Forget Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir.
Forget Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping.
Forget George "Rush" St.-Pierre vs. Thiago Alves.
Heck, we can jump ahead and say forget Kimbo Slice Vs. EVERYONE on TUF 10!
I think we can go ahead and say the biggest fight of the year will be Dana White vs. John Riccitello.
For starters, I need to mention again that I am a huge fan of the UFC, been following it since the series was a no holds barred tournament leading up to its current iteration. Last Saturday, UFC 100 took place, and it might have been one of the best MMA PPVs I have seen in a long time. Even the dark matches were worth the price of admission, but what really stole the show was Dan Henderson's brutal knockout (and ground punch follow up) on Michael "The Count" Bisping!
Then there was the WWE style antics of one fighter, who ironically, competed in the WWE: Brock Lesnar. After beating Frank Mir into referee stoppage, he responded to the booing crowd by giving them the finger. As if that wasn't enough, while being interviewed by Joe Rogan, Brock claimed he was going to go home, drink a Coors Light because Bud Light (one of the UFC's sponsors) wasn't paying him enough, and might even "get on top" of his wife (former WWE diva Sable.)
Needless to say, Lesnar's actions were of the "WWE heel" type, and I'm not sure that the UFC needed them. In fact, reports are that UFC President Dana White had a heated discussion with Lesnar after the PPV.
But still, UFC 100 was quite a success, and it seems that the train of success that the UFC is on will not stop for a while. Especially if last May's release of UFC 2009: Undisputed is any indication. The game sold over a million copies that month along and dominated every other game in that month's NPDs.
Of course when someone becomes successful, here come the copycats and wannabes.
Last month at E3, Electronic Arts announced they were entering the mixed martial arts genre with the oh so elaborately named EA Sports MMA. Without a UFC license, I have to wonder without the possible exception of Affliction, what other promotions (and their respective fighters) would be used. Obviously we can exclude World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC,) since it is also owned by the UFC's parent company, Zuffa.
But even without getting the UFC license, president Dana White is not at all happy with EA, and from what I read I can't blame him. According to White, he met last year with EA to hopefully add the UFC to their sports lineup, but they declined it. "EA Sports told us, 'You're not a real sport, 'We wouldn't touch this thing. We want nothing to do with this.'"
As a result, the UFC signed on with THQ and the rest is history. But then we get the EA Sports MMA announcement, and now EA Sports president Peter Moore expresses his interest in MMA: "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. 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."
Now wait a minute, did I see the words EA Sports and Dreamcast in the same paragraph? I'll get to that later, but even if there is a change of opinion, it is leaving a very sour taste in Dana White's mouth. In fact, White has already delivered the first blow in the MMA video game war. Quote Dana White, "You know what the difference is? I'm in the mixed martial arts business. EA isn't. EA doesn't give a [expletive deleted] about mixed martial arts. They made that very clear."
He goes ever further, stating that should any fighter decide to be in EA's upcoming MMA title, they will be immediately blacklisted in the UFC. Thus, should we see Brock Lesnar appear in EA Sports MMA, kiss his UFC status goodbye!
Again, I don't blame Dana White for this reaction. After all, they went to EA first and they turned him down. My guess was at first EA thought the UFC franchise would not do well in the game industry, and would falter in comparison to Fight Night Round 4, but after seeing the THQ published UFC 2009 Undisputed sell two million copies after release, the cash cow mentality kicked in and EA decided to jump on the MMA bandwagon.
That's what brings me to the EA/Dreamcast comment that Peter Moore made. Doesn't this quote sound familiar? "The dollar we spend on a Dreamcast game is a dollar we don't have for our online or PlayStation strategy."
Those were the words of one John Riccitello, CEO of Electronic Arts, and Peter Moore's boss. Needless to say it's obvious that all Riccitello cares about is money, and by seeing THQ's and UFC's successes, he decided to get on the MMA bandwagon despite shafting the largest MMA organization (after their game becomes successful.) Let's see how that one ends up.
If Dana White fights John Riccitello on Pay Per View, then you know without a doubt I will purchase it (or at the very least go to my favorite sports bar and watch it,) but as far as purchasing EA Sports MMA, you can count me out!
(Credit goes to MMAJunkie.com and Kotaku for the quotes from Peter Moore and Dana White.)
Currently Playing: Prototype (360)
Waiting for: Batman: Arkham Asylum (360)