'EA Sports UFC 3' Captures the Best and Worst of Modern MMA


If you’ve ever seen my twitter feed, you know that I love MMA. I train in the discipline (when I’m not actively recovering from injuries), and I watch fights almost-daily. New fights, while tweeting (and losing followers). Old fights, running on my treadmill and getting amped up about technique and tactics. I’m the dork who keeps multiple fighting-oriented video subscription services going and enjoys a good Brazilian Jiujitsu match.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/a34w78/ea-sports-ufc-3-best-worst-mma-trash-talk


I’m curious about this. Is it always strictly mechanically advantageous in the game to engage in trash talking?

If you need to pass on optimal play in order to roleplay a “good” character that’s… potentially interesting, though sounds like it may not be enjoyable. Even without the thematic context, I’d hope the decision on how to talk to opponents would have more outcomes than a pass/fail on “did you gain fans?” If nothing else, if you rely on trash talking to build a fan base, I’d expect it to be easier to lose fans when you lose fights.

Edit: After briefly looking into this a bit more, it looks like this mechanic is mostly about “building rivalries” so I’m assuming that polite responses do little to nothing for you other than letting you avoid that system.


I don’t really like the headline, because I think compared a lot of other problems facing UFC trash talk is practically harmless.

We are talking about an industry with no fighters union, dwindling viewership numbers, over saturation of the market pathetic fighter salary, frequent blackballing and general contempt of the free press, rampant use of PED’s Dana fucking White for gods sakes. MMA is riddled with problems, problems that may very well become it’s own undoing far too quickly.

These are massive issues that affect the entire industry… I’m sorry, but I just can’t get all that worked up over MMA fighters talking smack, something you see in every other sport, especially in the more contact heavy ones.


To me the issue isn’t just the smack talk. It’s how much the hype and smack talk dictates what happens in the sport, where fights that generate high viewership take priority over another fighter’s well-earned shot at the title, i.e. McGregor fighting Nate Diaz twice in fights that meant nothing for their respective weight classes while the 25-0 Nurmagomedov still hasn’t been given a chance to fight him. UFC seems to be all too happy to go down the road boxing has, where it’s all about the $$$… with much less of it going to the actual fighters (unless you’re Brock Lesnar).


This is all fair. However, I also think the issues you describe are less performative (the part of the sport that the game tries to most closely emulate) than the training, fighting, and trash-talking.

We’re talking about a licensed game. It would be pretty surprising for a UFC game to directly critique UFC’s own labor practices, or simulate kowtowing to King White for a better slot on an upcoming fight card. On that note, I’d be incredibly interested in seeing a Blitz: The League-style take on this sort of shit.


I absolutely agree that the pageantry is tiring and hurts the divisions, I was absolutely furious about McGregor holding up the featherweight division.Ultimately, I don’t think that is squarely about trash talk though, at least not at the heart of it.

Showmanship is part of any sport and I don’t want it to go away from any sport. The issue arises when the showmanship takes precedent over the actual athletic contest, something UFC has very much been guilty of, especially since the Fertita brothers got bought out. However, that is not a trash talk problem, that is a ownership problem.

Trash talk can and has existed in sports for centuries, you just have to ensure that it doesn’t take precedent over the actual sport.


Seriously Danielle, how did you never get into Absolver? From how you describe how you’d like a fighting game to be it seems like you’d really like it. True, it doesn’t have any grappling but there’s the sweet process of learning and refining your maneuvers and strikes to overcome your opponent and no voicechat.


Yeah, Jeff shared the same sentiment about trash talking in Giant Bomb’s Quick Look, especially how shitty it is when they do all the pre-fight ‘hurl as many insults as possible on social media and on video’ then do a 180 when all is said and done (The ‘[x] put up a great fight, is a real competitor’ spiel)

At least when wrestling does trash talk (Cut promos, if you will), it’s presented in a manner that’s over the top and entertaining enough that you don’t get the sense that the people involved are flaming garbage, whereas in UFC it kinda makes everyone seem really unappealing.

Personalities in sports are important, but when the personality is just ‘INSULTS, ALL OF THE TIME’, it makes me not want to follow that sport.

Also, if they want to make pre-fight trash talk entertaining and good, they should refer to this video.


Can anyone explain why in 2018 blood sports are such a popular thing, especially on a left wing forum. I barely understand the fascination with watching two boxers concuss themselves into a dementia filled future.


I think calling it blood sports is a pretty reductive and frankly disrespectful way of characterizing the years of dedication and training the athletes (yes, they are athletes) put themselves through to do MMA. Blood Sport is so… limitied as a term, I guess? It doesn’t speak to multitude of grappling based martial arts like Wrestling, BJJ, Judo, all of which take several years to perfect. It doesn’t do the careful and deliberate process of translating, reapplying and innovating new techniques and strategies to fit into a new context. It is a term that undercuts just how amazing the athletes who do this stuff is and paints them as grunting half wits.

Sure, it’s a sport with blood in it, just like damn near every contact sport out there. If that is a turn off for some I absolutely can’t blame you, though I would argue, as have people who have studied cuncussions, that MMA is far safer than boxing because the cummulative damage done is radically lower over a full fight. What I can’t roll with is something that is so technically, physically and mentally demanding being written off as tantamount to bar room brawling. It is frankly an insult to the men and women who dedicate themselves to the craft and everyone who has come before them to help shed that image.


