I got a chance to sit down and talk with Heat XC President and MFC Vice President Dave Pavelich and discuss a variety of topics. I want to warn everybody this is a really long read, so buckle in. Down the line Dave said he was going to be "the best promoter in the world." Going into this interview, I admittedly didn't know much about Dave Pavelich. After the interview I was really surprised and pleased about how well his demeanor andcharisma was. After talking with Dave a really like him and respect him, he is on his way to becoming a great promoter. MFC 25: Vindication will take place on May 7th at the Edmonton Expo Center. If you are not able to attend the event live, HD Net will be broadcasting the fights starting at 10 p.m. ET. The full card looks like this:
Thales Leites (16-3) vs. Jesse Taylor (14-5)
Ryan Jimmo (12-1) vs. Wilson Gouveia (12-7)
Emanuel Newton (12-6) vs. Dwayne Lewis (11-4)
Luigi Fioravanti (17-6) vs. Pete Spratt (20-17)
Richie Hightower (8-3) vs. Gavin Neil (8-1)
Chase Gormley (6-2) vs. Ryan Fortin (4-2)
Mike Froese (3-2) vs. Chad Freeman (3-3)
Aaron Berke (4-1) vs. Keto Allen (3-0)
EVeezy: For fans that are unaware of who you are and what you do, why don't you talk a little bit about yourself.
Pavelich: About myself? Yeah, I am the President of Heat XC, the Vice President of the MFC I have been in the MMA business since I was 12 years old. I'm turning 22 this summer. I do this everyday, this is what I love. This is my passion.
EVeezy: Talk about MFC: 25 Vindication which is right around the corner.
Pavelich: MFC: 25 Vindication takes place on May 7th at the Edmonton Expo Centre and it is the most unbelievable fight card we have ever put together. It has world class after card, it (MFC 25) is basically making history.
EVeezy: Talk about the main event between Thales Leites and Jesse Taylor.
Pavelich: The main event is Thales Leites, in my opinion one of the best 185'ers in the world. Leites is very well-rounded, he has got some of the best Jiu-Jitsu in the world. He has been working diligently on his hands and he has been throwing them, like against Nate Marquart. He has got huge wins over Nate Marquart and Ryan Jensen to name a few. Leites is facing off against a young kid by the name of Jesse Taylor (18-5). Kid has got skills, he has got great wrestling. He just beat UFC veteran Jason Day, he is on a tear right now and is looking to take a big step in his career and fight Leites.
EVeezy: Do you worry that this main event will be boring, like Leites last fight in the MFC with Dean Lister?
Pavelich: No, I'm not worried about that. He fought Dean Lister last time and the style of putting both guys together, more Jiu-Jitsu guys a little bit of wrestling guys. So I knew that wasn't going to be the most entertaining fight. Jesse Taylor has really great wrestling so he is going to be hard to takedown and he is going to push the fight. I see this fight going like Thales Leites vs. Nate Marquart. It's going to be a fight where bothguys stand and trade a little bit. Whomever has better wrestling is going to win this fight.
EVeezy: Another interesting fight on the card is Ryan Jimmo vs. Wilson Gouveia. Jimmo hasn't been the most entertaining fighter as of late and it seems like Gouveia will be a guy that will push him. What do you think about this fight?
Pavelich: That's the thing, in the Maximum Fighting Championship is getting so big now that guys like Wilson Gouveia are approaching us to fight. We didn't approach him, he approached us. Fighting at 205 and not at 185, he should be stronger, his gas tank should be better. He is such an entertaining fighter, he is so much fun to watch, he's got great hands, he's got a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu, but you can't even recall a fight when he has actually been on the ground. Like you said, Ryan Jimmo has been getting a lot of flack from the critics, but he is a smart intelligent fighter that is on a 12 fight wining streak. Can't knock the guy, he's beaten world champion Emmanuel Newton, he beat Marvin Eastman. He has been on a roll so, mentally Wilson Gouvieia is not going to make this fight boring. The winner of this fight gets a shot at the MFC Light heavyweight world title.
EVeezy: MFC has brought up fighters such as Jason MacDonald and Ryan Ford. Building Canadian stars, do you see Ryan Jimmo as one of those guys?
Pavelich: I do. Ryan Jimmo actually move here (Edmonton) from Halafax. He used to train out there with Titan MMA. He moved out here to be closer to the MFC, to be able to be a local star in Edmonton. He's a company man and he's a world class athlete. He's an intelligent fight who knows how to finish and he's the real deal man. This is his biggest test yet and we will see what he does with it.
