Usually, a cover star for an EA Sports game is either determined by the company or put together via fan vote, like with previous entries in the Madden NFL football series. For UFC 2, however, the company has decided to let two top competitors fight for the spot.
In an announcement yesterday, EA Sports confirmed that UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo and interim featherweight champion Conor McGregor, who will fight in next week’s main event for UFC 194, will compete to see who joins “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey on the cover for the forthcoming game UFC 2, which is scheduled to release next spring. This is an interesting way for the publisher to consider who will be on the cover, marking the first time it’s decided to leave the choice to fate â rather than popular fan vote.
“The main event at UFC 194 between (Aldo) and (McGregor) is without a doubt one of the most anticipated events in UFC history,” said Dana White, president of UFC. “Aldo and McGregor are two of the biggest stars in the world, and it’s fitting that next Saturday night, the winner not only becomes the undisputed UFC featherweight champion, but also the second global cover athlete for EA Sports UFC 2.”
Even though fans won’t be the deciding factor on who’s on the cover, the publisher is still letting them take part in the action with a special website. Here, fans can make their guesses who will win the fight, and in what round, and by what method (like submission, knockout or decision). After making these guesses, their prediction will come to life in a shareable video clip, which can then be shared across social channels.
“Fight For the Cover is another way we are bringing an authentic and exciting experience for the fans,” said Jamie McKinlay, vice president of marketing for EA Sports. “From the Octagon at UFC 194, to the Octagon in UFC 2, this is a huge moment in UFC and EA Sports’ history, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.”
The promotion is a big win for both parties, as UFC will benefit from the exposure of not only the game, but the bump-up in publicity for its forthcoming event; while, at the same time, EA Sports can promote its game, and brush aside the social media buzz that fellow cover star Ronda Rousey was “cursed” with her appearance in it, as she lost to Holly Holm last month, ending her undefeated streak.
That doesn’t seem to faze the company, at least based on an interview we conducted with senior product manager Jeff Sharma last month. “Ronda is one of the most dominant fighters in the world, and has really transcended MMA. She’s universally recognized, and her star is still on the rise. She’s also a passionate gamer, which is always a great addition for any EA Sports cover athlete.”
Whoever scores the victory next week, they’re sure to be a knockout when the game arrives next year.