Ryan Ford, a top welterweight in Canada, is in discussions to sign with Aggression MMA. The announcement was made today following a press release from Maximum Fighting Championship (MFC), where Ford was accused of painting MFC owner Mark Pavelich as a racist. MMAFA.tv spoke with Pavelich just two days before the statement was released and Pavelich denied that there was any dispute going on at the time. MMAFA.tv learned today from sources close to the fighter that Ford is pursuing legal action against the MFC for allegedly refusing to pay him a percentage of ticket sales he did for the promotion. Ford claims he sold more than $21,000 in tickets for MFC 27 and is owed $2,695 per a percentage clause contained in his contract.
Speaking to Mark Pavelich, one would believe that Ford is out to lunch and not capable of making rational decisions regarding his career. Responding to such remarks, Ford claims that if anyone is to be deemed crazy in the matter it is Pavelich.
“He says I’m the one who is crazy? Well that is because I’m not living in his little world. I’m living in the real world. He’s just being Mark Pavelich: the weirdo, bipolar, schizophrenic… you name it. The reason I signed on my manager and my agent in the first place was because Pavelich was taking advantage of me. He was trying to be my friend and be my promoter at the same time. At the beginning of my career he was my manager and up until my eighth fight he had only gotten me one sponsorship deal. He took all of the other sponsorships for himself.”
Pavelich also painted the relationship between himself and Ford as amicable. Yet if you ask Ford, it couldn’t be any more different. Ford claims their relationship ended when he re-signed with MFC in July of 2010. Ford describes his current relationship with Pavelich as comparable to Tito Ortiz’s relationship with Dana White.
“There is no real friendship. I fought for his promotion so obviously I had to see him and appear friendly, but it’s a business relationship. He was the one who tried to pretend I was a friendship.”
When MFC re-signed Ryan Ford to the promotion in 2010, Pavelich released a video blog where he was visibly excited about the deal. This led many to believe that no hard feelings were shared between himself and Ford. Ford states:
“It’s funny. You look at that video blog and you see Mark Pavelich so happy that he signed me again, but the reason why he was so happy about the re-signing is because I left a different organization to come to him. He was happy because he got me away from a competing organization that was making money.”
Sources close to the legal dispute between Pavelich and Ford confirmed that Pavelich is not only refusing to pay the money Ford is allegedly owed, but he claims Ford is the one who owes him money.
“I owe him money? For what? He is the promoter and I am the fighter. I don’t pay him; he pays me. People don’t understand that I know Mark Pavelich, but I know him. We had a close relationship at one point and I was at his house all of the time. And yeah, he’s crazy. The guy is crazy.”
It would appear that Ford’s case is a unique one. Not only does Ford have a history with Pavelich, but he also lives in Edmonton and was incentivized to sell tickets for the promotion. Most fighters come to simply fight for the MFC and collect a purse. With the large influence Ford has in the area, he was able to sell more than $20,000 worth of tickets for a single event.
“Watch on February 25th, and look at the crowds. It is funny how they stopped selling their tickets with ticketmaster and now they just sell the tickets themselves. If you look at the crowd I guarantee you, unless he comped a bunch of tickets, it will not be as packed as it is when I fight there. I helped him build his brand in Edmonton, and that’s where he does his shows.”
Ford also claims that an unavoidable problem in his dealings with Pavelich was the promoter’s pride. Ford was also perturbed by Pavelich’s statements following his release from the promotion.
“Before I left MFC, he said I was the best athlete in the world. He said I was the guy to beat Georges St. Pierre. As soon as I left him he said, ‘Ryan Ford ain’t going to be sh--.’ His problem is that he has way too much pride. Guys who are successful in the business are able to put their pride down at times, but Pavelich can’t.
“He says he is the third best promotion in the world, but he only gets 1,200 people to come to his venues. You drive two hours away from here and you can find mixed martial arts shows that have 3,000 people in attendance. The only reason he thinks he is better is because he has a deal with HDNet and picks up fighters who were let go by the UFC. His head is stuck so far up his a-- that he can’t see that.”
Although Ford claimed once before that he would never fight for the MFC before re-signing in mid-2010, it appears as though he means it this time. If Ford were to impart words of wisdom on those who are either currently signed by or in the process or working with the MFC, it would be the following:
“Watch your back, period. Make sure you have an agent and someone looking after you. Don’t trust Pavelich as far as you can throw him… well, most people could probably throw him pretty far.”