MFC President Mark Pavelich Talks to BJPenn.Com Radio
MFC President Mark Pavelich joined BJPenn.Com Radio this past Sunday and as usual he did not disappoint. He spoke to us about MFC 34 which took place August 10th, MFC 35 which is scheduled for October 26th and the UFC 151/Jon Jones situation. He is never one to hold anything back and is very similar to Dana White in many areas. Both men demand the best from their fighters and are quick to show someone the door should they embarrass their organizations.
Pavelich discussed a few of the more exciting performances from MFC 35 and was very animated when he discussed just how happy he was with how things turned out. One fighter in particular was on his mind and he was quick to point out how good he thinks this fighter is.
“MFC 34 was an absolute masterpiece,” Pavelich told BJPenn.Com Radio. “It was the most exciting fight card this year no question. I told everyone this event would be a masterpiece and it was just that. I went to church on Sunday and I started bowing in the parking lot, that’s how great the show was. I was in the backyard of my house and I was jumping up in the air screaming yes! In 13 years I’ve had two masterpieces, MFC 24 and now MFC 34. It was so electrifying and a star was born in Mukai Maromo. Let’s be honest, is there anyone in the world at 155 who can stand with Maromo in MMA besides BJ if he wanted to come back down to lightweight?”
After discussing Maromo and his dominating performance, Pavelich discussed two more fighters that will be competing for the MFC middleweight championship at MFC 35. His description of both men is absolutely priceless!
“Elvis Mutapcic just knocked out Jacen Flynn in the first round at MFC 34,” said Pavelich. “Everyone at 185 should hide, get a shovel and dig yourself a hole. Mutapcic walks around like he’s looking for the library. To him it’s no big deal, it’s nothing, he knocked out the winner of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil Cezar Ferreira two fights before this one. He Frankensteined him, he comes to the MFC, walks in and beats Flynn like he slept with his wife! This is my kind of MMA, I don’t want it to go three rounds, I want guys to go in there like someone stole shit from them and put it on their opponents.
Joseph Henle takes on Luke Harris, who is 9-1 and is part owner of Hayabusa Fightwear and a good fighter in his own right, and does the exact same thing to Harris that Mutapcic did to Flynn. It was insane; this is the sign of the times in MFC. We have fighters who aren’t worried about losing; they are only worried about winning. Flynn and Mutapcic are fighting on October 26th at MFC 35 on AXS TV. It only took me 13 years, but I’m starting to sound like a promoter now because I’m so excited about what we have going on. If you’re not extremely intense then don’t come here, it’s not a place to come and win a few fights and use it to get into the UFC.”
With over two months left before MFC 35 is set to take place, Pavelich is working hard at signing new fighters and lining them up with opponents who will help them put on a show for the MFC fans. One fighter he recently signed spends a lot of time with BJ Penn in Hawaii. Pavelich also told us that there will be two title fights at MFC 35, one of which is a rematch.
“I just signed one of BJ Penn’s training partners, Shane Nelson to fight Graham Nelson at MFC 35,” an excited Pavelich said. “We’re only as good as our fighters, I am blessed to have fighters like Dhiego Lima, Nathan Coy, Maromo, Henle, and the list goes on. It’s almost impossible to look bad with that type of roster. Nelson is one of the few fighters in 13 years that I have signed coming off of a loss. I could care less because after he fights in the MFC no one will remember that loss. This will be the inaugural featherweight fight in the MFC.
I just offered Lima a rematch with Nathan Coy for the MFC welterweight title,” Pavelich stated. “They are both part of American Top Team, but if you ask them if they like each other they will tell you they don’t. Lima is getting this rematch because he took the first fight on short notice and lost a decision. He just came back and beat Nick Hinchliffe so it’s the right thing for us to do. In the main event we have Mutapcic vs. Henle for the middleweight title and the co-main event will be Coy vs. Lima for the 170lb. title.”
It was only a matter of time before the discussion turned to last week’s cancellation of UFC 151. Pavelich was upset for the sport as a whole and felt badly for Dana White and the UFC. He pointed out that the actions of one man caused a ripple effect on the lives of so many other people. MMA is about guys stepping up and answering challenges and Jones failed to do that.
“I think it’s bad for the sport that UFC 151 was cancelled,” said Pavelich. “The UFC is the platinum seal of MMA and they are the only other organization I have any respect for. I hate and despise all of the other organizations and the feeling is mutual and that’s the way I like it. People don’t want to see a UFC event get canceled. It scares them, it scares sponsors and I think it’s really unfortunate for the other fighters on the card. The worst part is the fans that bought airline tickets, hotel rooms and took off of work, I feel horrible for them.
I don’t blame Dana White for this at all, we are in the fighting business and if you would’ve called Maromo and said you’re going to fight Jon Jones he would’ve said yes. You would’ve had to give him a ladder and add 50lbs to his body, but he would’ve said yes. This is a sign of the times, if you’re going to be a company guy for the UFC or MFC there are things that you have to be willing to do. Let’s be honest I think Jones would’ve smashed Chael Sonnen. Sonnen is very similar to Henderson so it wouldn’t have been a big shocker for Jones. The only difference is Henderson has a better right hand than Chael does.”
In the past week MMA fans, journalists and fighters have taken Jones to task for turning down the fight with Chael Sonnen. Pavelich stated that Jones could have easily been the hero if he had chosen to save the day, but he instead chose to tell his boss no.
“Jones could’ve been the MMA messiah if he would’ve said, “Hey I don’t care who I fight, I’ll be in Las Vegas on September 1st. It doesn’t matter who is across from, me he is getting an ass-whooping,” but he said no, I don’t want to fight. Think about all the other people that you’re hurting by turning down this fight. That’s just my opinion on it; this is a time where you have to be a company guy and step up for the company and yourself. You’re going to get paid, you just got signed by Nike, but they aren’t going to cut you a check when you’re not fighting.”
When asked what he would have done had he been in a similar situation, Pavelich gave a simple answer. He was still in shock that a fighter and his coach could turn down a fight in the first place. The reasoning behind his refusal to fight left Pavelich scratching his head.
“I get on an airplane and I go see him in person,” offered Pavelich. “I don’t text him, I don’t call him on the phone, I fly in and sit with him. We work something out where he does the fight and that’s just how it has to be. When I heard Jones & Jackson said it was short notice, I said it’s not short notice for them, its short notice for anyone he’s fighting. This is MMA and it’s insane, I can’t believe this has happened. I really feel sorry for the UFC because they don’t deserve this. It’s not a good thing for the sport at all.”
Last, but not least Pavelich discussed what other options the UFC had instead of canceling the entire card. With that being said he knows he isn’t privy to their day-to-day operations and made sure to tell us this was just his opinion. One thing is for sure according to Pavelich; White will never forget Jones and Jackson refusing to fight Sonnen. He also pointed out what a true fighter Anderson Silva is for stepping up to the plate on short notice.
“I think it’s hard for the UFC because of the amount of fight cards they are putting on,” Pavelich said. “It’s not that easy to pull guys off of other cards and move them around. But I would think that with the roster of fighters they have they could’ve come up with a suitable main event whether Jones was involved or not. I’m telling you right now, the relationship between Jones, Jackson and the UFC will never be the same again. These are wounds that don’t get repaired because it affects so many other people. I have to commend Silva for offering to fight any other light heavyweight and I agree with him not wanting to fight Jones because he didn’t have enough time to prepare.”