EA Sports UFC 2 developer EA Canada patched the game yesterday to remove a particular religious celebration animation, after players and one of the fighters on the UFC 2 roster complained to the team.
One of the post-fight victory celebrations in UFC 2 was an animation in which the winner quickly crossed himself or herself on the chest. This caught the attention of Khabib Nurmagomedov, a Russian lightweight fighter who is playable in the game.
Nurmagomedov is a Muslim, so he understandably took exception to seeing his in-game self make the sign of the cross. (You can see it in a video here.) Last week, Nurmagomedov asked the UFC 2 developers to fix this issue.
"I'm a MUSLIM and not Baptized," Nurmagomedov said March 19 on Twitter. "Please @EASPORTSUFC edit my after fight celebration. I have a lot of Muslim fans and you have to respect it."
The official Twitter account for the EA Sports UFC series apologized to Nurmagomedov in a Twitter direct message earlier this week. He posted EA's response on Instagram with an understanding note, saying that he's "not holding a grudge":
"I'm Muslim, Alhamdulilah," Nurmagomedov wrote, using the phrase for "praise be to God" in Arabic. "I have nothing against Christians. Every man in this life has his own way, and my way is Islam. Developers of the game made [a] mistake. Let's be honest, every human being made mistakes, and I'm not holding a grudge. They apologized and promised to fix it. Hopefully, next time they wouldn't make mistakes like this, and take account [of] everybody's religion."
Indeed, the fact that EA Canada thought it was reasonable to include an animation of crossing yourself as a default celebration for a win — and that nobody caught it before the game was released — speaks volumes about how closely Christianity is entwined with Western cultural and social norms.
The UFC 2 development team released a patch last night to remove the animation from the game entirely, and apologized for "all inaccurate representation of this animation." You can see the studio's full message below:
A representative for EA told Polygon that the company has no further comment on the matter. EA Sports UFC 2 launched last week on PlayStation 4 on Xbox One. For more, read our review.