THQ sues EA, Zuffa over loss of UFC license

Thursday, 10 October 2013 00:28 GMT By Brenna Hillier

THQ has filed a complaint against UFC parent company Zuffa and EA over the transfer of the UFC game license, accusing EA of unscrupulous behaviour.

In a a complaint in the Delaware District Court [PDF], THQ said it held “several discussions” with EA in late 2011 about selling the license to the latter publisher.

During these talks, THQ says it provided EA with confidential information, including sales, revenue and expected marketing costs of THQ’s UFC games.

At the end of the year, UFC parent company Zuffa contacted THQ to discuss terminating its license, and THQ claims Zuffa had access to information which could only have been supplied by EA thanks to earlier negotiations between the two publishers.

THQ believes this proves EA held discussions with THQ then sneakily went directly to Zuffa to try and arrange a direct sale, which would be more beneficial to EA and Zuffa, at THQ’s expense.

It’s an unpleasant act of collusion, if true, but it also means that the eventual transfer of the UFC license to EA was fraudulent under US bankruptcy law, apparently, and that EA is guilty of “torturous interference”.

The UFC license is worth at least $20 million, THQ claims – twice the $10 million Zuffa paid out to end its agreement with THQ. THQ is therefore seeking minimum damages of $10 million as well as the return of the property; any profits EA has made on the UFC license; and for the court to disallow Zuffa’s $1.96 million bankruptcy claims on THQ.

EA’s first UFC game is expected on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in northern spring 2014; we’ve been quite looking forward to it as it’s built on EA Sports’ shiny new Ignite Engine and is even going to have female fighters.

Elsewhere in the court documents, EA is revealed as one of a number of publishers who discussed buying THQ out prior to its eventual bankruptcy and dissolution; Polygon has more details if you’re interested.

Thanks, Polygon.