Yesterday afternoon, sports game giant EA announced that it purchased the rights to the UFC Undisputed franchise. EA, largely considered the definitive developer for games related to major sports franchises, purchased the rights from previous UFC Undisputed developer THQ for an undisclosed sum. According to a prepared statement from THQ Chairman and CEO Brian Farrell, the break between his company and the UFC was mutually amicable.
“We have relished our relationship with UFC over the last several years and believe that the UFC gaming brand is in great shape,” Farrell said in the press release. “THQ’s more focused strategy moving forward meant that transferring the license to EA made sense to all parties. We would like to thank UFC for their great support and partnership and wish EA all the best moving forward.”
The transfer of the franchise into the hands of EA was immediately followed by news that THQ had shuttered their San Diego office. The THQ branch was, apparently, working on the next iteration of UFC Undisputed that was not to be.
EA had ventured into the world of mixed martial arts in October of 2010 with the release of the EA Sports MMA title, featuring athletes from Strikeforce and the now defunct DREAM. While EA Sports MMA received critical praise, the UFC Undisputed franchise remained the far more popular title for MMA gaming. The pick up and play style combined with higher brand recognition associated with the UFC was largely credited for the series’ success. With EA at the helm, the latest iteration of UFC Undisputed may more closely resemble the EA Sports MMA title.