EVeezy: As of late the MFC has been scooping up a lot of ex-UFC fighters and a lot of non-Canadian fighters. Do you see that as a problem?
Pavelich: No. We use all the Canadian fighters that are world class. We use all the Canadian fighters that are able to mix it up with anyone in the world. This is isn't a local promotion or a Canadian promotion. The MFC is a world class promotion. Picking up these guys from all over the place is just going to help us move to different locations. We are going to go put fights on in our stars biggest cities.
EVeezy: The UFC seems to be moving into Canada. They are doing the first show in Vancouver and are talking about doing a show next year in Ontario. What do you think about that?
Pavelich: Basically the UFC comes in once or twice a year. I think it's great, come to Canada it's a huge MMAfan base. I have no problem with it, it nothing to do with me. We are going to keep putting on shows and we are going to travel to the states and travel around Canada. We're basically a company that has been around for 11 years and nothing will be able to stop us. Step by step we are going to move along and become bigger. I don't see the UFC affecting us at all.
EVeezy: Is it frustrating at all seeing the UFC going into these Canadian markets that your company has not gotten to yet?
Pavelich: No, not at all. I don't see the UFC as competition to us now. We are two different brands of MMA. Almost like a Rolex next to a Brighton. We have some of the best fighters in the world, they have the best fighters in the world. They do their thing we do ours, I don't see a conflict with it. If anything they are just educating the people about MMA.
EVeezy: Talking about dealing withthe Athletic Commissions. Are they difficult to work with in Canada?
Pavelich: They are not difficult to work with, but a lot of the fees seem wrong. They always seem like they want more money. You know, more money for this less money for that. It's kind of hectic withthat, but for the most part they are very easy to deal with. If you keep your T's in order they are fine.
EVeezy:Your dad said that he wanted to break ground in Ontario and be the first promotion to do a show up there. Will we see the MFC in Ontario before the UFC or any other MMA promotion?
Pavelich: Yeah, we will be in Ontario before the UFC. We have a few venues tentatively booked for when we do go to Ontario. They are exclusive with us, as soon as Ontario opens up we will be the first show their. The UFC is just going to come into Ontario, like they do in Montreal, like they do in Vancouver and just come once a year. We care going to come to Ontario and do 10 shows throughout the whole Provence. We are going to be the big dog in Ontario, 100%.
EVeezy: You and your father were talking about moving past Canada and onto the states. What is your motivation behind that?
Pavelich: The motivation behind that is to get bigger as a brand. To expand the MFC to newer markets. The hard thing about putting on a show in the U.S. is that their economy is brutal. So we are moving at our own pace and we are not in a rush to do anything, so once we get there we get there. I have a passion for MMA. We have been doing this for 11 years, I am the only person in MMA that grew up in the business. I have been doing this since I was 12 years old. I basically don't know anything else but MMA. I enjoy the business side of MMA.
EVeezy: How important is it that MFC fighters are exciting?
Pavelich: It's very important! Nobody wants to see a boring Hockey game, a boring Football game, and nobody wants to see a boring fight. It's just the bases of life, people want entertainment and we are going to give them entertainment. So the more fighters that come out and finish fights whether it be by submissions, huge slams, knockouts, that's what we are looking for. The better the fighter, the better the fight, you will see.
EVeezy: Talk about Heat XC. What do you have planned this year?
Pavelich: Heat XC is probably the most interesting MMA organization out there. I have brought some of the biggest and baddest fighters from around Canada, that are 2-0 and 3-0 that are just hungry and want to throw-down. Fighters have broken noses and they fight through it. Heat XC is very entertaining and at every event you see a lot of action, whether it be on the ground or standing up. It's a great show and it's a great way for fighters to build themselves up to the MFC.
EVeezy: What is the most difficult aspect in promoting MMA?
