Part II: MFC Promoter Mark Pavelich Says He Has Lots of Wise Advice For Promoters, But They Seldom Listen
By Bryan Levick
Last weekend in Edmonton, Maximum Fighting Championships held MFC 38: Behind Enemy Lines. The card featured three title bouts and an intense rematch between light weights Kurt Southern and Jonatas Novaes. All three title fights ended in finishes and has their fair share of exciting moments. President Mark Pavelich and his MFC family have been on quite the roll and will look to use last night’s event as a springboard into bigger and better things.
Pavelich is known for speaking his mind in the same fashion UFC President Dana White does. What some people don’t understand is a lot of what Pavelich says comes straight from the heart. What frustrates Pavelich the most is the fact that he is willing to give free advice, yet no one wants to take it. Many of these smaller promotions make the same mistakes over and over again and fail to realize all of the little things that go into building a successful MMA promotion.
“What’s the point anymore when they don’t listen to it?,” Pavelich told Alchemist Radio. “I give them the blueprint times 10 and they don’t listen. I tell guys stop talking to fighters and managers, talk to corporate sponsors. Not to say you can’t respect the managers and agents because you have to. At the same time you have to get on the phone and talk to corporate sponsors. I tell every promoter if you’re not on any form of live anything you need to get on something. These are just little things I am telling people, but they don’t do it.”
“No one knows how to add in mixed martial arts. There was another show in Canada that just went out of business last week and the guy who owned that show had actually won the lottery. If you don’t know what you’re doing you’re going to lose your money fast, but they want to be sexy and get in the MMA business. They want to walk around and talk to the ring card girls. Well that just cost you around a few million dollars!”
Pavelich is very quick to point out that the guys who are unsuccessful are the guys who get into this business for all of the wrong reasons. There is no denying how much he loves mixed martial arts, but he’ll tell you right off the bat that he is in this to make money and take care of his family. Ever since he was a kid he’s always been a hustler.
“When I was a kid I was always hustling,” Pavelich said. “I was always legit too; when everyone else was being drug dealers I never did any of that. When I was in high school I was making more money than my teachers. I was putting on boat trip and I’d put a DJ on the boat, charge everyone $20 a ticket and I’d get 500 people on it. When everyone else was out painting fences for summer jobs I was putting on parties. I was always having fun, but making money at the same time.”
As the MFC has become more successful and his family has gotten more involved Pavelich has also allowed himself to become more of a fan. He no longer is high strung come fight night, these days he can sit in his seat in the front row and take the fights in as an actual fan. Having his son Dave and wife Manon working by his side has not only brought them closer, but it truly has given him a lot of relief.
“I watch the fight now, I never use to watch the fight before,” admitted Pavelich. “I used to be behind the scenes, but now I have people who are doing that for me. My son takes a big chunk of responsibility on fight night and I get to actually watch the fights. I’m a romantic, I’m a nerd, I like to watch the prelims and I like to watch the kid who is 3-0 and fighting on the MFC prelims for the first time.”
“As long as everyone knows their role and don’t cross over into other peoples roles then usually there are no problems. We’ll jump over into each other’s roles if they ask for help, but if you don’t ask for help we’re not giving it. My wife runs the whole ticket network for the MFC with Ticketmaster. So when people call me from the NHL and ask me for comp tickets I tell them I don’t have any free tickets. That’s my wife’s department. She deals with Ticketmaster and she deals with the floor plans.”
“Production wise my son deals with all of the production. I don’t even sit in a production meeting ever. I ask people if they want coffee! That’s what I do at my own production meetings. I don’t know what’s going on there, I don’t know light schemes, I don’t know any of that stuff. I know how to put a lot of people in a room that’s what I’m good at.”
This past week the MFC and The Fight Network announced they had come to terms on a three year deal that will allow The Fight Network to show the MFC’s complete archive of fight cards. The Fight Network will also show all future cards on a two week tape delay. This is an historic deal for Pavelich and the MFC. He was extremely proud to talk about what it meant to him and his organization.
“You’ll see Ben Henderson Paul Daley, Jason McDonald, Patrick Cote, Thales Leites, Dan “The Beast” Severn,” said Pavelich. “I’m going way back! Pete Spratt, Marcus Davis, its crazy, but I forget sometimes when people tell me they fought on my show. I’m like when; I couldn’t even remember I was so embarrassed! I’m so excited to be on the Fight Network. I’m finally with people who understand the madness of this business and who can really get behind what we are doing. I can’t wait, it’s going to start after this next show and I’m a big Fight Network fan now.”
To listen to the full interview click here