A little over 24 hours before her anticipated match with Holly Holm, undefeated UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey was at the zenith of her career. She was 12-0, touted as the Best Female Athlete Ever and already had made appearances in The Expendables 3, Furious 7, Entourage and even Wrestlemania.
On Friday, EA announced that the baddest woman on the planet would grace the cover of EA Sports UFC 2, the mixed martial arts game currently in development. Then, the improbable happened when Rousey suffered one of the most shocking and devastating defeats in sports history the day after the cover announcement. Nevertheless, she still carries a huge amount of marketing clout, and her road to redemption in the coming months will be an interesting one to monitor.
[a]listdaily spoke to EA Sports UFC 2 s Senior Product Manager Jeff Sharma following Saturday night’s fight about selecting Rousey for the cover.
How was Ronda Rousey selected as the cover athlete for EA Sports UFC 2
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.
What does a transcendent athlete like Ronda Rousey afford the game s title that no other UFC fighter could accomplish
A few other fighters have been able to cross-over into pop culture and star in movies or other entertainment properties but Ronda is by far the most popular right now. Regardless of her loss last weekend, she has massive appeal as an athlete, actor, personality and, importantly to us, as a fan of video games. So it’s really about partnering with someone that understands and fits with our brand and who also has extensive reach across many entertainment verticals.
Was a two-athlete cover with a male champion like Chris Weidman and Jose Aldo ever considered
You’ll find out more about who will join Ronda on the cover later in our campaign.
The FIFA 16 cover features Alex Morgan, so this is a big time for female athletes appearing in EA Sports games. Is this representative of an growing global interest in female athletics
I think we live in unprecedented times when it comes to being able to watch female sports on a global scale. With world class female athletes as impressive as Alex and Ronda on TV sets around the globe, and with them being excellent ambassadors of their sports and those leagues/divisions/sports being integrated into our games, it makes sense for EA to partner with them.
How has the success of Ronda Rousey and the United States Women s Soccer Team impacted EA s marketing to female gamers
I think all fans of our games appreciate athletes who compete at a high level, regardless of gender. That said, the success of the USWNT and Ronda definitely provide a platform for us to engage in a more specific conversation with female fans about our collective love for soccer and MMA.