|ESPN.com: The Gamer||[Print without images]|
|When Jon Fitch isn't kicking people in the head, he's playing video games like "Skyrim."|
Invest one hundred hours into a video game, and it's called passion.
Two hundred hours is what I call obsession.
So where does that leave UFC fighter Jon Fitch and his three hundred-plus hours of "Skyrim"?
"It's beyond addiction," Fitch tells me with a laugh when I ask him about his time playing the popular role-playing game. "I play so much, I even started a new Twitter account (FitchSkyrimTale) just so fans can follow along with my latest adventures and help me out when I get stuck."
Fitch, who cites "Skyrim's" Dark Brotherhood quest as his favorite, even admits to the game freaking him out when he plays in the dark.
"I turn the stereo up loud and the lights down low," he says. "My wife will be sitting there on her computer, then all of a sudden something will jump out at me in the game and I'll jump up because I get scared. This game is just so good."
And it's because of Fitch's love for video games, he also has a real appreciation for his character's appearance in THQ's "UFC Undisputed 3" (February 14; Xbox 360, PlayStation 3).
Says Fitch: "There are a lot of young kids who come through, and they always have the video games to sign. They know me from the game without ever having seen me fight in real life. Because of this game, you have these hardcore fans who love you because they like to play as you in the video game. It's awesome. They don't know anything about me in real life, they know nothing about me as a person, but they like to fight as me in the video game so they want my autograph. It's pretty cool. To them, I'm like a character in 'Street Fighter' or something."
Fitch was even able to get his hands on an early copy of "UFC Undisputed 3" at a recent THQ event in San Francisco, knocking out fellow fighter Mike "Quick" Swick with a nasty head kick the first time they played.
|Even without the beard, Jon Fitch is a fierce fighter in "UFC Undisputed 3."|
"They have me down pretty good," he tells me after the fight. "They always make me really tough in these games. I can take a lot of damage, I'm tough to submit, and I have good cardio, good stamina. I'm able to gruel out any fight in this game. As long as you can figure out the buttons, my character will give you a good chance to win.
"One thing they did, though, was they removed my beard in this year's 'Undisputed.' I think I showed up with no facial hair the day they were doing the body and facial mapping. Either that, or maybe they just thought I look better without a beard. They're trying to sell more games and didn't want to scare kids off with the beard. I think maybe my wife got a hold of THQ and told them I look more attractive without the facial hair."
"It doesn't take long to make me ugly in the game, though," Fitch continues. "The damage in the game is pretty intense, and it's pretty close to real life. You don't get hit in the face and expect nothing to happen. Things swell, you get cut, you get ugly. That's what being a fighter is all about and they captured it perfect in the game."