MFC President Mark Pavelich has a ton of energy. And he is focusing that energy on taking the Maximum Fighting Championship (www.maximumfighting.com) from the number one MMA promotion in Canada to the number two promotion in the world.
And let us be clear. It is not easy for a man as driven as Pavelich to wake up each morning thinking, “Let’s go out there and strive to be number two!”
But Pavelich is a realist. He knows who the big dog is and he knows who runs it. He calls that person “DW”. He won’t say his name, or the name of his promotion. He won’t watch their shows either. He doesn’t want to infect his mind with that brand.
For Mark Pavelich, it’s all about the Maximum Fighting Championship and ONLY about the Maximum Fighting Championship.
“There’s a change in landscape, man and I’m telling you right now I’m going to go down in history as one of the biggest shows of all time,” Pavelich told ProMMAnow.com‘s Jack Bratcher last week during a 20-minute phone conversation.
“I’m not going to stop. I’m not going to slow down, it’s not going to happen. Two things are either going to happen. That’s going to happen or I’m going to drop dead of a heart attack. Either-or, I don’t care.”
On the UFC’s expansion into Canada
On April 30, the UFC will host their first ever show in the newly-regulated province of Ontario, Canada. However, beating them to the punch is the Maximum Fighting Championship, who will hold their own show in Ontario on April 8.
Pavelich is unsure if the UFC coming to Ontario is a good thing for MFC.
“I don’t know. I don’t really pay attention to what they do,” explained Pavelich. “I don’t even watch it anymore. I just kind of consume myself with the Maximum Fighting Championship. I’ve been around going on my 11th year in MMA. You go check who’s been around that long. Nobody but them. I never went out and got investors. The Pavelich family hustled to get where we are today. We’ve had all kinds of people that wanted to buy into our company. We never sold. We just kept grinding it out and here we are today.”
One would assume that the UFC’s efforts to get MMA sanctioned in Ontario is a good thing for Canadian promotions such as the MFC.
But Pavelich was quick to point out the UFC was not the only people pushing for legalization.
“Yeah, but I think too people are not up to snuff when it comes to… There was a lot of people prior to them that was working on legalization of mixed martial arts in Canada, in Ontario that is,” Pavelich said. “They walked in and worked on it and they spent money on it, but a lot of people spent money. And that’s what people have to really realize.”
On Zuffa’s purchase of Strikeforce
With Zuffa’s purchase of Strikeforce, Pavelich feels this has opened the door for the MFC to become the number two MMA promotion in the world.
“The difference is, when I say ‘second in the world’, it’s very realistic because now with DW purchasing that other show, that’s a good thing for me,” Pavelich explained. “Because eventually, no matter what he says, he’ll bury that show, right, like he buried Pride and like he buried WEC. And he’ll do the same with that show. And then, most people know with my intellect in the mixed martial arts world, I genuinely have a shot at it. People know that, mentality wise, I have a shot. I have a legitimate shot to be number two in the world. And undisputed number two in the world.”
If Pavelich is anything, he is confident. But it is not a false confidence. It comes from the knowledge and experience gained by running a legitimate MMA promotion ever since Shane Biever submitted Lee Mein in the MFC 1 main event way back in March 2001.
“There’s no comparison,” Pavelich elaborated. “If we all got in a room together… You put DW in a room, you put Coker in a room and you put me in a room, and I don’t even know who else the other guys names are from the other shows. But you stick them in a room all together, chances are most people are going to listen to DW and me talk. Right? Because they know… ”
“Because if you’re talking about automobiles or you’re talking about something else, I’m not going to speak because I don’t know nothing about that stuff. But when you want to talk about mixed martial arts and how to sell it sponsorship-wise and how to put things together properly and make a nice package, most people realize, yeah I’m going to listen to what he has to say because he actually knows.”
Pavelich explained why the MFC is still in business when other promotions who may have come in throwing a lot of money around are gone.
“And that’s one thing we saw back in this business, we seen guys come in with a ton of money but with very little knowledge. And I started with a lot of knowledge and no money. That was the difference. And I grinded it out,” Pavelich said.
“There were lots of people that said, ‘We want to buy in, I want to buy in.’ I was like ‘nah, I don’t want a buy-in because I don’t want some guy the day before the show going hey Mark I need 20 comp tickets for my buddies.’ Just stupid things like that I would have a hard time with, ya know. I’m not into that ya know. That’s the difference.”
