Former video game publisher and UFC license holder THQ seems to be taking the parent company for the UFC brand, Zuffa, and mega-publisher to courting. The now-bankrupt publisher is suing both companies over the transfer of the MMA brand’s video game license.
The complaint was filed by THQ on the 4th of October, accuses the two companies of colluding against THQ to cut them short of the license agreement.
The company was allegedly paid $10 million by Zuffa to terminate their UFC license, but THQ believes that it was worth $20 million at the time and even more so to EA, who acquired the license soon afterwards.
THQ also blames EA for divulging confidential information over to Zuffa, which was shared with them during talks regarding the buyout of THQ by EA in the December of 2011. The Demand Letter by Zuffa requesting the termination of the license came the same month, according to THQ.
It also cited THQ’s financial difficulties as a reason, which THQ has reason to believe Zuffa could not have known unless EA had provided them with the information, and had the following to say about it:
“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.”
Former publisher for the franchise seeks $10 million in damages and also wants EA to “turnover the profits of the UFC franchise,” to THQ. Moreover, THQ requests the court to disallow Zuffa’s $1.96 million bankruptcy claims against the company.
When contacted by games journalism website Polygon, EA representatives responded with “We believe these claims are without merit”. The guys over at THQ refused outright to comment on the matter as it was pending litigation, while Zuffa has yet to respond to Polygon’s queries.
How this will affect EA’s upcoming UFC licensed game remains to be seen. We liked what we saw of the new Ignite powered UFC. It would be a shame if the next-gen MMA fighting game would somehow be abandoned because of this.
You can read the entire complaint filed under the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware here.