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MFC fight between Ryan Ford and Drew Fickett canceled

Remember the July 25 fight between Ryan Ford and Drew Fickett for the Maximum Fighting Championship welterweight title that played a small role in preventing a fight between Fickett and Jake Shields for the vacant EliteXC welterweight title from happening on July 26?

Sorry for the run-on sentence, but this situation has got my adrenaline flowing.

Well, now the Ford vs. Fickett fight is off, according to a post on the Underground Forum by Mark Pavelich, the owner and president of MFC.

“We were shocked to learn Drew agreed on one day’s notice to fight as a middleweight in another organization’s event this past Friday,” wrote Pavelich. “When I contacted this other organization, its owner immediately cancelled Drew’s fight when informed that he was under contract to fight on the MFC show and as part of Mr. Fickett’s contract he was not allowed to take another fight up to five weeks before the MFC show.

“When I learned of Drew’s intentions to take this fight, I repeatedly attempted to reach Drew’s manager to find out why. After numerous attempts to reach his manager went unreturned, I did leave a voice mail which has since been made public. I admit to being very upset, angry and frustrated not only by Drew’s action but also by not being able to reach his manager and the tone of that voice mail reflected my feelings.”

The “other organization” that Pavelich is referring to is Strikeforce. After a planned bout between Luke Stewart and Joe Riggs fell through after the California State Athletic Commission revealed that it wasn’t going to license Riggs in time for the fight, Strikeforce brought Fickett in as an opponent on short notice.

Fickett claimed that it was his understanding that as long as he didn’t accept a fight inside of four weeks of his scheduled bout with Ford that he was free to take the fight. Pavelich disagreed, indicating that he has a signed contract with Fickett that precludes him from accepting a fight five weeks before the scheduled title fight with Ford.

In regards to the voice mail, Pavelich left a threatening message on the phone of Bryan Hamper, Fickett’s manager. The audio of that message appeared briefly on However, it was taken down soon after being posted. The good news is that went to the trouble of transcribing the voice mail, which reportedly quoted Pavelich as saying the following:

“It’s Mark Pavelich calling from the Maximum Fighting Championship. I’ve just received notice that Drew Fickett or you, I don’t care which one of you fuckers did it, has signed a contract to fight in Strikeforce this fucking weekend. I’m going to get on a fucking plane soon and go where you’re at and choke you the fuck out. I’m telling you right now, I’ve had enough of your fucking shit. First of all, I’ve sent you the fucking pictures and secondly, I placed Drew Fickett in a fight fucking months ago and five weeks prior to my main event of my fucking fight card. You’re going to give me a fucking call tomorrow or I swear I’ll get on a fucking plane and go right where you’re at right now. You’re pissing me off, I’ve been nothing but professional to you motherfuckers and you’re doing this kind of bullshit, alright? Call me back, I’m fucking pissed.”

In Pavelich’s official statement, he apologized for the voice mail.

“Shortly afterwards I realized that I should have taken a deep breath and calmed down before leaving that message and I profusely apologized to Drew’s manager,” Pavelich stated. “I am not proud of that message but as the owner of a major fight organization I felt that I and my staff which works tirelessly to put on a first-class show were being treated very disrespectfully by Drew. If he had read his contract he would have realized he shouldn’t have taken the fight and he should not have attempted to get away with it.”

Apology aside, Pavelich is none too pleased that Fickett and his camp made the voice mail public. Despite all the free press that the Fickett vs. Ford fight received, the decision to leak the voice mail has apparently cost Fickett a scheduled pay day on July 25.

“Then for Drew to post the private voice mail – which was not left on his phone – was just ridiculous and petty,” Pavelich continued.

“This was the last straw in a series of unprofessional acts by Drew. He failed to send a promotional photo that we wanted to use for advertising the fight even after the MFC had sent him gloves and even went as far as being willing to book a photographer to take the pictures. He also failed to send any documents pertaining to his medicals, passport and border information.

“Drew even stated in an email after the posting of the voice mail that he was still willing to fight in the MFC. But after that he added that he would want to be paid after the weigh-in one day before the fight. There is no question in my mind that Drew would have stiffed us completely and run off with our money without fighting as some sort of warped payback for the MFC protecting its investment in him and doing everything in its power to not allow him to fight within the five-week period prior to July 25.

