Corner Man

Mark Pavelich’s Thin Red Line


It’s not always easy to run a successful business when standing in front of you is a line of naysayers and critics. For MFC boss Mark Pavelich, he has been fighting the haters on the front lines for well over a decade. Yet even the most stubborn and most prolific become weary of battle.

We all get old. Over the last year or so I’ve noticed that Maximum Fighting Championship’s President Mark Pavelich has become less contentious. Is it age? Or is it an understanding that sometimes bluster only gets you so far in the business before it starts to hamper growth? I’m not Mr. Pavelich’s therapist so it’s tough for me to say. Am I the one that has gone crazy or has age mellowed the outspoken and often confrontational MFC President?

Yeah, I guess so. I don’t know. I just want to be in my world. I realize the UFC is the number one show on the planet and they always will be. For a person like me, I respect them and of course they’ve laid the ground roots for this, but I’m the show that came right after them. At the same time, I’m never going to bow down to them.

We have progress! For those that have not heard Mark speak before, what he just uttered is finally a confession. He actually had no problems saying those three letters (UFC), that for the past few years he has painfully called, “that other organization.” He has finally publicly acknowledged that the UFC is the biggest show in the world.

Okay I’m poking fun. I personally enjoy listening Pavelich. We’ve had him on MMASucka Radio a few times and he is always someone we look forward to talking to.  Most of what he says is bravado mixed in with some showmanship. He is a promoter after all. You also can’t take away his passion and work ethic. If you want to hear the truth you better be ready to hear Mark’s truth. He will not shy away from telling you where he feels his promotion stands in the MMA universe.

What the MFC can be and should be is a healthy feeder system for the UFC. In fact although he is the number one MMA promotion in Canada, he feels there is still much more room for improvement in his home and native land.

I think that Canadians should grasp on to the MFC more. I’ve seen the response that we get from America right now; it’s huge. Most of the people that join us on Twitter and Facebook are all from the States. With the recent signing with TSN, we are the most covered show by far in Canada. Now that it’s starting to take, I don’t want to be one of those big bands that say we have to go to the United States to be successful. I prefer to stay in Canada forever. We have great support from the fans in this country; I just want it to be bigger in our own country.

Pavelich has always made that point. MFC is the most widely covered MMA promotion in Canada, however, the organization use to get even better coverage when it was shown live in Canada on HDNET. The network was bought out and re-branded as AXS TV. Unfortunately none of the Canadian cable outlets have added AXS TV to their lineup yet. It is just a matter of time, but for the Edmonton, Alberta promoter it has been a lesson in patience.

I’m very frustrated. I’m not really a guy with a ton of patience, so for me it is has been very frustrating and very difficult because I field a ton of emails and twitter messages where people are constantly asking me about that. The problem is I’m not the one making the deal so I have no say in the matter.

For now you can see the MFC replay on TSN 2 (check your local listing) and while all of this AXS TV stuff is being sorted out, Pavelich doesn’t have time to sit and ponder on it too much. The show must go on, and MFC 34: Total Recall could be one of the most entertaining cards in Canadian MMA history.

I think it’s going to be one of the most violent fight cards I’ve put together. I just think the styles of the fights I’ve got going on are going to surpass any show in Canada for fight level. Surpass any action you’ve seen in any show for the past little while in my opinion.

If you look at the MFC 34:Total Recall fight card it’s hard to disagree. Sure every promoter is going to sell his or her show as the most entertaining in the history of the universe. I’d like to think that we as fans have enough knowledge of the sport to know when a promoter is bullshitting. But looking at the MFC 34 lineup, it’s hard to argue on the potential of it being a great night of fights.

MFC 34: Total Recall Lineup

Adam Lynn vs. Mukai Maromo – MFC lightweight title

Joseph Henle vs. Luke Harris – middleweight

Mike Hackert vs. Tim Hague – heavyweight

Elvis Mutapcic vs. Jacen Flynn – middleweight

Nick Hinchliffe vs. Dhiego Lima – welterweight

Jason Zentgraf vs. Cody Krahn – catchweight

Dan Ring vs. Derek Boyle – catchweight

Derek Parker vs. Paul Grandbois – middleweight

Lee Mein vs. Smealinho Rama – heavyweight

There are some definite future stars and warriors on this card who will have no problems slugging it out. That is one thing you cannot take away from the MFC, they have made it priority number one to entertain fans with great match making. Hinchliffe vs. Lima is my pick for fight of the night, while two of the best Canadian heavyweights in Mike Hackert and Tim Hague will go to battle once again, but this time, on a bigger stage. Those two matches are worth the price of admission alone. You add a lightweight title fight with Adam Lynn vs. Mukai Maromo and you got yourself a good Ol’ Slobber Knocker… I think that’s what they call it in Alberta.

As exciting as this card is, it still seems that the MFC isn’t as covered as much as other organizations throughout North America. I spoke to a few of my colleagues and some of them have refused to cover the promotion due to issues or down right dislike for Mark Pavelich.

