MFC’s Mark Pavelich on MFC 35 and Progressing MMA with Implementation of New Rules

Maximum Fighting Championship President, Mark Pavelich joined MMA Fight Corner on Tuesday night and discussed the upcoming fight card coming to homes on AXS TV October 26 from Edmonton, Canada’s Mayfield Trade Centre.

MFC 35’s “Explosive Encounter” main event is a middleweight bout for the vacant title featuring Joseph “Leonidas” Henle who is currently undefeated at 8-0, 1 draw, MMA, facing off against Elvis “The King” Mutapcic who’s 11-2, MMA with 10 of his wins being finishes.

In addition to the championship fight, MFC also has their first ever featherweight bout on the card. President Mark Pavelich said just how big all of this is for the promotion.

“It’s a progression of the Maximum Fighting Championship. We’ve been in the game 13 years, probably the second longest in the world and we’re happy to keep rolling along. And that’s what we’re going to keep doing. This is that type of fight card. The middleweight division is going to have a new champion come this Friday night.”

The promotion’s also instituted a new policy concerning weigh-ins for championship bouts. At MFC 34, Mukai Maromo and Adam Lynn fought for a vacant title which was changed to a non-title bout after Lynn failed to make weight. Maromo stopped Lynn in the second round on August 10, but was not awarded the title. Since then, title fights can be changed to non-title fights if one fighter fails to make weight. Vacant title fights will have similar stipulations.

If the champion comes in overweight, but the challenger hits his mark, the champion must vacate the title immediately, but the bout remains a five-round contest. Provided the champion wins the bout, MFC officials reserve the right to decide if he’s the number one contender and to book his next fight for the vacant belt. If the challenger wins, he becomes the new MFC title holder.

As in the past, if the challenger doesn’t make weight at weigh-ins, the champion retains his belt and the bout is changed to a non-title fight. The promotion reserves the right to decide whether the bout becomes a three or five round event. (Full weigh-in rules for MFC can be found on their website.)

When Maromo finished Lynn he was not awarded the belt, Pavelich said that outcome, “doesn’t make any sense anymore. That’s not (Maromo’s) fault that his opponent didn’t make weight and those types of rules are going to be changed now,” Pavelich said. “I’m pretty sure that we’re the first organization to do this and I’ll be surprised if guys don’t follow suit.”

By the next year, Pavelich revealed that he’d also like to have an hour grace period added to their weigh-in process to give the fighters a chance to get to the right weight if they miss their mark. The policy will have to be approved by the sanctioning body before it becomes a rule. With the new weigh-in rules in place, Pavelich hopes that fighters will realize the importance of making weight.  He explained that he has no tolerance for guys who don’t adhere to it.

“If it’s by two pounds or by twenty pounds, it’s all disrespectful to me…To me it’s like, if you miss weight, you miss weight and to me, that’s so disrespectful. Not just to your opponent, but to the organization. I go on snap mode when I see that take place. It’s like, you want to agree to money? You and your agent want to negotiate with me about money. I agree to the money, I agree to the fight. I agree to everything. I always pay fighters. I live up to contracts religiously and it really kills me when I see guys do this in any organization. I basically don’t like any organization in the world, but I sympathize with them when this happens,” Pavelich explained.

The MFC was Canada’s first fully sanctioned mixed martial arts promotion outside of Quebec and now they also will implement random drug tests. “We want to take this now out of the whole MMA world and start bringing it into the professional sports world, and if we’re going to do that, we’re going to have to have drug testing and have a lot of other things take place. We basically approached the commission and suggested to them that this is something that our organization wanted to do.”

For those not familiar with the MFC, they boast a centerpiece much different than most MMA organizations. While most MMA promotions have cages, the MFC has a ring instead. “For the fans, the best apparatus to watch in is a ring. You can clearly see ten times better at live events in a ring than you can in a cage. When you’re watching a fight in a cage, you’re watching it on a video screen, that’s ridiculous.  Who goes to an NFL game and sits there and just watches the screen? No, you watch the replay on the screen you watch the field for the game. And that’s something in MMA I’ve always found very strange. At the same time, we have a cage because when we were in Ontario, Canada, we did Caesar’s there, the casino, they mandated that we use a cage. So, I bought a cage and it’s sitting in storage right now in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Right where it belongs, right, in storage.”

MFC’s pioneer also hopes to one day bring the Canadian promotion to the USA. The always animated Pavelich believes that his innovations and dedication to growing the sport of MMA is much needed for many reasons. “UFC’s going to be the biggest brand of MMA in the world always and I’m okay with that. But there has to be secondary brands to them, and the bottom line is, that there’s that organization that you just brought up, run by boxing people who don’t really know the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. I’m pretty sure most of them couldn’t tell you the difference between a kimura and a rear naked choke. I think it’s funny when I hear them talk about MMA most of them put on that front,” Pavelich said of Bellator and its presence in the US.

As for himself, Pavelich sees himself as a trendsetter for the sport and believes his tenacity will carry the promotion even further. “I was the dishwasher and now I own the restaurant. In the MMA business, I was in this business when it wasn’t cool to be in it. I was standing there when nobody else was standing there. I was standing there looking around and it was emptiness. There was nobody else was around.”

On Friday, MFC will be the only fight card to watch on TV and can be seen at 7pm ET/4pm PT on AXS TV. Below is the full fight card:


Main Event For Vacant Middleweight Championship:

Joseph Henle (8-0-1) vs. Elvis Mutapcic (11-2)

Shane Nelson (15-6) vs. Graham Spencer (8-1)

Ryan Fortin (6-3) vs. Smealinho Rama (4-0)

Jared McComb (4-1-1) vs. Derek Parker (2-1-1)

Sabah Fadai (6-2) vs. Cody Krahn (11-5)

Paul Grandbois (4-4) vs. Jason Kuchera (5-5)


Joe McMillan (1-2) vs. Garret Nybakken (3-5)

Matt Jelly (3-1) vs. Jose Rodriguez (7-2)

Chase Degenhardt (7-3) vs. Chad Sherman (3-3)

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