“We now completely understand why that despite his excellent record so many organizations will not work with Drew and we have a pretty clear indication why he has been banned by the UFC.

“Drew Fickett will never fight in the MFC. As evidenced by his latest actions Drew clearly does not want to fight Ryan Ford for the MFC title despite signing a contract to do so.”

I can understand Pavelich’s anger in regards to the situation. What Fickett attempted to do was irresponsible. But the operative word was “attempted.” Pavelich stepped in to prevent Fickett from violating his contract and now he doesn’t want to take advantage of all the free press he’s gotten for the Fickett vs. Ford fight? I’m sorry, but I never cared so much about an MFC fight in my entire life until this whole thing spilled out in public. I guess Pavelich doesn’t need money.

For Pavelich to suggest Fickett doesn’t want to fight Ford is laughable. Personally, I believe Fickett has a few screws loose. However, he’s a fighter’s fighter, as they say. I could be mistaken, but I really do believe he actually enjoys fighting. He’s trying to make money, no doubt, but he strikes me as the kind of dude who would fight for free. And while I don’t know Fickett well, I’ve always known him to be open to fighting anyone. I don’t think Drew Fickett is worried about Ryan Ford.

I can understand where Pavelich is coming from; he doesn’t want to do something that could benefit someone he feels has disrespected him. Perfectly understandable. However, this is the fight game. Fickett’s camp leaked a voice mail and didn’t send a promotional photo. Definitely not professional but it’s not like Fickett wished AIDS on anyone. I think this is a case of Mr. Pavelich cutting off his nose to spite his face.

  • rolltide says:

    Good read Sam. Absolutely right about Pavelich “cutting off his nose to spite his face”.

  • RK says:

    There was a tiny bit more to this story. In with some of all the bashing back and forth, Fickett apparently took two personal e-mails from Pavelich and posted them on the underground. The first one included his signature with phone numbers and e-mail address. The second was Pavelich’s response to doing so and documenting the amount of threats he had apparently received. Both can be found, here:

    Though you’re right there was way more build up for the fight than he could have gotten on his own. He claims to have no problems selling out the casino in Edmonton where they’re fighting, but I would imagine the TV audience would increase a little bit.

  • matt says:

    I just don’t see how Pavelich can talk about professionalism when he tried to act like a mini Dana White. That voice mail is ridiculous and the fact that he tried to say it’s Drew’s fault is amazing.

  • Jeremy says:

    Drew Fickett was banned from the UFC?

    Shouldn’t he be on Afflictions card then? Man they dropped the ball on that one big time.

  • Nick says:

    I see both sides of this, and I think I am kinda leaning towards Pavelich on this one. Fickett is a train wreck waiting to happen, and why not just cut your losses and move on without him. I know there is no such thing as bad publicity, but the combination of cutting a looney fighter loose and paying him back for releasing the audio of the voicemail makes this a sensible decision in my book. In the last 6 weeks Fickett has got himself in hot water with MFC, strikeforce, and elite. To top it off the UFC won’t touch him with a 10 ft poll. Drew better be careful, he is running out of promotions.

  • Two Toes says:

    “I think this is a case of Mr. Pavelich cutting off his nose to spite his face.”

    I completely disagree with this. Fickett wanted to be paid before the match happened and made overtures about taking the money and not fighting out of spite. He also said he would throw the belt in the garbage if he won. Why would you want such a person fighting in your organization? Pavelich had no idea what was going to happen if he let Fickett fight Ford on the 26th. Why even bother taking a chance that Drew would do something completely insane?

  • Sam Caplan says:

    Two Toes:

    Can you send a link to where Fickett said he would throw the belt in the trash and also take the money and run?

  • DPK says:

    And people wonder why UFC won’t sign its fighters to non-exclusive contracts.

  • Not to mention that Luke trained his ass off for this fight and he was in the middle of just some BS from the start. What a circus.

  • ACK! says:

    I’m with Two Toes here. I think Fickett is somehow more concerned with getting back at the MFC than fighting a good, fair fight.