If we are going to tell the truth, over the last few years, Pavelich hasn’t done himself or his promotion any favors. Journalists, fighters, managers have all felt the wrath of the Big MFC Boss. I myself have had a run in with the big man before. I survived and didn’t take it to heart. The difference is I have moved on and continued to cover the promotion because if did not, we would be doing MFC fighters a great disservice.

There is a great wealth of talent fighting under the MFC banner, why punish those great athletes because you don’t like the promoter? However, some burnt bridges are hard to rebuild and although the MFC does get some press, there are still some who refuse to give the MFC its just due.

Sherdog covers the MFC, MMAWeekly covers us, MMASucka covers us, TSN covers us, Sportsnet even covers us. There are only a few people inside Canada that don’t cover us. One of the people is Mauro Ranallo; I’ve never even met that human being before in my life. He makes derogatory comments about us. What’s funny is, you don’t have to like me, I don’t care and I don’t like you. At the same time, you cannot deprive the fact that the MFC is the largest show in the country by about a million miles. Go check everything from websites, Twitter and Facebook. At the same time, I don’t care if you don’t like me, but you cannot disrespect the Maximum Fighting Championship.

It’s funny because there are people at that network [The Score] that call us to cover us now, because they can not stop the fact that most people now want to watch the Maximum Fighting Championship and they want to talk about it. We don’t mind being that other brand of MMA that you might tune into when the UFC is not on.

The MFC still brings in exciting talent and one of its biggest stars made his Octagon debut at UFC 149 in spectacular fashion. Ryan Jimmo was a guy that most Americans didn’t know about and many Canadians deemed a boring point fighter. He was considered Canada’s best-untapped talent but the former MFC champ can no longer be ignored. Jimmo was able to make a statement to the rest of the UFC light heavyweight division when he knocked out Anthony Perosh in seven seconds of the first round. For Pavelich, there is some satisfaction to seeing the “Big Deal” succeed on the big stage.

I think it’s fantastic, I’ve always known he had the potential to do such a thing. He has a great deal of talent and there is no depriving that. He’s very intelligent and he knows how to get things done. They gave him a perfect fight for his first bout in the UFC. I was happy for him.

But that is as far as happiness goes for Pavelich. He strongly feels that a lot of talents are ducking his organization.

I see a lot of people bypassing the MFC because it’s too hard for them. There are a ton of organizations out there; we check fight cards all the time and we need to start exposing people for doing this. They’ll start putting these easy fights together for all these fighters and then they bypass the MFC because they say it’s too tough. They end up going to Dana White’s show [UFC] and what happens? They get whacked.

That’s what I’m trying to tell you, it’s the level of competition here. It’s so much higher than any other show in the country. Get all the shows together and take their champions and do you think any of those champions could beat my champions? Not a chance. That’s the difference between my organization and every other organization in North America. You have the one or two fighters at the top of the food chain, but after that it’s very thin; excluding the UFC of course.

No matter how many critics Pavelich has, he will continue to shout to the heavens about the quality of his show. He still battles with the decision to puts fights in a cage, as he believes it hampers the fan experience, so for now he is going to stick with the ring. That is something Mark will continue to do, he will listen to his fan base.

He wants to put on the most entertaining fights. He wants every fan that walks into the MFC tent or casino to have a great experience. Love him or hate him, in the end he has been about the finished product. He may come off as a self-absorbed and contentious SOB, but it’s the fight business. Give me a promoter that doesn’t have some character flaw. Trust me I have met many promoters who all have quirks. Yet ask the MFC President where he stands in the grand scheme of things and he will have no problems telling you.

I’m the person in Canada that’s given the most money out of any promoter. All the promoters put together, I’ve given more money to fighters than anybody added up. Over 14 years nobody has given more money to the fighters than I have. No shows in all of Canada put together have given more money to charity than me either. You don’t like the way I run my organization? Ask a fighter if we have never paid him. You’ve never heard that ever. You might have heard of people being disgruntled by contracts and things like that because they signed those contracts and didn’t honor those contracts and we reacted to that. At the same time, this has been going on for 14 years. This isn’t some fly by night organization; we’re a family run business. It really frustrates me that people talk about ego and their ego is so big that they can’t even talk about that this is something bigger than both of us. They want to be that way and that’s the way it’s going to be, I’m not going to fight with them. Just remember, I’m on one of the largest sports networks in the country, keep that in mind.

Something tells me he won’t allow us to forget. Check out MFC 34: Total Recall card slated for Friday, August 10 in Edmonton, Alberta. I recommend if you live in the Edmonton area to get tickets. If you can’t watch it live, check in with us at for live results. Go visit the MFC website for more information.

To hear the entire interview with Mark Pavelich have a listen to last week’s episode of MMASucka Radio.

-Corner Man-



For full MMA coverage and the latest news, keep it locked to You can also follow Trevor on Twitter @tdueckMMA

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