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No longer 'a joke': EA snatches UFC from THQ

Shocking publisher switch announced in LA

EA's announced a shock multi-year, multi-product deal with UFC, following years of heated rivalry between its own MMA game and THQ's UFC Undisputed series.

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Speaking at EA's press conference today, UFC president Dana White said: "This is a huge day for the UFC and more importantly you the fans. This is the big one, finally; EA Sports."

White has previously thrown verbal blows at EA Sports over the company's alleged decision to turn down the opportunity to work with the body because it believed UFC was "not a real sport".

"They wouldn't even take a meeting because mixed martial arts disgusted them," White claimed in 2009, before calling the publisher "a joke" the next year.

The agreement to transition the rights to EA involves in an undisclosed cash payment to THQ from UFC parent Zuffa, it's been confirmed. Additionally, THQ will continue to publish its existing console and mobile titles until March 31, 2013.

THQ CEO Brian Farrell said the firm's "more focused strategy" moving forward means that transferring the license to EA "made sense" to all parties.

"We have relished our relationship with UFC over the last several years and believe that the UFC gaming brand is in great shape," he said in a statement. "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."

Dana White thanked THQ: "Over the last three years, THQ has delivered best-in-class, all-encompassing experiences to MMA fans, sports enthusiasts and fighting gamers around the globe with its UFC Undisputed series. We want to thank them for their stewardship of our brand. We look forward to joining forces with EA to leverage their sports platform, and expand our brand in the video game space.

"There's no one better at creating authentic sports videogames than EA Sports, and we're excited to have a partner who shares our vision of deep, connected and multi-platform global game experiences."

EA Sports boss Andrew Wilson said he's "thrilled" to begin a long-term partnership with UFC: "UFC has become a global powerhouse because they have the world's best fighters, competing in the world's best mixed martial arts events. We share UFC's passion for the sport, and we look forward to capturing all of the intensity and excitement of the action with unique new game experiences across a range of platforms."

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