On Dana White
As driven as Pavelich is, he realizes White is number one in the MMA game. That doesn’t mean he has to like it.
“Some reporter called me ‘the defiant prince of MMA,’ ” Pavelich said. “And I thought he’s so right cause the king is sitting there and I’m the defiant prince because it’s very difficult for me to wake up every day and go, ‘Oh I want to be number two in the world.’ That’s very hard for a person like me. I push because I want to be number one, and everybody knows that. The difference is, that realistically, that’s not realistic right now. Realistic is number two in the world. That’s very realistic.”
Pavelich has been quoted as saying he does not like to” bow down to White.” “The defiant Prince” explained what he meant by that.
“You know why, and this is the truth Jack, he is so good at what he does,” stated Pavelich. “In this business there’s no one for me to look at and go he’s going to be someone I’m going to look to of what to do or what not to do or whatever. But he is so good at what he does.”
“Now at the same time, he has a hard time showing admiration for other people in this business, right. There’s no question my work ethic is superior than 99.9% of the people in this industry. So for me, that’s what I’ve always had trouble with. Not that you have to send me a Christmas card, not that you have to get on a microphone and say ‘Mark Pavelich knows what he’s doing.’ You know, I’m not talking that kind of stuff.”
“But he’s made innuendos and things in the past. He wants to make sure everybody knows he’s the 5000-pound gorilla and the rest of us are nothing. And I won’t allow that. And that’s where I got the comment of “bowing down to,” right. If I’m going to be number two in the world, I got to be careful.”
“That’s why I stopped watching his stuff on television. I don’t watch it, because I want to watch the Maximum Fighting Championship and I get in-fixed with that alone. I don’t want to have any of his stuff intrude into my mind. I want to make sure it’s all about the Maximum Fighting Championship.”
Comparing White and Pavelich
White and Pavelich are actually fairly similar in many respects, but he is quick to point out their differences, and points out one thing in particular he said White does much better than him.
“I think we’re extremely different, right. Driven-wise we’re kind of the same you know,” explained Pavelich. “The difference is… I don’t know… We’re different in a lot of ways. I think he’s way more personable with fans. He’s very good at that. He’s way better than me at that. I’m way better looking, but he’s got way more money. I am. If we’re standing there and a girl walks by she’s going to look at me before she looks at him. It’s true right. At the same time, he’s got way more money.”
“He’s got great charisma with fans. That’s one thing I’ve always been envious about him. Like he’s really good. I see him and he’s genuine about it too, it’s not fake.He’s real. And he’s like that too. And I have a strong bond with the Canadian military and he has one with the American military, so we’re similar in that thing too. But I really see that when he meets with people that he’s very genuine and appreciative. And that’s one thing you can’t fake and he’s not a faker when it comes to that. He’s very sincere when he does that stuff.”
Pavelich’s honesty here is refreshing. And so is his humor.
He went on to explain why this sort of fan interaction is more of a challenge for himself.
“Because I’m so consumed with what I’m doing sometimes,” Pavelich said. “Not that I don’t appreciate the fans, of course I do. But at the same time, he’s a very public guy and he feels very comfortable doing that and that’s something I really have to work on immensely. And I have been, right. And I go to social functions now and do these other things and I do all those type of things. He seems very comfortable being in his role, and that’s one thing I’ve always had a great deal of respect for him with.”
Sometime in 2011 or 2012, Pavelich wants to bring the Maximum Fighting Championship to the U.S. for the first time. He has his eyes set on New York or somewhere on the East Coast as a possible premiere location.
Armed with a solid foundation, an HDNet television deal, a solid fan base and a fearless knowledgeable leader with a decade of experience, the MFC very well could become the number two MMA promotion in the world. It is going to take a lot of work, but if anyone has the energy for it, it is Pavelich.
He said he would like to do for HDNet what “DW” did for Spike.
“MFC 29: Conquer” will take place April 8 at The Collosseum at Caesars Windsor in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
The stacked event will air live on HDNet and feature a welterweight title fight with Douglas Lima vs. Terry Martin and a light heavyweight title fight with Ryan Jimmo vs. Emanuel Newton.