Back in November, UFC fans were delighted when not only did EA confirm that EA Sports UFC 2 would soon be arriving on PS4 and Xbox One but that (then) bantamweight champion and the sport’s highest paid fighter, Ronda Rousey, would be on the cover. But day after Rousey’s cover announcement, there was shock as the fighter was defeated by Holly Holm and lost her title as a result.
Joining Rousey on the cover is UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor who won the fight to become Rousey’s fellow cover star. Last night, McGregor had his first fight since being announced as an EA Sports UFC 2 cover star, but having lost the fight to Nick Diaz, some UFC fans are now blaming the EA cover curse.
Conor McGregor Loses Fight, Is EA Cover Curse to Blame?
The EA cover curse, as labelled by fans, is what happens to some athletes following their time as the star of an EA game. The curse is most obvious with the Madden franchise, where 17 out of 18 athletes have been hit with the so-called curse, including Odell Beckham Jr. (cover star of Madden NFL 16) who was suspended for one game in December.
Some fans believe that the curse has spread to the EA Sports UFC franchise as despite EA Sports UFC 2 only being the second edition in the series, McGregor and Rousey aren’t the first UFC duo to be ‘afflicted’. Light heavyweight fighters Jon Jones and Alexander Gustaffson, the cover stars of the original game, were both injured within two months of the game’s release.
So is the EA cover curse real? Or is it all just an unfortunate coincidence? With the cover athletes being immensely popular during that season/time in their sport, the more likely reason for poor performance is that they found themselves having to focus more on publicity and marketing and had less time to train. Essentially, being a cover star and getting ‘cursed’ was a symptom and not the cause of the losses.
In McGregor’s specific case though, the fighter recently added 25 pounds to his weight (145 pounds to 170) to qualify for a higher weight division, which again could have been a big factor in his loss. So although 17 out of 18 Madden athletes (and 4 out of 4 with EA Sports UFC) may appear to have been cursed, it’s likely just a very convincing myth.
EA Sports UFC 2 will be released March 15 (North America), March 17 (worldwide) on PS4 and Xbox One.