)



Throwdown (PS2, GC – 2002)



Tapout 2 (XBOX – 2003)



Sudden Impact (PS2 – 2003)


NOTE 1: Throwdown, Tapout 2, and Sudden Impact cover art features the late UFC Hall of Famer Charles Lewis, Jr., aka “The Mask” from the “TapouT” clothing brand. He is also also an unlockable fighter along with Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta.

NOTE 2: Before there was Ronda Rousey or even Gina Carano, there was Erica Montoya.  The UFC was so close to featuring Montoya as the first female fighter in the UFC, that she was put into the UFC Sudden Impact video game as a fighter, which released in 2003. In fact, the UFC was strongly considering a bout between Erica Montoya and Shelby Walker for UFC 51 in 2005, but the match never materialized.


Bellator 71 live on to promote “MMA Onslaught”

June 21, 2012

The Bellator Summer Series begins tomorrow and it will be streamed live without commercial interruption on video game web site to promote the new Bellator video game “MMA Onslaught.”

Via Bellator press release:

“We are taking this opportunity to dedicate an entire event to showcase our new video game, ‘MMA Onslaught’ and will substitute commercial inventory with a really cool first-look at the game,” said Bjorn Rebney, Bellator Chairman & CEO. “We are confident both fight fans and gamers will enjoy our first foray into the gaming world.”

Bellator will also be streaming the fight card on Ustream,, and, along with various other MMA and video game websites to be announced later this week.

Payout Perspective:

The web site kicked me off as of Thursday night so hopefully this will be rectified so that this promotion will work for tomorrow.  The promotion makes sense considering Bellator is releasing the game this summer and it’s kicking off the summer season.  The video game will be a test balloon for Bellator to see what the market is like for the game and we may see a full blown game in the future.

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