You Have To Fight To Be On The Cover Of EA Sports UFC

You Have To Fight To Be On The Cover Of EA Sports UFC

EA Sports and the UFC announced that Ronda Rousey would be one of two fighters on the cover of EA Sports UFC 2. Less than a week later Rousey was famously (and brutally) knocked out by Holly Holm.


Now it seems as though the UFC and EA Sports are thinking along different lines. Instead of placing their own bet, why not let the fighters themselves um… fight for the privilege of being on the cover?

Here’s some context to the whole situation: the biggest stars in the UFC right now are Ronda Rousey (despite her defeat) and Conor McGregor — an enigmatic, bombastic Irish striker with +99 charisma. In a perfect world both of these fighters would be on the cover of EA Sports UFC 2. Because of course right? You put your biggest stars on the cover of your sports video games.

But, look at what happened to Ronda.

Ronda got knocked out in one of the biggest upsets in Mixed Martial Arts history. Not only was Ronda knocked out, Ronda was outclassed — exposed some might say — by a superior striker. There’s a rematch on the way, but that won’t happen until mid-2016 and the Rousey mystique has evaporated. Her appeal has taken a helluva hit.

Next Sunday (Australian time) Conor McGregor fights against current Featherweight champion Jose Aldo. In many ways it’s the biggest fight in UFC history. Jose Aldo is the only featherweight champion the UFC has ever known. He hasn’t lost in a decade and has looked all but unbeatable. Conor’s rise, on the other hand, has been meteoric and he has looked mercurial in his ascent. Incredibly, Conor is the current betting favourite despite facing off against one of the most dominant champions the UFC has ever seen.


Well there are a few reasons. The main one: Conor’s knockout power combined with an ability to find his opponent’s chin from practically anywhere. Conor hasn’t just beaten his opponents, he’s crushed them. He has predicted when and how he will beat opponents, then strolled to the Octagon and fulfilled his own prophecies. He has a self-belief that borders on the supernatural. So when Conor McGregor tells me he is going to go out there and knockout the current number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world in less than one round — I believe him.

There are many interesting facets of this fight: there’s been the colossal (articulate, hilarious) shit talk in the lead up to the fight. There’s the style match-up, which is almost impossible to dissect (will Aldo try and take McGregor to the ground? Can Aldo take Conor’s power shots? Will McGregor’s wide, karate-stance leave him open to Aldo’s notoriously brutal leg kicks?). But now the UFC and EA Sports have added a new wrinkle to an already fascinating tapestry: the winner of this fight will make the cover of EA Sports UFC 2.

It’s an incredibly smart move. Clearly the UFC and EA Sports is hoping for a McGregor victory. Aldo’s inability (and refusal) to learn English makes him a far less marketable option compared to Conor, who alternates wildly between incredible smack-talk and mystical soliloquies on the intricacies of human movement. He’s part rock star part Yogi and you want him on the cover of your video game.

But you probably don’t want him on the cover of your video game if he loses to Jose Aldo next Sunday. And that is a very real possibility. Particularly in a fight with four-ounce gloves where almost anything can happen. Anyone can lose in the Octagon — Ronda Rousey has proved this.

And EA Sports and the UFC has already made a game of this, setting up a mini-site that allows people to predict the outcome of the upcoming fight, and have their prediction play out in an early build of EA Sports UFC. A cool idea indeed. And one that plays into the unpredictability of Mixed Martial Arts as opposed to the previous choice — Ronda — which banked on her invincibility.

For the record, I chose Conor by KO in the first round. You’d have to be crazy to bet against Mystic Mac. He predicts these things.


  • Anyone else think the UFC might fix the sh*t out of this fight?

    I get the feeling Dana White is going to stab Aldo underneath his Reebok shorts with a poison arrow Gladiator style.

    While MMA is a great sport, the UFC is NOT a sporting body, and they have a huge vested interest in only one result here.
    Conor’s a very good fighter, but he’s also the UFC’s Golden Goose and they f*cking hate Jose Aldo.

    • No.. just no. Fixing fights is not something a multi- billion dollar company does. If it got out ( and it would ), the ramifications would be colossal. To think that the UFC would risk the credibility of it’s entire brand is crazy talk.

      It’s something that organised crime and individual fighters arrange in order to profit off the betting lines.

      See Rousey Vs Holm as an example of a non-fixed fight. I’m confident the UFC would have preferred Rousey to win.

      • I agree that it’s not a great idea, but have you ever heard Dana White (or anyone else in the UFC brass) open their mouths?

