THQ files lawsuit against ZUFFA and Electronic Arts (EA) for UFC video game con

Joe Scarnici

My sources indicate that attorneys for ZUFFA could be unlockable characters in the upcoming UFC video game from EA Sports.

Remember back in 2009 when Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White said "f--k you" to video game publisher Electronic Arts (EA)?

Probably not, so here's a refresher:

"I went to EA Sports. Know what EA Sports said? ‘It's not a sport. This isn't a sport. We would never get involved in something like this.' We come out with a video game and now they want to come out with a video game? (Expletive) you. All these people that want to cry and bitch, EA Sports didn't give a (expletive) about you and wouldn't even touch this thing with a 10-foot pole. We went out and made this whole thing happen. THQ basically put their entire business on the line. If this game didn't work, they were in big trouble."

See his entire rant here.

It wasn't that long again when EA Sports was in bed with Strikeforce, the rival mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion that was eventually assimilated by the ZUFFA machine. Before it turned its roster over to the gang at UFC, it was featured as the "premier league" in "EA Sports MMA."

The game was released with little-to-no fanfare.

ZUFFA, meanwhile, was cranking out annual editions of "UFC Undisputed," thanks to a relationship with THQ, the now-defunct video game giant who closed its doors in 2012 after failing to meet lofty financial goals, which prompted UFC -- and White in particular -- to change their tune and get in bed with the EA Sports.

But was there more to the story?

THQ recently filed suit against ZUFFA and EA in U.S. District Court in Delaware, claiming its former competitor shared internal financial information with ZUFFA -- including detailed sales and revenue figures for the UFC Franchise -- first discussed when the troubled company was offering its assets to EA.

MMA Payout has the details:

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.

Think of Sawyer's long con from season two of LOST.

THQ alleges that EA Sports used the financial information to compromise its negotiating strength to get a favorable licensing agreement in return. How much dough the promotion would have coughed up if it was not privy to the cold, hard numbers is unknown, nor is it actually known if any of that information was even shared.

That's for the courts to figure out.

In the meantime, UFC and EA Sports will be rolling out a new MMA video game next spring (see a demo here) and combat sports fans will be flocking to stores to grab a copy, which boasts all sorts of nifty new features like female fighters and the "Ignite" engine.

Or will they?

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