Agreed it was a lazy term, but Im denigrating the watchers not the athletes. My disconnect is that an audience are deriving pleasure from watching two people cause very severe harm to one another until submission - be it voluntary or not… You can’t argue its just the discipline you’re enjoying


It’s the same enjoyment an audience derides from watching any type of contact sport, even if the violence is more explicitly on display in MMA. And I don’t doubt that there are members of the audience who do watch with that being the main reason, but that’s like saying that people only watch Nascar or Formula 1 because they want to see players crash.

Yes, two people punching each other probably does speak to some inherent part of the lizard brain, and while that might be the base of the appeall, there is so much that has evolved around it that denigrating the people watching it for simply liking to see people get hurt seems incredibly narrow minded.

Yes it is two people trying to hurt each other, it is also two people trying to defend themselves from being hurt too much, and they have dedicated their lives to being as good at those two things as possible, ultimately becoming the best in the world at their craft.

Making a judgment call that the reason people watch something that impressive simply boils down to liking the smell of blood is reductive and dismissive.I absolutely understand that isn’t for everyone but to shame others for liking something without acknowledging the full scope of the appeal is something I vehemently disagree with.


Of course I’m narrow-minded, thats why I’m asking you to explain it! No need to be on the offence with your posts. Maybe I’m a shitty wordsmith and my terms are being mis-construed as a lot more negative than I mean them, apologies.

Its interesting to put it in the context of motor racing. I love Formula 1, crashes are an inherent part of it, but thankfully the sport has worked wonders to limit their danger while still offering an element to make the sport thrilling (to an extent, its a bit of a circus). I’m well aware of Jules Bianchi being killed a few years back and the severe injuries that can occur as well. If someone crashes my only thought is a hope they are OK.

Nascar and Indy however seem utterly obsessed with their crashes, e.g. ‘the big one’ where the odds of anyone being unscathed are pretty low. I watched my first 500 last year and the danger completely grossed me out. The obsessive speed created a few crashes where racers were lucky to get out alive.

Maybe I’m just a weed who can’t stand to watch people being injured.


I apologize that my post came off as aggressive, but when you start out by framing the question about how “leftists could enjoy bloodsport” maybe that isn’t the most constructive way of enquiring about a subject? either way, I overreacted and I apologize.

Your point about inherent risks in sports is point well worth making, and MMA has come a long way in those regards as well. referee stoppages are getting quicker and they are acutely aware and focused on stopping a match before either one of the combatants endure any unnecessary harm. It is one of the main reasons why people argue that MMA is safer than Boxing because you are less likely to absorb more damage after the initial hit.

There has also been a lot of focus on minimizing weight cuts because of how damaging it can be to the athletes in the long term. All in all MMA is honestly well over a decade removed from being comparable to basic bar room brawls.

Now, that isn’t to say that slugfests don’t ever happen and that they aren’t necessarily entertaining in their own way, but I honestly don’t feel like the entertainment is derived from the violence, per se. To me, personally, it stems much more from seeing the battle of wills and guts, seeing two fighters let caution fly to the wind and simply seeing who is the toughest. It’s like watching Kyrie Irving go one on one and toe to toe with Steph Curry. It’s high noon gunslinging and drama, the struggle to survive and claim victory. The health concerns attached to this are absolutely real and concerning, just like Irving and Currys shootouts might not be the optimal route to victory, and thankfully you don’t see it very often anymore, but there is an inherent appeal to it. It’s not a matter of “look how badly they are hurting each other” as much as it is a matter of “look how badly they want it!”

In the same way that Ayrton Senna or Schumacher would engage in risky and often downright dangerous maneuvers was an expression of their will to win which captivated the F1 fans, the will to will to win that causes guys like Carlos Condit and Chan Sung Jung to throw caution to the win and fight with reckless abandon captivates the MMA audience. similarly both can have harmful, and in the case of Formula 1 even fatal, consequences but we watch them take these risks regardless.


Thanks for explaining it so eloquently, maybe if I can get past some stumbling blocks I may be able to enjoy it. Maybe not, but at least you’ve helped me to understand why something that on the face of it looks so barbaric can be enjoyed by so many.

I really did think it was akin to a bar room brawl (as in ‘no holds barred’), that’s how ignorant I am on the sport.


I think giving it a try would absolutely be commendable, even if it ends up not being your cup of tea. Despite it being touted as mainstream by people in the business I still hold the opinion that MMA is somewhat of a niche sport, and definitely not for everyone. The violence is absolutely a barrier of entry and if you aren’t comfortable watching violence that explicit, trying to sit through a UFC show might not be worth the hassle.

I guess what I’m saying is, be careful and trust your own experience, if it doesn’t appeal to you. Watching an MMA fight and having a horrible time due to the violent nature of the sport wouldn’t be beneficial to anyone.


I doesn’t sound like trash talk would be a particularly working mechanic in an MMA game. But in todays watered-down UFC landscape i feel a good beef is about the only way for a fighter to stand out from the crowd if you don’t have the fighting-style and ability to knock fools out in every fight.