When it launches March 15, EA Sports UFC 2‘s cover will feature two losers.
We say that very gingerly, as both Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor could submit us with as much as a noogie. However, last night McGregor lost by choke-out submission to Nate Diaz at UFC 196. Rousey, in her most recent fight in November, was knocked out by Holly Holm (who, incidentally, also lost by submission last night).
Cue the talk of cover curses, which is just a spooky way of describing regression to the mean. UFC fighters, including the top ones, lose a lot more frequently than their boxing counterparts. Matches are scheduled for fewer rounds than a traditional boxing prizefight, too, and the different combat styles mean more ways for someone to go down. Very few top fighters are undefeated; only one in the UFC’s official pound-for-pound top 15 rankings — women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejcyk — is unbeaten, and she’s just 11 fights into her UFC career.
EITHER WAY, WE’RE STILL TALKING ABOUT EA SPORTS UFC 2, RIGHT?
Still, this isn’t what EA Sports wanted 10 days out from its MMA launch. Although, we’re still talking about the game, so maybe it is. But Rousey was announced for the cover on Nov. 13; the next day she lost her bantamweight title to Holm. On Dec. 12, EA Sports put UFC 2‘s second cover slot on the line in McGregor and Jose Aldo’s main event at UFC 194; McGregor prevailed, then two months later lost his next fight.
Despite the losses, Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey still are big names recognizable even to those casually familiar with mixed martial arts. And McGregor remains the UFC featherweight champion; last night’s bout was in the welterweight class.
Yet even by cover-curse standards this has been a bad run for EA Sports’ recent cover stars. Plans to put the Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane on the cover of NHL 16 were scuttled when he became the suspect in a sexual assault investigation (teammate Jonathan Toews appeared on the cover alone instead). And Odell Beckham, Jr. became the first NFL player to be suspended by the league during the season in which he starred on the cover of Madden NFL.
EA Sports UFC 2 launches March 15 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One; EA Access subscribers on Xbox One will get a four-day preview with it beginning March 11.