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MMA Roundup: EA vs Zuffa Brewing, HDNetFights Gets New "Voice", Affliction on Japanese PPV, UFC 100 Bad For MMA Being Reported?

EA Sports vs Zuffa War Officially BrewingEasportsmma_medium_medium

Lorenzo and Dana white had some real unpleasant words for EA Sports and tried to justify their lifetime ban against fighters outside of the UFC who sign with EA Sports. Here is what Dana White said, via MMAJunkie:

"EA Sports told us, 'You're not a real sport,'" White said. "'We wouldn't touch this thing. We want nothing to do with this.'"

"We put our asses on the line, THQ and the UFC, to make a video-game deal in the worst economy in the world," White said. "We go out there and do this thing, and it's successful, and now [expletive] EA Sports wants to do a video game. Really? That's not what you told us a year-and-a-half ago.

"You told us you'd never be in business with us. They wouldn't even take a meeting because mixed martial arts disgusted them. This wasn't a real sport. Boy, they got over that real quick, didn't they?"

White views EA Sports' tactics with obvious disapproval, and he's made it clear that any fighter who signs over their likeness to the new project will be blacklisted from the UFC.

"I'm not tap-dancing around this thing or whatever," White said. "I'm telling you straight-up, I'm at war with them right now. That's how I look at it."

While former UFC champion and currently contracted UFC fighter Randy Couture is expected to appear in the EA Sports offering – a matter White says the company worked through with "The Natural" during a recent court appearance – the UFC president said not to expect that trend to continue.

"You won't be in the UFC," White said about additional fighters who sign with EA Sports.

...

"EA doesn't give a [expletive] about mixed martial arts. They made that very clear."

 

Here is what Lorenzo Fertitta said regarding EA Sports and the fighter ban:

"There is no such thing as banned, but this is something that does get under my skin and Dana’s skin because when we had the opportunity to go out and build a video game who do you think the first people we called was? EA Sports… We sat in the room with them and 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. 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. Now the UFC video game has been a massive success with three million copies sold. 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."

 

Am I crazy, or does this sound like someone who got their feelings hurt a few years ago, can't take rejection well, and now is declaring war against them and backing up the one guy who believed in them? Now, is what Dana White saying true? Did EA reject the UFC have no interest in MMA?  Well, lets look at the facts, starting with a quote from MMAPayout and Ivan Trembow:

That is some nice revisionist history ……. The launch (and sales success) of UFC 2009: Undisputed came in May 2009. EA Sports has been working on an MMA video game since 2008, and multiple media outlets wrote about it in 2008, including MMA Payout and the Wrestling Observer.

The UFC’s management was fully aware of the existence of EA’s MMA game in 2008, as that was one of the major reasons that the UFC threatened its roster of fighters into signing away their lifetime exclusive video game rights for free (ie, to ensure that they couldn’t appear in EA’s game).

 

Now let me take it further:

  • Jan 14, 2007: UFC Signed a Deal With THQ, hoping to release their first game on 2007 or 2008.
  • July 17 2007: Peter Moore Leaves Microsoft To Be Head Of EA Sports.
  • Feb 27, 2008: Reports are out that EA has been working on an MMA game.
  • May 2009: UFC Undisputed 2009 Launched.

First, we have Dana saying that 1.5 years ago, EA Sports was not interested in doing an MMA game.  Actually, if you look at the time-line, EA Sports has been planning on working on an MMA game since Peter Moore became the head of EA Sports, and that was in 2007.  This contradicts Dana's remarks that EA doesn't give a sh*t about MMA or that they are only doing it now because of the success of EA Sports.  Lorenzo, on the other hand, didn't say 1.5 years ago like Dana, he said 3 years ago.  In that time, EA and EA Sports had a different regime, led by Larry Probst and whoever was running EA sports at the time, and their priority was to establish their baby, Fight Night, as the #1 combat sport video game.  It makes sense that the UFC was rejected back then, since boxing meant a whole lot to EA back then.  Now, as Peter Moore joined EA Sports, he has proclaimed that EA can't just have Madden and Fight Night as yearly titles.  Since he took over, he has been a proponent for MMA (not just UFC) and other extreme sports.  How did Peter Moore handle such an attack by Zuffa?

