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 MMARated.com. However, it was taken down soon after being posted. The good news is that TKOExtreme.com 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.