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UFC Sues Ubisoft for Using Term "Ultimate Fighter" in Game
Posted on Wed, Dec 15, 2010 at 9:02 am
by IDMA Editor

Zuffa LLC, parent company of the Ultimate Fight Championship, a billion-dollar mixed martial arts empire, is making good on its reputation for trying to put as many litigious beatdowns in the courts as its fighters put in the cage. The company has followed recent suits of streaming video sites, with a new suit against French-based gamemaker Ubisoft.

The UFC is suing Ubisoft over its use of the term "ultimate fighter" in its marketing of the new Kinect game "Fighters Uncaged". (Source: Ubisoft)

The UFC parent company is apparently upset about Ubisoft's promise to allow gamers to create "the ULTIMATE FIGHTING weapon". Zuffa says that creates a false association with the UFC and "deliberate" confusion in the mind of the consumer. And as the brand of street fighting depicted in the game is illegal in the U.S., Zuffa says that the game is "tarnishing" its brand reputation.

According to a report by MMA news site Sherdog and J.R. Riddell, an attorney at the global law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, Zuffa is demanding that Ubisoft immediately remove the slogan and that all outstanding copies of the game bearing the slogan be destroyed.

The lawsuit is bringing new attention to what was a relatively quiet release for the French gaming giant. Ubisoft's new fighting game looks to capitalize on the appeal of big-time wrestling and mixed-martial-arts "street brawlers" like Kimbo Slice.

The company's page for the game brags:

Compete against the world’s best brawlers in a secret tournament where winning means using only your body and mind as weapons. Battle your way through gritty streets and hidden arenas to prove your mettle and claim the title of top fighter.

Developed by AMA Studios, the game launched in early November and is available exclusive for the Microsoft Xbox 360. The game employs the Xbox 360's new Kinect motion sensor. And while some of the cartoonish moves may make serious martial arts enthusiasts wince, they will surely delight those looking for a more theatrical brand of violence.

The UFC banks on its own best-selling video game -- "UFC Undisputed" by THQ, which it releases on a yearly basis.

The UFC contracts THQ to make its official yearly MMA multi-platform title (former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar pictured). (Source: THQ)

It has previously clashed with another video-game superpower, Electronic Arts, which publishes a rival title. Unlike the "Fighters Uncaged" title, "EA MMA" features more realistic mixed martial arts action. UFC President Dana White has warned his fighters, "If you do business with EA, you won't be in the UFC."

As a result EA MMA mostly features fighters from the rival promotion Strikeforce, including high profile names like Fedor Emelianenko, Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem, Gegard Mousasi, Cung Le, and Herschel Walker.

Despite Mr. White's edict, two UFC fighters defied his order -- former light heavyweight/heavyweight champ Randy Couture and former International Fighting League light heavyweight champ Vladimir Matyushenko. While displeased, Mr. White has been unable to score a knockout finish on these plans -- it appears that the two fighters retain the rights to their likeness, based on their UFC contracts.

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