Mark Pavelich, founder and CEO of Canadian-based MMA organization Maximum Fighting Championship, spoke with BJPenn.com Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio Sunday night to talk about the organization’s success and its upcoming event this Friday night.
Founded in 2001, MFC has grown to be the premier fight organization in Canada and one of the top brands worldwide. This Friday night, the organization will be putting on MFC 37- a card that promises to be one exciting night of fights.
Pavelich said about the card and the hype surrounding the fighters, “We’re going to know May 10, right? We’re going to know May 10 if it’s true or not. We’re… going to know if [Smealinho] Rama, at the age of 21, and no one’s been out of the first round with him, if he’s the real McCoy or not come May 10. There’s not going to be any discrepancy, that’s what I like. We need a definitive answer to all these questions. We need definitive answers to Mukai Maromo, after him going on this gigantic run in 2012, turns around and then chokes in the title fight against Graham Spencer. Now you gotta think he’s sleeping tonight thinking to himself, all the questions going through his mind. Then Jay Silva returning to the MFC after his performance getting whacked in his debut in the Maximum Fighting Championship. You gotta think he’s sitting there going, ‘Jesus, I got to pick up my game, man, because I am really good.’ Or how [a]bout Luke Harris, questions going through his head wondering about, man he was on such a roll then he goes against Leonidas [Joseph Henle], and Leonidas puts the smack on him. Boom! He’s been out for a while now. But that’s what I’m trying to tell you. We got a lot of people that have to face a lot of questions come May 10, and they’re going to have to be answered that same night.”
Main event of the card will feature aforementioned Smealinho Rama (6-0), undefeated heavyweight phenom, taking on MFC newcomer, Chris Barnett (7-1), for a vacant heavyweight title.
Barnett, who also spoke on Sunday’s episode of Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio, is a quick heavyweight fighter who will certainly test the 21-year old Rama.
Pavelich said of Barnett’s tough debut fight, “I know how good this guy is, and… I expect great things from him. So not alone are you getting a warm-up fight, you’re fighting a guy of Mr. Rama’s caliber, who no one [has] gotten out of the first round with yet. Welcome to the MFC, homie!”
Co-main event of the night will be a middleweight fight between former UFC fighter, Jay Silva, and Sam “Smilin’” Alvey. Silva (8-7) is coming off a first-round TKO loss in his debut for MFC. Pavelich was ringside for the fight, said of Silva’s performance, “He was out. I prefer if the referee would let him fall on the ground, right? Then there’s not controversy. That’s my personal opinion, let him fall on the ground then. It was funny because I was sitting right at ringside, and the referee was like, ‘The fight’s over,’ and [Silva] was like, ‘Where am I? Where am I?’ OK, the fight’s over man.”
Sam Alvey (19-5) is also coming off a loss at MFC 36, but he fought a tough 5-round burner against MFC champion Elvis Mutapcic. Pavelich recalled the fight with excitement.
“When you see Sam Alvey, people are like, ‘Oh Elvis [Mutapcic] is gonna kill him, he’s gonna knock him out in the first round.’ I told everybody, that’s not gonna happen. Trust me, Alvey’s never been knocked out. This guy stood toe-to-toe for 5 rounds with Elvis. I mean, come on, man! It’s a sign of the times, man, people don’t understand you’re dealing with a whole different beast when you come to the Maximum Fighting Championship. People aren’t worried here about losing, they’re worried about not performing… Alvey got so many fans from that fight, and he lost! It’s like, how can you crucify a guy that puts his guts out there and loses a fight? I mean, I can’t. I praise him, you know, because he’s that kind of guy. He’s the kind of guy, too, he has that experience in that situation, I would hate to fight him May 10, if [that] was me, because you know what’s gonna happen, he’s not gonna lay down. You’re gonna have to kill the guy to beat him, he’s not gonna tap out, he’s never been knocked out. I mean Elvis hit him with the kitchen sink, I mean mouthpiece is flying out, chiclets flying out of his mouth, everything right? And the kid kept coming forward and coming forward, and… to me that is the epitome of mixed martial arts. I just love having guys like that in my organization.”
About the fight in general, Pavelich has high expectations. He explained, “It might be the fight of the night. You know, the two of them, that’s something… Mukai Maromo and Kurt Southern could easily be fight of the night, but Alvey and Silva definitely could easily be the fight of the night.”
Another main card fight that is bound to bring excitement is a bantamweight match-up between Ryan Benoit (6-1) and Anthony Birchak (9-1).
“This Benoit kid is off the charts,” said Pavelich. “You know, he’s a little bit loose in the melon, but he’s got a full game. He’s got tons of game. Listen, I’m telling you right now, Birchak’s in the toughest fight of his life- it’s coming up, and he knows it too. One thing about Birchak is, he realizes what’s about to take place here. He realizes the situation I put him in. Hey man, he can paint his own future right now: he wins this fight, whoever wins this fight in impressive fashion on May 10 is getting a title shot at 135 at the next MFC. So let’s put some more coal on the fire. Let’s make it more exciting. I’m calling you both out. I’m calling Birchak and Benoit both out, and I’m telling them, please don’t turn this into a point-karate tournament like the rest of the 135 division guys in MMA. Because it looks like that- they all move around a lot, they all move their head a lot, but no one breaks an egg. These two guys, they’re a lot different from that.”
Another interesting match-up is Kurt Southern (11-4) facing Mukai Maromo (8-3). Both fighters are coming off recent losses, a point that Pavelich says will make the two lightweights bring it all to the cage on Friday.
“I think it was some form of adrenaline dump,” Pavelich said of Maromo’s last performance, “because it made no sense to me, he looked real flat. He almost got knocked out at the end of the second round by Graham Spencer, which Mukai’s muay thai is one of the best in mixed martial arts, and he almost got knocked out in the fight standing up, and I was like, ‘Wow, there’s something not right here.’ Even Spencer will attest to that. He just threw it out there, and he was just so tired and so drained that he couldn’t even block it. It’s like, well, I hope for his training camp that he stayed in town doing his training camp, and I hope for his sake, like I said, lots of questions to be [answered]. I mean his athleticism is insane, his striking power is insane. But I saw [Kurt] Southern’s last fight too against [Jonatas] Novaes, and he was killing him for 2 1/2 rounds, but he ended up getting submitted by a world Brazilian Jiu Jitsu champion. You know, Southern’s beat Mukai Maromo before too, but this is a real pivotal fight for both their careers, no question.”
Pavelich, who is known for his passionate promotion of his company and the sport of MMA, wasted no time in promoting Friday’s event.
“Tune in, everybody! The most electrifying fight card in the history of the Maximum Fighting Championship going down May 10 at the Shaw Conference Center. Still some tickets available, you can go to ticketmaster.ca, and of course watch it on AXS TV, your home for MMA. And don’t forget, everybody, the title fight will be epic; it will be beyond epic. I guarantee somebody will be going to sleep in that fight 1000%. I guarantee that most of the fights on the main card will not go to the score cards, and tune into our website at maximumfighting.com, you can go to our Twitter page @MaximumFighting, you can also go to my personal page @MarkPavelich, and I’d like to thank my lovely wife of 26 years for always standing by and pointing us in the right direction making us the number one MMA organization in Canada and one of the top 3 in the world.”
Be sure to check out the second part to this interview and hear Pavelich talk about what makes Maximum Fighting Championship the most exciting organization in MMA.
You can hear the full episode of Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio here or in the player below.
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