UFC president Dana White once told me that when he first met with EA Sports years ago about the prospects of making a video game, the people at EA were “so pompous, so arrogant it was ridiculous. They didn't respect the sport, but then after we did our deal with THQ, then they want to come out and talk about how they were going to compete with us. Well, we won. We beat them. We won, and that's the way I play. If you want to come out and you want to fight and you want to compete, let's do it. We did it, and we won.
"I'm not going to sit here and say that I have any hard feelings for EA. Nope. I already kicked their ass, I'm happy."
That was November 2011. Here we are, seven months later, and Dana White is up on stage at the EA Sports E3 press conference with possibly the most shocking news of the video game conference: The UFC has officially signed a multi-year, multi-platform exclusive partnership with EA Sports.
As they say, money talks. And with the UFC’s former digital partner, THQ, struggling financially, EA Sports swooped in and made the deal to transfer the license.
“I am a huge fight fan,” said EA Sports executive vice president Andrew Wilson, after hugging White on stage. “I’ve been watching since the early 90s, and I can’t say enough about what you’ve done for the sport of mixed martial arts. You have a world-class organization, you’ve got world-class fighters, and world-class competition in the octagon. Dana, we’re thrilled to finally be working together.”
“That makes two of us,” said White. “This is a huge day for the UFC, a big day for the fighters, and more importantly, for you the fans.”