There Are No Good Guys In A Battle Between (Likely) UFC And Ultimate Gay Fighter

from the can-they-both-lose? dept

As the times continue to change, the past few years have seen a notable increase in LGBT characters appearing in video games. Not that this is any kind of major victory, of course, but it is probably an imperfect barometer for public tolerance of our fellow human beings. There’s obviously still a long way to go, and not everyone is embracing tolerance as much as I would personally prefer, but that’s okay. These things take time and it’s important that we listen to all sides and engage in the debate with integrity, honesty, and respect.

What can make this difficult and challenging is when the worlds of two different, but important, issues you have collide. Such is the case with an upcoming mobile game called Ultimate Gay Fighter, which is finding itself forced to change that name due to legal pressure, likely over a trademark.

According to Handsome Woman Productions, the company in question “believes the UGF brand and related mobile gaming product threatens one of their reality TV series/fighting competition brand.” As a result, the developer is unable to defend the game’s current name against what founder Michael P. Venker calls a billion-dollar company.

“We have a trademark pending, but the prospect of a potential lawsuit is very intimidating,” Venker said. “We don’t have the funds to compete with their take-no-prisoners approach. We offered them solutions, but this company remains firm in believing our Ultimate Gay Fighter brand threatens their brand, despite vast differences in our customer base and product.”

You don’t need to be a master at reading between the thinly-veiled lines to understand that Venker is almost certainly referring to the UFC, or Ultimate Fighting Championship, and their reality TV show, The Ultimate Fighter. They’re really the only ones that fit the parameters here. And, while UGF is going ahead and caving to the name change, and looking to crowdsource a new name from their fanbase, it seems likely that they’d at least have a case in challenging the threat in court. Trademark, after all, was built to prevent customer confusion, and it’s unlikely that any UFC fan is going to think that UGF is affiliated with the fighting company. In addition, the whole concept behind the game appears to be one of parody, which would be protected as fair use.

Where this all gets tricky is that there’s a whole lot to hate in Ultimate Gay Fighter.

In Ultimate Gay Fighter, a forthcoming brawler for iOS and Android, players take on the role of a variety of iconic gay caricatures, including a drag queen, a butch lesbian, an Asian ‘twink’, a gym bunny, a golden-chain wearing African-American rapper and a drunken bisexual woman. Each character wields a comedic ‘gaytality’ move that makes reference to common LGBT jokes.

The caricatures are crude at best and, in my opinion, not particularly funny. That said, my opinion means eff-all when it comes to free speech and my sense of allowing speech to rule the day outweighs my offense: UFC shouldn’t be bullying this game out of their name. And no, before everyone gets started on my regular attacks on the Washington Redskins organization, this isn’t even close to being the same thing. There’s nothing inherently offensive in the name Ultimate Gay Fighter, “gay” isn’t recognized as having a detrimental definition, and in this case we’re talking about taking away speech rights, not opening them up to everyone.

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Comments on “There Are No Good Guys In A Battle Between (Likely) UFC And Ultimate Gay Fighter”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Just to nip this in the bud: when I think of a person I think of a young white male from the USA. Am I a racist sexist who is intolerant of the older generation and other nations?

Representation in popular media is not tolerance, any more than a women and ethnic groups first policy is progressive. It’s just altering way in which people say “These people aren’t as good as us, let’s support them because they can’t do it themselves.”

Anonymous Coward says:

"Gay" may not be an offensive slur...

But you honestly think that a game featuring clearly overly stereotypical homosexual portrayal is okay while a stadium full of “Redface” and an overly stereotypical Native American portrayal isn’t? Or would everything be cool if Washington merely renamed it’s team to the Natives?

Eponymous Coward says:

What I am offended by...

Is how generic their title is! It shows a total lack of creativity, and “judging a book by its cover design” makes me think that the game will be lame too. Granted, I don’t think this means they should be forced into changing it. I do think the silver-lining here is that it puts pressure on them to come up with a more compelling title.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

i see what they did there...

…but don’t really care

1. don’t give a shit about UFC (or UGF), but i can certainly see why they are concerned about the trademark/etc traducing, REGARDLESS of the ‘gay’ angle… *obviously*, i can further see why they would be even more annoyed by the ‘gay’ angle… (stupid ? i guess, but their right)
2. ABSOLUTELY give the UGF people props for doing a cool thing (whether done ‘well’ or not is apparently open for debate), BUT i think they are skating on the edge of traducing with their title… as a total noob to that scene, i can see how that similar title could cause ‘confusion’, just sayin’…

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