SAN JOSE, Calif. - EA Sports officially announced Randy Couture
's involvement in their upcoming MMA video game, which is tentatively entitled "EA Sports MMA," at a press conference in San Jose on Saturday.
"As we did with "Fight Night Round 4," which I'm sure many of you have already played, where we were able to bring together Muhammad Ali vs. Mike Tyson, this could be the only place where you'll see Randy Couture fight Fedor [Emelianenko]," EA Sports president, Peter Moore
The game is scheduled to be released sometime in 2010.
"Our goal primarily is to be able to grow the sport," Moore added. "Nothing like a sports video game to actually grow the sport itself. At Electronic Arts, we're very proud to be involved in this sport and delighted to be able to bring it to you in 2010."
Of course, the video game will have no affiliation with the UFC, meaning Couture will be the only fighter currently under contract with the organization who will be permitted to appear in the game.
Moore did not deny Dana White
's recent claim that EA passed on producing a UFC video game in the past, but quickly added that he wasn't working for the company when the meeting took place.
Couture said he does not view his involvement with EA Sports as being a source of conflict with the UFC.
"My fight contract has nothing to do with the ancillary stuff that I do outside of that fight contract. So I don't really see it as a conflict," Couture said. "I know that Dana and others may see it differently, but I don't. I fought hard to maintain my name and rights and ancillary image since Zuffa bought the company in 2000, and that's been a major rub along the way. But I'm a fighter first and foremost. I will continue to fight as long as we have a contract. And all the other stuff that I'm free and clear to do, I'm going to do."
White recently said
he was "at war" with EA Sports, and that anyone who agrees to be a part of the game "won't be in the UFC." This has put some fighters in the awkward position of having to choose between a deal with EA Sports and pursuing a future career in the UFC.
"There's no conflict whatsoever," Moore said when asked if any fighters have complained about having to choose between EA and the UFC. "We're not seeing any push back from any outside influences with regards to people trying to influence fighters of not being in the game. If we believe that the quality of fighter is there -- that their obviously going to help us build more authenticity -- we're certainly going to sign them up."
UFC struck a deal THQ in 2007, and released the critically-acclaimed "UFC 2009: Undisputed" game in May. The game has reportedly shipped approximately 3 million units globally.
Moore didn't seem interested in pouring more fuel to the fire between EA and the UFC, but he did add that, "We have nothing but the greatest respect for what Dana has done with the UFC, but he doesn't own the sport. We want to grow the sport.
" ... We are not in the business of trying to curtail the business of this sport for our benefit whatsoever. We got into this sport in particular to help it grow, and we see an opportunity to do that against what is obviously a very well-run, very well-organized organization in UFC. But theres room for both of us, no doubt."
Other fighters to be featured in the game include Gegard Mousasi, Renato Sobral, Fedor Emelianenko, Frank Shamrock, Jay Hieron, BenjI Radach, Tim Sylvia and Tim Kennedy. Mauro Ranallo will be doing the play-by-play for the game.
EA Sports also announced that they will be sponsoring Mousasi, Sobral and Hieron in their Strikeforce fights on Saturday night, as well as the entire event.
The video game developer plans on releasing a new version of their MMA series every two years, as it will alternate with their "Fight Night" boxing series.