        There’s two kinds of people according to them: themselves and “dummies”.
        I wouldn’t put anything past them, they shamelessly run that business as they see fit and they have complete distain for the fans, fighters and regulatory bodies.

        How many degrees between actively assisting to cover up a fighters failed drug test as they did for Vitor Belfort and leaning on a ref/coach/fighter to get a result that would benefit them tremendously? Not a huge amount in my book, it’s all a slippery slope.

        I’m not saying that it will be fixed, that it’ll probably be fixed or even that they’ve fixed fights in the past (there’s clearly been upsets in the past), just that in this case they’ve really put all their eggs in one basket. They do not want Jose winning this fight and they do not want Jose on the front cover of the new game.

        • Good points, and yes Dana in particular comes across as a snake oil salesman at times. And at the end of the day, neither you or I know for sure.

          The Vitor incident is a very bad look, but that is more of a “sweep it under the rug” action as opposed to a high level conspiracy.

          I think that the fighters have too much Pride to go out and lose just coz the boss tells em too.

          Can’t wait for 194 though.. here’s hoping the MMA gods smile upon us and deliver what could be the best card evar!!!!!!

        • Also, I don’t think Jose winning would be “bad” for the UFC. Jose has needed someone to enhance his standing for a long time now. See Silva vs Sonnen..

          If Jose wins this will elevate his profile massively and could potentialy create a new star.

          Obviously it won’t be as good for the UFC as McG winning, but I wouldn’t see it as an absolute negative either.

          • Honestly, I think they’ve invested so heavily in Conor that any jump in Jose’s stock as a result of a high-profile win will be negated by the loss on Conor.

            Not that they’ll actually lose money one the night or anything like that, just that they’ve put such a huge investment in Conor that even a large jump in Jose’s popularity won’t cover the cost.

            Conor’s been living in the UFC mansion (costs paid), he’s been given his own series (The Notorious), they ran the worlds most stupid season on TUF to get him extra TV time, they put the FW title on hold for a whole year so they could hype Conor’s title shot, they publically sh*t on the P4P best fighter in the world when he ruined “The Conor Fight” the first time, they sh*t on the prestige of their own Featherweight title when they gave an interim title to Conor for beating a guy on a fortnights notice… and now the cover of the next UFC game is on the line too.
            All these costs don’t get offset if Jose takes him down and submits him in the first round.

            This is the problem when a promoter CLEARLY wants one particular result and one result only. When something weird happens (see Mendes gassing and quitting with 15 seconds to go after 3 minutes on top position), people are going to get the shits straight away.

            It’s a sick fight, it should be competitive, but I’m not going to pretend my excitement isn’t tempered by this niggling feeling that it won’t be entirely above board.

          • Man that Mendes fight could have went any way though, I think he just gave up because of the shots Connor was taking and wasnt flinching. That sort of thing can really smash your confidence in fights.

          • Oh for sure, it was still a strange finish though.

            Being a guy in as good shape as Chad (normally) is, being on top where he could control the pace of the fight, having success on the ground and in the wrestle…. Then with 30 seconds to go what would have been two rounds up, the guy gets way too high on top, dives on a guillotine, misses and then….. then he just stands up, backs into the fence and quits.

            It was a WEIRD finish, not in that the Conor barrage finished him, but in how little interest he had in fighting back or defending or anything once it got to that point.

          • Totally agree but you have to remember also that Chad had 2 weeks to prep for that fight and before then I don’t think he fought many fighters like Connor. But yeah like I said when your hitting a guy with everything you got and he keeps just talking smack at you it really takes the wind out of your sails.

          • And all of the things you have mentioned above… the favourism…the mansion…the money, in just over a week, we’ll get to see if Connor is legit or not.

            I can’t wait, I’d love to see either guy win, for completely different reasons.

            After all the talk and build up, someone will win and someone will lose. And it will be awesome.

          • Well yeah…but the fight needs to be fair. That’s the concern isn’t it? When one Fighter has the whole organisation in their corner, it opens up a while can of worms.

            I want to see those two athletes fight, I just wish the UFC brass would piss off with their favouritism.

    • 2 to 1 odds – how much you gonna put on him??


      $100 bet on Aldo will pay you $220 if he wins. It’s crazy that he’s the underdog in this fight. If I was a betting man I’d be betting hard on this one.

      • Already put money down. Aldo is seriously too good for McG. Only concern is ring rust. Both fighters at 100% and in form means McG gets his legs smashed.

    • 100%. It’s insane that McGregor is the favourite in this fight. The UFC and Conor have done an incredible job of making people forget just how good Jose Aldo is.

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