Peter Moore responds today in regards to the allegations made by Zuffa that EA doesn't care about MMA:

 

"I also saw the first playable of EA SPORTS MMA while at Tiburon last week. We have a team of incredibly hardcore fans of the sport working hard and making excellent progress, and we look forward to delivering a title in 2010 that we believe will provide further focus and attention to the sport.    

I know there has been some recent discussion about EA SPORTS bringing a challenger to this sport. I love mixed martial arts, and we've been working on a game concept since I came to (sic) two years ago. I have great respect for the organizations and individuals that have invested in the sport's growth over the past decade – so this is one that is near and dear to me and I'm excited to see such good progress to date. I trace my MMA video game roots back to my support of Crave's UFC title on the Dreamcast in 2000, and have been a fan ever since.

* Note he mentions "respect for the organizations and individuals that have invested in the sport's growth over the past decade", without once addressing White's and the UFC's allegations that EA is showing anything but respect.

 

You can see what the UFC is trying to do here, and that is, turn all MMA fans against EA, saying that they don't care about the sport, and are only here to make a quick buck.  Again, the UFC has said this before and is nothing new to try to get its loyal fans against its competitors (see Affliction and EliteXC for examples).  The UFC and Dana White are masters at manipulating their fan base and turning them against whomever they point at.  They are exercising that power now against EA, and it will be quite intriguing to see how EA handles the bullying currently being applied by the UFC (which is also ironic since EA is usually the one being accused of bullying others in the video game industry). 

Either way, Peter Moore and EA Sports seem to have the most respect for MMA and all promotions and aspect of the sport.  Their entire team down at Florida train and practice MMA, and love the sport.  I will leave this topic with this quote from Peter Moore and the EA group:

Our title will bring both innovation and further authenticity to mixed martial arts, not to mention a strong global publishing network that will help spread the sport's popularity around the world.

 

Fight Linker has their own opinion about the EA vs Zuffa "war":

Pretty good argument if you ask me. Dana White rages against the company that spit in OUR faces and told US that OUR sport is trash. But now that the UFC video game did so well, EA has come along and wants to cash in! THOSE FUCKERS! It’s goddamn rousing. But it rings less true when you know like Dana obviously knows that EA has been working on this game for over a year and a half now, not just since the UFC game was released last month. They’ve already got their game to the point that it’s playable.I know EA rushes it’s games out the door, but only starting the game after the UFC’s game sold well would be E.T. on the Atari levels of rush.

So lemme ask you: if EA has been working on an MMA video game for years, do you think they spat in Dana White’s face and told him to stick his loser bloodsport bullshit up his ass where it belongs? Or do you think it might be more likely that they simply lost the bid for the UFC franchise to THQ? And do you really think Dana White was “at war” with EA a few weeks ago when their ads were plastered all over the octagon and a 5 minute preview was played during the TUF 9 broadcast?

That’s what’s so fucked up about all this: Dana’s whole article is 100% FUCKING SPIN. And it’s pretty epic spin at that. Typically you don’t see this level outside of politics, which is what I find so creepy about the whole thing. Dana White is basically trying to create an emotional justifications for the dickish things the UFC is doing. And his giant posse of fans are lapping it up and repeating it, not even questioning why in this ‘war’ with Electronic Arts, the only ones taking any damage are fucking fighters.

 

Watch Kalib Run also put in their 2 cents on the matter:

According to Moore, development began in 2007 which is when THQ announced that they were developing a UFC licensed MMA video game. Though didn't give any details regarding the studio developing the game or the game itself. There was a memorable trailer featuring Quinton Jackson and Chuck Liddell in 2007 right around UFC 71. 