Pavelich: Educating fans. That's the must frustrating part, we have such a stellar card at MFC 25 which is live fighting May 7th on Friday. We have guys like Thales Leites, Wilson Gouviea, Pete Spratt, Luigi Feorvonti, Richie Hightower, Emmanuel Newton. These guys are unbelievable world class athletes. They deserve the respect and they are not getting the respect like UFC fighters are, and they should be because they are the best in the world at their weight classes. These guys will throw down against anybody. Richie Hightower vs. Gavin Neil. In my opinion that is going to be fight of the night and nobody is giving that fight the respect it deserves and it is really starting to frustrate me. Hightower has been beating undefeated guys, getting knock outs on his way to the MFC. He is dropping to 155 pounds and he is going to be a straight beast at 155. Hightower is fighting Gavin Neil who we just re-signed and he is 8-1. He is the Canadian champion in a different MMA organization in Canada and we scooped him up because (pause) they don't know what they are doing out there. This fight is going to be unbelievable, they are going to sit there in the pocket and trade. They are not getting the respect they deserve because they are being overshadowed by such a stacked card on MFC 25 May 7th.
EVeezy: Have stacking your cards become a problem?
Pavelich: It is difficult to promote the whole fight card. That's why in Boxing you see one huge main event and the rest of the card you don't know who is fighting. That is because the promoters put all their energy into promoting the main event. They put all their eggs in one basket. That is the only problem with promoting a full fight card, some guys get overlooked.
EVeezy: Are you and the MFC heading to the Expo in Toronto?
Pavelich: I will be attending, it will be my first time so I am excited. I don't know if the MFC will have a booth up or not. It should be a good time.
EVeezy: What do you think of other promoters in Canada?
Pavelich: really don't have an opinion on other promoters in Canada. Most promoters in Canada don't respect MMA, they don't treat this as a full time job. They just think they can make quick money by putting on shows and that isn't the case. MMA is a hard business. You have to piss blood to be successful in it. I really don't have an opinion on them. I just don't respect them.
EVeezy: What makes the MFC the #2 organization in the world?
Pavelich: First of all our work ethic. We are not going to stop, we a family business we have been doing this for 11 years. We have been in this business as long as Dana White has been. It frustrates me that people, like this guy out in Quebec says they are the biggest promotion in Canada. If you can't put on 2 or three good shows and bring in somewhat big name fighters and call yourself the best. It takes a lot of hard work and practice to be successfull in the MMA industry. Our roster is by far the deepest roster, other than the UFC. Even Strikeforce, they have a few superstar fighters, but beyond that they have nobody. We have very deep weight classes and it is very hard for a fighter to become a MFC world champion. Once you do become that champion, it is recognized by the world of MMA.
EVeezy: What style of promoter do you think you portray, a promoter like Dana White and your father or a Scott Cokeror Bjorn Rebney?
Pavelich: Let's put it in Boxing perspective, who is or was the biggest promoter in Boxing? (Pauses) Don King. He brings in the most entertainment. He knows how to sell fights. Dana White he knows how to sell fights. Scott Coker is, or was a great promoter. I really don't like to talk about other promotions, everyone else has their own way of promoting fights. I just think it is important for a promoter to step into the spotlight, because most MMA fighters don't know how to sell fights. MMA fighters are not Boxers. MMA fighters need the help of me and my father to build them up.
EVeezy: That is an interesting point about boxers. In the Din Thomas vs Ricardo Mayorga press conference, you could see how much better Mayorga was at selling the fight.
Pavelich: Exactly. Everybody wants to respect everybody else in the MMA industry, and that's very honorable, but you still need to promote yourself. You can't always rely on your promoter to do it. MMA fighters need to realize, you need to promote yourself first. You need to know how to sell yourself, because if you don't know how to sell yourself your not going anywhere.
EVeezy: What are your personal goals as a growing MMA promoter?
Pavelich: I'm going to be the best man. (Laughs) I am going to be the best promoter the world of MMA has ever seen. I have been doing this since I was 12 years old. I have exprinced and seen the mistakes and success my dad and others have had promoting MMA. I am going to be the best promoter ever, I guarantee that.
EVeezy: Talk about the purpose of Heat XC.
Pavelich: We sat down and decided that since the MFCwasgetting so big it need a promotion that showcased the local talent. Some of the local fighters couldn't compete with the high-level of MMA in the MFC so we started up a feeder organisation that build up rising stars. We want to start developing our own stars, by raising them form 3, 4, 5 and 0. And treating them as world class athletes. As they gain success in Heat XC they will move on to the MFC and compete there. Another reason was we were tired of giving up ticket sellers to other MMA organisations in Edmonton. There are some Johnny come lately's here that try to put on a show every weekend and it is getting very annoying.
EVeezy: Any sponsors, anybody out there you would like to thank?
Pavelich: Man, we have so many I will leave them out. Check out Maximumfightingchampionship.com and click on the sponsor link.