Being on the cover of one of EA Sports' annual games is a fairly big deal. Not just because it dooms you to having a horrible year (unless you're Calvin Johnson), but because it is an honor exclusively reserved for the most accomplished of athletes in a respective sport (unless you're Vince Young).
As you probably heard, EA Sports has taken over the publishing rights to UFC video games and today it unveiled on Twitter who the cover athlete would be for the first installment of the series...
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
You can see the tweet here:
EA did a relatively poor job of keeping the revelation under wraps, as it tweeted a teaser image on Saturday that spoiled the revelation, showing that the cover athlete would be a lanky fighter who has short hair. Very few high-profile fighters fit that bill, which made it completely obvious that Jones would be the game's poster boy.
This is yet another accomplishment for Jones, who has been a trailblazer in terms of endorsements. He was the first fighter to achieve a global sponsorship agreement with Nike (he was the third to sign a deal with the company behind Anderson Silva and Yoshihiro Akiyama, who had deals exclusive to Brazil). He also became the first fighter to rock the Gatorade logo earlier this year in his fight against Alexander Gustafsson.
It's worth noting that, similar to Madden, the UFC Undisputed series' cover spot also carried something of a curse.
The inaugural game, UFC 2009 Undisputed, had Forrest Griffin on the cover, who suffered the embarrassing loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 101 in his next fight. Following that was Brock Lesnar, who would defend his belt from Shane Carwin after the game's release but would then lose it after being knocked out by Cain Velasquez. Before the release of the next game, UFC Undisputed 3, Lesnar would once again be blighted by diverticulitis, and he retired following a knockout loss to Alistair Overeem.
UFC Undisputed 3 featured longtime middleweight champion Anderson Silva on the cover. While things would go fine for the champ within a calendar year of the game's release, he lost his belt to Chris Weidman via, you guessed it, a knockout loss at UFC 162.
Jones will look to avoid that same fate with EA Sports UFC.
In addition to Jones, a second cover athlete will be determined by fan voting. There are 16 candidates including champions such as Dominick Cruz, Chris Weidman and Anthony Pettis, as well as fan favorites like Michael Bisping and Chael Sonnen. Fans can vote on the UFC.com webpage here.
The game is set to drop on May 5, 2014 on the Xbox One and Playstation 4.