Lorezno Fertitta states that they went to EA three years ago, making it around 2006, but EA was unwilling to do business. WKR contacted EA Sport PR and they directed us to Peter Moore's blog. In Moore's statement he tells us that EA was developing the game since he got there. So there is room for this supposed UFC-EA meeting before Moore took over the leadership role. 

...

Since THQ's MMA license is already on the market, and EA's is slated for 2010, a full year behind if it is released in May, it stands to reason that THQ had a year's head start. That would put THQ's development cycle at 2006 the time that Fertitta talks about the supposed EA meeting. 

 

Affliction Trilogy Will Be Available to the Japan Via PPV

Trilogy3_medium_medium

Kamipro reports that Affliction Trilogy will indeed be available for Japanese MMA fans, as I reported a few weeks ago.  I also wrote that Gomi fighting on the Trilogy card would make the most sense, and would be huge for Affliction and M-1 to at least make it tempting for Japanese fans, although buying PPV's in outside of the USA is not something that can be counted as a reliable or substantial monetary stream.

Josh vs Fedor on 8.1.09, AFFLICTION'S Decision For Japan PPV broadcast

PRIDE fight of the century never took place, will be Fedor Emelianenko vs Josh Barnett, 8.1, AFFLICTION, Sky PerfecTV! The PPV will be broadcast!
8月1日(土)米国カリフォルニア州アナハイム『アフリクション』PPV放送決定 Saturday, August 1, Anaheim, California, AFFLICTIONON PPV broadcas

 


 

"The Voice" Becomes HDNet's New MMA Voice

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MMAPayout reports that  "The Voice" and Guy Mezger are the new MMA commentators for HDNet.  Mike Schiavello has just signed a 3 year deal with HDNet:

On tonight’s edition of Inside MMA it was announced that Michael Schiavello will be the new voice of MMA on HDNet. MMAPayout.com has learned that the deal’s term is three years. Schiavello is currently the English language announcer for K-1 and is known for his flamboyant style. He will be paired with MMA legend Guy Mezger in the HDNet Fights broadcast booth.


 

With Intensified Coverage of UFC 100, Was UFC 100 Good For The Sport? Media Quick To Point Out Negativity Revolving Around UFC 100

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From Jonothan Snowden - UFC 100, Bad For The Sport:

This was MMA’s coming out party, only they weren’t announcing themselves as the next great sport, the one that replaces boxing in America. This was simply a new competitor for pro wrestling, a crass pseudo-sport with all the mainstream appeal of monster truck rallies, an inevitable cultural relic. I guess there’s always UFC 200 to make a second impression.

 

From Ivan Trembow's blog:

-I realize that Brock Lesnar is just playing a heel pro wrestling character, but the casual fans who make up a big percentage of the audience for such a huge show wouldn't know that. They would just think that's how the UFC Heavyweight Champion behaves. You don't have to play a trashy heel pro wrestling character to be a superstar, and one doesn't need to look any further than Georges St. Pierre on the very same event for evidence of that.

-The clip of Brock Lesnar screaming in his semi-conscious opponent's face and then slobbering all over the camera like a bad 1980s pro wrestler made it onto the overnight SportsCenter. So did the clip of Dan Henderson punching his already-unconscious opponent's head.

Between these two things and the recent E:60 segment about Dana White's obscene rant, I don't think that the average ESPN viewer has a very good impression of MMA at this point. Neither does the average potential advertiser, for that matter.

...

-I didn't catch it on the live broadcast, but all of the quotes from Dan Henderson’s post-fight interview include Henderson openly saying that he knew Michael Bisping was unconscious and he hit him one more time anyway. That is just classless garbage. At least he didn't throw two more punches at his unconscious opponent's head after the ref was literally pulling him off (like Quinton Jackson did against Wanderlei Silva), but it's still classless garbage.

 

Zach Arnold points out  Skip Bayless (ESPN) and his thoughts on UFC 100:

Still have suspicions about UFC, and Brock Lesnar only added to ‘em. Went straight wrestling villain. Felt staged. Proceed at own risk.