  • HexRei says:

    I didn’t know Fickett was banned from the UFC, I thought he was banned from Abu Dhabi.

  • Grape Knee High says:

    As unprofessional as that voicemail was — and who among us has not left a voicemail we later regretted? — I believe Pavelich did the right thing. His primary goal has to be to protect his promotion for the long-term, not to necessarily cash in on a short-term mini-scandal.

    If Fickett is crazy enough to air dirty laundry in public the way he did, given that he was completely, utterly in the wrong, why would you want him associated with your promotion in any way whatsoever? Someone stupid like Fickett can only bring your organization down.

  • Nick says:

    #11…..Big Radar from MASH fan I take it?

  • Sergio G. Hernandez says:

    “His primary goal has to be to protect his promotion for the long-term, not to necessarily cash in on a short-term mini-scandal.”

    Exactly. What’s the point of continuing to do business with someone who has already screwed you, or ATTEMPTED to screw you?

    In three months, no one will remember this ever happened.

  • Two Toes says:

    “Can you send a link to where Fickett said he would throw the belt in the trash and also take the money and run?”

    It was posted by Fickett on one of his initials threads he made on the UG. It was the one where he posted all of Pavelich’s private info but it has since been edited. So no, I can’t provide a link anymore 😉

    I was just listening to Tagg Radio and Trigg threw Fickett under the bus pretty hard. He said Fickett has a history of taking cash up front then bailing on the promotion. Trigg seems like a pretty good source, no??

  • Actually, when Trigg says something, I usually believe the opposite.

  • Drew says:

    ^^^^ Exactly…. Trigg talks out the side of his neck a lot

  • banter says:

    PRIDE isn’t for sale!!!

  • hbdale309 says:

    Trigg actually sits in the dark and spouts ectoplasm out of his ear that creates a voice box, and this is how he speaks.

    I actually heard Pav’s voicemail on one of those UG threads, and it was 10 times worse actually hearing it in comparison to reading the transcript. It’s tough not to side w/ Drew on this one.

  • DougDrex says:

    I think if I were in Pavelich’s shoes, I might have a similar reaction (minus the profanity). Drew should never have taken something like that public (in my opinion).

    While both parties certainly made mistakes, I place the majority of the blame on Fickett’s shoulders.

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    Don’t know who’s right and who’s wrong, but it makes Dana look a lot more professional by comparison. Or should I say a lot more f—ing professional, motherf—er.

  • fightfan says:

    Sam Caplan……..

    I just want to know why Drew was “BANNED” from the UFC. And if that is so, why hasnt he been picked up for the AFFLICTION card. Makes sense, if that is the case.

  • Bob says:

    I really dig this site, this was a great article, I’m here everyday keep it up, and thank you. Hows that for comma splicing.

    I live in Edmonton and have rarely missed an MFC show. They are excellent, and have helped to developed some real MMA talent (Jason McDonald, Victor Valimaki, Jason Day, and now Ryan Ford, some super talent is to come in the future also.) I will continue to support the MFC, and will pony up the dough to see there shows, it is only a matter of time before we see Ford, and other MFC fighters in a big show like the UFC.

    What Drew did sucks, and it screws over a large population of dedicated MMA fans. I would argue that second to Montreal Edmonton is Canada’s MMA scene.

    That said… Mark Pavalich is a prick! Even the fighters on his shows say it openly. Everyone in Edmoton knows he is a megalomaniac. He is a dick that puts his arm around whoever wins, and throws the loser under the bus, even if it’s his guy. He trashed Victor Valimaki on the MFC site after his loss. Nice way to support your boy Mark. I lump him in with the pile of shit that includes most fight promoters. (Gross generalizations make for better reading don’t you think?) Is that part of the game? Ego, bluster, fake smile, and low ethics, Don King wannabes. I think this situation exposes both Drew and Mark for who they really are… Assholes.

    Keep up the good work Mark, I will still be attendingMFC15 on July 25. I am the chubby white dude in a black TapouT shirt sitting in the middle section G row 12 drinking diet Pepsi. Come by and say hi if your not to busy.



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