In the wake of the UFC’s meteoric rise, Zuffa and the UFC brand are working even harder to continue widening their audience.

But what about children?  How young? Are we ready as a society for this level of integration? It would seem indeed that the UFC marketing divisions have been testing these waters for some time now…

As a new feature at some events, Zuffa has been ever-so-carefully adding more ‘children-friendly’ material to their list of resources, hoping to attract a more family crowd.  One of these initiatives was the creation of a UFC Coloring/Activity Book – and who would have guessed that the illustrator who landed the job was none other than Masato, owner and CEO of Masato Toys.

“At first I was thrilled to get the gig. It sounded like a lot of fun and I’m always happy to work on projects that are meaningful to me,” Masato explained.  “But it went bad real fast. I don’t think those guys have ever worked with illustrators before.”

According to Masato, the UFC reps that contacted him originally asked for a quote for just 3 or 4 simple illustrations.  But then they kept adding new ideas, whole new concepts, new styles, none of which made any sense, according to Masato. “If they would have just asked me to design it for them, I would have made it so kickass.  But they thought they could art-direct it, they had no idea what they were doing.”

Days went by, and Masato soon enquired if their budget was OK to keep going… “This is where it started to go wrong,” Masato explained.  “They told me their budget was firm, and that they were only entitled to pay me the amount on the original quote.”

Seeing that he was on the losing end, Masato began submitting his own ‘ideas’ for the project. “It took at least 2 or 3 submissions before they figured out I was fucking with them,” said Masato.  This pissed off his clients once and for all, and the relationship was ceased. Zuffa claimed all rights to the work, and threatened to sue Masato if he showed any of the images to anyone.

“That’s fine,” Masato responded. “But they should know up front that they are dealing with an anarchist. I don’t acknowledge their laws – that’s their game, not mine.  If they want to come and bully an otherwise peaceful human being and his family, that’s their decision, it’ll be on their conscience.  I’m just being creative for free, and trying to make other people happy.”

6 hours later, Masato’s computer was infected with a virus and all files were corrupted.  Luckily, Masato had managed to take a few photos of some of the concepts (though he claims the best ones were lost), and we are posting them here at Masato in the name of art, and freedom of the internet/press.

In the end it really is a shame, because we would have loved a copy of it.  – And I bet the kids would dig it too.