This is the other edge of the dual-edged sword in terms of having Lesnar as the face of your company and as the face of MMA. And I’m not talking about that tattoo on his chest, either.

PTI also had their own thoughts as Lesnar being the face of the UFC.

 

MMARatings along with others found Lesnar's actions unacceptable on MMA's biggest stage:

If you want to watch unsportsmanlike, unprofessional, and white trash behavior by a bunch of apes with no intelligence, go back to watching WWE - I hear they're looking for viewers. But until Lesnar gets his ass kicked to the curb we'll be boycotting UFC fights, as long as he's on the card. He's not worth a dime. Oh, and I'm not a real big beer drinker, let alone am I a fan of Budweiser. But as soon as the stores open for biz, I'm getting me a nice tall one...cheers!

 

Kevin Blackistone at AOL Fanhouse:

"I was so jacked up [because] I’m used to selling pay-per-view tickets," Lesnar, who was a professional wrestler on the WWE circuit until a few years ago, told reporters. "I come from a business that is purely entertainment. I screwed up, and I apologize."

Wow. Call me underwhelmed.

There isn’t a sports commissioner worth his or her suit coat who would take Lesnar’s mea culpa as enough punishment for the superfecta of fouls Lesnar just committed. They’d have him on indefinite suspension as I write and getting ready to cough up part of his purse as restitution.

But that isn’t what the UFC is all about. It’s not about being spectacular; it’s about being a spectacle.

 

John Ryan in the San Jose Mercury News:

    "That’s not who Brock really is, and what he did out there is not real," White said. "You don’t have to act like someone you’re not. This isn’t the WWE. I’m not trying to get someone to act all crazy so we’ll do more pay-per-views. That’s not what this sport is about."

    No, not at all, not what this sport is about. This is the same Dana White whose previous foray into mainstream sports media was a homophobic and sexist rant, in the most vile terms possible, against a reporter who had gotten a story entirely correct but in a manner that displeased White. So, yeah, White apologizing for etiquette doesn’t carry a whole lot of truth.

 

Shawn Falkenstein in the West Virginia Metro News:

UFC 100 Set Back The Sport Of Mixed Martial Arts

I'm disappointed in the way things went down at UFC 100.

I am a huge mixed martial arts fan. I love the sport and am hopeful that someday people can really have a better understanding of it and give it the respect it deserves. So, even if you are not a fan, please hear me out.

I think UFC 100 really set the sport back.

It was a huge showcase because of all the hype and coverage it was getting from mainstream sports media like ESPN, CBS and Fox leading up to the pay-per-view event and then two things happened that really hurt.

1) Dan Henderson hit an obviously knocked out Michael Bisbing and then "joked" about it afterward and 2) Brock Lesnar acted like a WWE wrestler after he beat up Frank Mir by taunting him and then flipping off the crowd, not to mention throwing the event's main sponsor under the bus.

Neither of those things were good for the image of the sport.

 

What has been our (MMA Community) response to all the heat we've been getting from the mainstream? It seems as if we are either ignoring them, or saying, well, we DONT NEED YOU.  I don't think taking the meat-head approach on this issue is the best way to handle the negative criticism, in my opinion.  It only prolongs the negative stereotype's associated in our sport and to its fans, and I KNOW we can be better than that.

This is something ALL OF US should do. Sit down and think about who the faces of MMA are.  Well, here they are, Kimbo and Brock Lesnar.  Yes, that is correct, a pro wrestler with a bad attitude and a backyard brawler.  These are currently the faces of MMA.  So, it is not so hard to believe why the mainstream media (who we are now saying FU, we don't need you) have a negative image of our sport.  This whole attitude of you are either with us or against us is very eerie of UFC's motto (ask EA), who reminds me of the unpopular kid at high school who got bullied and beat up for years only to come back for his 10 year reunion with a nice car and a hot wife, just to say FU a**holes.  Like I said, I think we are better than that, and the negative connotation associated with MMA won't be shed anytime soon. It will hold this sport back further from becoming an accepted and recognized sport, and not just a spectacle.

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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