Maximum Fighting Championship president and founder Mark Pavelich wants his mixed martial arts promotion to grow in 2013 and the dissolution of another MMA organization could contribute to the MFC thriving.
Pavelich suggested that when Strikeforce holds its final event on Jan. 12 and then dissolves it, that “opens the marketplace for” the MFC to benefit.
“It’s unfortunate they are going out of business, in my opinion it’s very unfortunate, but it’s (about) market share for us when it comes to corporate sponsorship and other things like that,” Pavelich told Showdown Joe Ferraro on UFC Central Radio on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Thursday.
One of Pavelich’s goals is to expand the MFC’s national audience.
“In Canada there’s still no question we’re still the largest brand of MMA in the country,” Pavelich said. “It’s not just that we’re the largest brand of MMA, we’re the longest legal running show in Canada and on top of it people keep forgetting we’re the most exciting brand of MMA in Canada. “
Something that would help the MFC is if the promotion could hold regular events in Ontario, a hotbed for MMA fans. But Pavelich explained that he is hesitant to bring his Edmonton-based promotion back to Ontario because of certain stipulations in province’s MMA regulations.
“The only marketplace I’m interested in coming to is Toronto. To come to Caesars Windsor or Rama, those are fine and everything, but I believe my place is in downtown Toronto or the Ricoh (Coliseum).”
The promotion made its Ontario debut last April for MFC 29 in Windsor — its only event ever held outside of Alberta — but it wasn’t an ideal situation for Pavelich.
“I really compromised my morals when it comes to my brand of MMA when first and foremost I was not allowed to use a ring. That really disturbs me.
“I’ve been trying my whole entire life to be different than the No. 1 brand in the world (the UFC) — they’re going to be the No. 1 brand forever because they’re fantastic at what they do — but I chose a long time ago to be different. When I went into Ontario they forced me to be in a cage, which still to this day I’m not a fan of. I love watching on television on a cage but at a live venue (it’s) not good for viewing. If I’m ever going to come back to Ontario I want to be in a ring, my 32-foot ring.”
Pavelich added that although he made money when the promotion traveled to Windsor since the casino facility purchased the organization’s services for the night, promoting a show on the company’s dime would result in little to no profit.
“There’s just things that disturb me; the fees are the highest in the world. I’m puzzled by that because some of the greatest fans in the world are sitting right there and they want to see other types of brands of MMA. … People need to take a serious look at the fees in Ontario.”
The organization’s next event, MFC 36: Reality Check, takes place on Feb. 15 in Edmonton and features a lightweight bout between Mukai Maromo and Graham Spencer for the vacant lightweight title.
Other fights on MFC 36 include Elvis Mutapcic vs. TUF 16 veteran Sam Alvey for the middleweight title; Mike Hackert vs. Smealinho Rama; Luke Harris vs. Jason Zentgraf; Jacen Flynn vs. UFC veteran Jay Silva; and Dave Castillo vs. Kurt Southern.
Pavelich expressed his excitement over the new crop of talent the MFC is producing and said it’s something fans can expect going forward.
“Mukai Maromo right now is the best striker in MMA,” Pavelich said. “Let’s dig up Donald Cerrone and have Donald Cerrone bang it out with Mukai Maromo and see what happens and watch what will happen to him. … It’s like watching a video game when you watch him fight.
“We’ve got these types of eclectic fighters now in the Maximum Fighting Championship. The days of the Antonio McKees are done, they’re never coming back. We need exciting fighters and that’s what we have now.”
These “eclectic fighters” won’t include any females though, as Pavelich added that he doesn’t believe the UFC will be able to build a strong women’s division, even with the addition of Ronda Rousey.
When asked if he would consider adding a women’s division to the MFC Pavelich replied: “Of course not. I’m not going to comply with that.
“It’s great that the UFC did it, at the same time they’re never going to build a strong division because that new girl (Shannon Knapp’s) organization Invicta, whatever it’s called, they sucked up all the female fighters. It’s great we’re going to see Ronda Rousey fight Fighter B, Ronda Rousey fight Fighter C and that’s the only way that’s going to go. It’s going to be very hard for them to build a real long-lasting division.”