Maximum Fighting Championship has been the leading MMA promotion in Canada for more than a decade and shows no signs of slowing down the pace. Watching other companies come and go has become a pastime of president, Mark Pavelich, whose family based operation is not only a staple in Canada, but has a thriving television deal (renewed again for AXS TV for 2014), making his brand available to a large portion of cable subscribers across the globe.
When former MFC Middleweight champion, Elvis Mutapcic detailed a stipulation in his contract that stated he had to return the belt should he leave the promotion, many were left wondering why the belt was written into the contract. He decided that he had done more than enough to earn the right to keep the belt, and at present, has yet to return it.
In a recent interview with MMA Sentinel, Pavelich, who is no stranger to controversy and definitely not one to shy away from it, discussed the reasoning behind his policy of keeping title belts within the company, and has declared that he will not rest until the MFC Middleweight belt is returned. In a time when keeping finances in order can make or break a company, he has perfected the art of getting the most bang for his organization's buck, and runs a tight, smooth sailing ship that has been around for 14 years. Here's what he had to say:
The Fellowship Of The Belt
The Maximum Fighting Championship doesn't get our belts made at Toys R Us, so these belts are very expensive. It's like the Stanley Cup; there's only one. It's like the World Series trophy; there's only one. Our belts are very expensive. The funny part is that it's been like that for 14 years. There's no secret about it.
All of the sudden, Elvis decides that he's going to make an issue because no one is paying attention to that organization he's fighting for. Nobody is talking about him now. When he was with us, everybody was talking about him. He signed a contract that states that he doesn't get to keep the belt. If he vacates the title, signs with another organization, retires, that's okay, it's his prerogative to do that, but he doesn't get to keep our belt. He doesn't get to walk away with it. It's always been this way, so I don't understand what the big surprise is to everybody.
That's one thing our family takes extremely seriously. People don't fight for the MFC belt for no reason. We've always been that organization that's prided ourselves so religiously about our belt, and who fights for it, and the process of keeping it. We made that decision a long time ago. We feel that if you win the title, that's your belt as long as you're the champ. We don't make up Toys R Us replica belts like other companies do. We have that one belt and it's very expensive.
It's not just the financial part, it's the mentality behind it. It's always been this way, but Elvis has decided that he's going to be the person to rebel against it. MMA karma kicked in for him though, because he lost. That usually happens with our family. I could show you a list of guys that wronged us, then got it back in spades, without me doing anything. MMA karma is a real thing.
The Quest To Reclaim The Precious
Right now, he unlawfully has the belt. He's probably got it in his home somewhere in the United States. He's holding it for ransom. We've notified his management and sent the documentation that he signed. I will never let it rest. If I have to hire American bounty hunters to get it back, I will. I will be 100 years old and wanting that belt back. My relentlessness and ruthlessness going into 2014 is on a whole other level, and I will pay bounty hunters to search for that belt and bring it back to where it belongs, in the MFC.
He thinks he's keeping that belt, but we will go to all ends of the world to return that belt back to its rightful place. He's being defiant because his life isn't going exactly to plan after thinking that the grass is greener on the other side. Now, he's found that the grass is not greener, and he's being bitter about it. That's his prerogative to be bitter, just like it's mine to be relentless and ruthless to get it back. If it takes me bringing in some Seal Team Six, war paint type of guys, so be it; I will be happy to go down that path.
Taking legal action is boring to me. I presented his management with the documentation. It's not like we're doing anything dishonest, because we're not. For me, it's like sport. I won't ever let it go away. His manager will be called on a profuse basis. I'll hire people to stay up all night long to call his management.
To Forge Or Not To Forge (Another Belt)
You know the people I feel bad for? The people at 185, and our 185 pound division is awesome. Those guys are probably wondering when that title is going to become vacant, but that would defeat everything that our family stands for. If we decided to just go make up another belt, it won't mean anything. They do mean something to us.
Everything here is about tradition and longevity and protocol. Our organization has always been run like that. Sometimes I joke around, and I sound nutty, but when it really comes down to it, tradition and protocol has been our foundation for 14 years. I've seen so many of these promotions come and go, because they try to do short cuts. We have always dotted our i's and crossed our t's. We run our business with integrity. That's the way it's supposed to be.
Maximum Fighting Championship will have another live event, MFC 39 No Remorse, on January 17th from Edmonton Alberta, Canada.
You can follow Mark via his Twitter account, @MarkPavelich