Wanderlei Silva & Michael Bisping in UFC Undisputed 2010

You may recall how UFC Undisputed 2009 helped pull THQ out of their financial hole last year. Well, fast forward a year and they’re falling right back in it. With UFC Undisputed 2010 not meeting sales expectations, among other reasons, they found themselves reporting a $30.1 million loss for the first quarter of fiscal year 2010 compared to a profit of $6.4 million profit for the same quarter in 2009. In other words, they’re going in the wrong direction financially and they need to make changes to fix it. One of those changes appears to be lengthening the development cycle of UFC Undisputed.

THQ has said its UFC Undisputed fighter series may see longer development cycles going forward as the publisher hopes to find ways to innovate the franchise and boost sales.

President and CEO Brian Farrell noted on the company’s Q1 2010 fiscal earnings call this afternoon the UFC series may no longer be released annually and could receive up to an additional six months of development time between titles.

“We’re considering a longer development cycle; 15 to 21 months between releases rather than annually,” Farrell said. “We’re not announcing anything; we’re looking at all of our options and working with the UFC to make sure we’re aligned with their plans as well.”

To be clear, THQ will release a new UFC Undisputed game in 2011, but it may not be released until later in the year instead of May. THQ has shipped 2.7 million copies of Undisputed 2010 to date compared to the 2.9 million it shipped it in the same time period last year.

A Sony PSP version of UFC Undisputed 2010 will hit store shelves on Sept. 7.