EA Apologizes To Muslim UFC Fighter For Giving Him Christian Victory Celebration

EA Apologizes To Muslim UFC Fighter For Giving Him Christian Victory Celebration
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EA Sports UFC 2 is a game that does its damnedest to imitate every element of the UFC broadcast experience (except for the weird part where it pretends commentator Mike Goldberg knows what he’s talking about). By and large, it works. It’s in the particulars that EA falters.

Khabib Nurmagomedov is a UFC lightweight fighter known for a few things: 1) His punishing pace, which he used to thrash current lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos for three rounds, 2) his laundry list of injuries, the reason he hasn’t fought in almost two years, and 3) his Muslim faith, which has led him to do things like avoid fights during the month of Ramadan. In EA Sports UFC 2, EA flubbed that last part pretty hard.

When Nurmagomedov wins in the game, his victory celebration involves him gesturing in the shape of a cross. It’s a canned animation other characters perform as well, but it’s something the real Nurmagomedov would pretty much never do. Upon discovering this, he was not pleased. He took to Twitter and Instagram — as opposed to his usual outlet, a small army of men’s faces — to vent his frustrations:

?Та самая идиотская ошибка создателей игры @easportsufc

A video posted by UFC | MMA Mixed Martial Arts (@redfurymma) on

Fortunately, EA plans to rectify the mistake in an upcoming update. They messaged Nurmagomedov to let him know (via Bloody Elbow):

Я мусульманин.Алхамдулиллагь. Я не имею ничего против Христиан, у каждого человека свой путь в этой жизни, а мой путь это – Ислам. Разработчики этой игры сделали ошибку, но давайте будем честны, все мы ошибаемся в этой жизни и я не держу на них зла, они извинились и пообещали исправить это. Надеюсь следующий раз они учтут какая религия у каждого бойца и не допустят таких ошибок в будущем. I'm Muslim, Alhamdulilah. I have nothing against Christians. Every man in this life has his own way, and my way is Islam. Developers of the game made mistake. Let's be honest, every human being made mistakes, and I'm not holding a grudge. They apologized and promised to fix it. Hopefully, next time they wouldn't make mistakes like this, and take account everybody's religion. @easportsufc @ufc

A photo posted by Khabib Nurmagomedov (@khabib_nurmagomedov) on

So there we go. All’s well that ends well.

It is interesting, though, that a game dedicated to capturing fighters’ idiosyncrasies in some ways (entrances, celebrations, physiques, fighting styles… sometimes sorta) would drop the ball on something like this. Clearly, EA meant no ill will here, but it’s always jarring to see the gaps in the EA Sports UFC dev team’s MMA knowledge — not to mention their priorities and, perhaps, budget for certain fighters versus other more popular ones. I get the impression that making these games has definitely been a learning experience for some members of the dev team. Oh well, I suppose practice makes perfect.


  • Don’t see the big deal – he should be happy that he’s still famous enough to be in video game considering that he hasn’t even fought for two years.

    • Considering most of them only fight a few times a year, being out for two isn’t that long.

    • Just because you dont see it as a big deal, Doesnt mean others cant. EA used that same logic to get out of paying NCAA Athletes.

        • Thats what i was referring to, EA used the logic i sated above to attempt to get out of paying royalties to College students whos likeness and image where used in the games. Pretty scummy on EA’s part. Though it doesnt compare to how the NCAA treats them 🙂

          • No. EA can’t pay NCAA athletes because NCAA athletes can’t get paid. The first A is for amateur.

          • Yes, And thats something the NCAA has abused for decades, Making billions of these college athletes and not giving them a cent. I hope you are not implying that they dont deserve any money, I highly suggest watching this : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pX8BXH3SJn0

            NCAA exploits these Athletes to make billions, They deserve to be paid.

          • So it’s EA’s fault that the NCAA forbids athletes from being paid?

            What? Sorry I’m confused, you’re making no sense.

            I don’t see how EA has had any hand in developing a policy that’s been in place at the NCAA for decades before EA even existed…

  • They should’ve left religious gestures out of it if they were going to assign them to fighters on a random basis. How could they not see this was a bad decision?

  • What, exactly, is a “christian victory celebration”? I don’t recall being taught either it or the Book of Ufc in sunday school.

    • it’s based on a lot of the brazilian (and other, but they have a god damn lot of christians) fighters post-fight gesture who make a crucifix pattern with their arm showing deference to God because they did nothing to ensure their own victory, Goddidit

  • Why did religion become a part of this at all? There’s plenty of canned animations they could’ve used that wouldn’t cause these kinds of issues.

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