THQ Suing EA Sports and Zuffa Over UFC Game License
Written Thursday, October 10, 2013 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
Having gone bankrupt at the beginning of the year, now defunct publisher THQ is looking to sue Electronic Arts and UFC parent company Zuffa, over the UFC video game license. Until the end of 2011, THQ held the Ultimate Fighting Championship video game license, and due to its financial struggles, the publisher was looking to sell the license off.
Currently, the UFC license belongs to EA, although from January 2007 to early 2011, THQ held the license and produced three well-received titles in the series with UFC Undisputed 2009, UFC Undisputed 2010 and then UFC Undisputed 3, which launched in February 2012.
EA and THQ had apparently conducted "several discussions" surrounding a sale of the UFC license, but a complaint filed by THQ on October 4th in US District Court in Delaware [via MMA Payout], it's alleged that EA and Zuffa colluded to bring about the termination of THQ's licensing agreement with Zuffa for the UFC franchise, and the subsequent transfer of the license to EA.
Zuffa looked to terminated the UFC licensing agreement with THQ due to the company's financial troubles, sending a letter that led THQ to believe that EA had provided Zuffa with the information pertaining to THQ's finances following THQ sharing "internal financial information, including detailed sales and revenue figures for the UFC franchise, and projected marketing expenditures on the next UFC franchise game," with EA, following discussions between the companies regarding the license.
"Prior to the Demand Letter, EA contacted Zuffa, informed Zuffa of THQ's perilous financial condition and expressed interest in acquiring the UFC franchise directly from Zuffa, causing Zuffa to threaten termination of the UFC license," THQ's complaint claims.
THQ transferred the UFC license to EA in June 2012, prompting Zuffa to pay THQ $10 million for the termination of the existing licensing agreement, despite it being worth at least $20 million to EA, in THQ's estimations. THQ is deeming the license transfer as fraudulent under US bankruptcy law. THQ is looking to nullify the transfer and recover the UFC IP, and sue for damages of at least $10 million.
THQ also wants EA to "turnover the profits of the UFC franchise," and is looking to the court to disallow Zuffa's bankruptcy claims against THQ to the tune of $1.96 million.
"We believe these claims are without merit," an EA spokesperson told Polygon.
EA is currently producing EA Sports UFC using the license, which is slated for a 2014 release for Xbox One. There's a gameplay trailer below.