Maximum overdrive

JOSE RODRIGUEZ

, Last Updated: 10:01 AM ET

Mark Pavelich figured he had a winner on his hands from Day 1.

On a blistering cold November night, Pavelich turned hundreds away at the door of the West Edmonton Mall nightclub, where his Maximum Fighting Championship was about to hold its first event.

Seven years and 21 cards later, Pavelich's MFC is arguably Canada's biggest fight club, hosting 12 straight sold-out shows and grooming fighters who have gone on to UFC glory.

"There were some interesting bumps along the way, but we have grown and grown and now we have fighters from Costa Rica, England, all over the U.S. and Canada," says the MFC president.

The plan now is to go global.

The Edmonton-based fight club has an enviable broadcast deal through U.S. billionaire Mark Cuban's high-definition network.

"The HDNet deal is very important," says Pavelich. "It shows the rest of North America what we're all about. It changed us from being a very good regional promotion to being internationally recognized. Our target now is strategically selected markets in the U.S., beginning in the spring of 2009."

Pavelich says the growing exposure has the potential to make his fight club the second-biggest on the planet -- the same way the Spike TV deal catapulted the UFC.

"We believe we are going to be the No. 2 organization in the near future and we're going to coincide with the UFC," says Pavelich.

He's learned a lesson from EliteXC, which took on the UFC and perished.

WON'T 'SPOUT OFF'

"We're not going to be silly like other organizations and spout off about taking them down or we're going to be No. 1," says Pavelich. "(The UFC is) a great organization which we aspire to be like. Me and (UFC boss) Dana (White) aren't ever going to go play golf together, but we have a very cordial relationship."

Albertans Jason MacDonald and Jason Day have made the jump from the MFC to the UFC and Pavelich says he has a stable of fighters who are talented enough to do the same.

"There's Ryan Ford and Roger Hollett, John Alessio, Paul Daley, Derrick Noble and Antonio McKee.

"One of the most talented guys we've had in the past is Adam Braidwood, the Edmonton Eskimos football player. If he ever gave up this football thing, he would be an instant star."

Pavelich says honesty and hard work are keys to success.

"We were the top show in Canada by far long before (Quebec-based) TKO stopped breathing," says Pavelich of the fight club that groomed Georges St. Pierre.

"When you're on international TV and you're selling your VIP seats at $600 each and they are sold out in an hour, that tells me you're No. 1. A lot of shows -- TKO included -- inflate their attendance numbers and give away piles of tickets. We don't -- it's that simple."

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IN THIS CORNER

ROGER "HULK" HOLLETT, MIXED MARTIAL ARTS

Part of a growing breed of tough young Canadians climbing their way up the ranks. Away from the ring, Hollett is described as humble -- almost passive. But when the bell rings, the former boxer --who didn't take an interest in jiu-jitsu or MMA until he was 19 -- turns into a monster. None of his fights have gone past the first round and the Halifax light-heavyweight -- and MFC title-holder -- holds a notable win over former UFC scrapper Victor Valimaki.

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ON THE CARD

FUTURE FIGHTS AND EVENTS

- UFC Fight Night 16: Fight for the Troops goes Dec. 10 from Fayetteville, N.C., at Fort Bragg Military Base. Main events feature Josh Koscheck taking on Yoshiyuki Yoshida and Jonathan Goulet vs. Mike Swick. Free on Spike.

- TNA's Final Resolution pay-per-view goes tomorrow, at 8 p.m. The main event is Sting, Booker T, Nash and Scott Steiner vs. Samoa Joe, AJ Styles and Team 3D. Rhino takes on Kurt Angle with Mick Foley as the special enforcer.


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