MFC eyes show in Kingston

MIKE KOREEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:16 AM ET

KINGSTON, Ont. -- An Edmonton-based mixed martial arts organization is looking into staging a show at the K-Rock Centre in the fall.

Mark Pavelich, president/CEO of the 12-year-old Maximum Fighting Championship (MFC) and K-Rock Centre general manager Ken Noakes had a phone chat on Monday. Both men described the preliminary talks as positive with Pavelich adding he plans to visit the city in the next few weeks.

“There is a strong possibility we could be doing a show there,” Pavelich said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “We're very interested. I love the city.”

The MFC recently signed a new five-year television deal with HDNet, a cable network owned by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. The organization is looking for a venue to stage a televised show on Oct. 14. The K-Rock Centre does not have an event booked that day.

“Because (Pavelich) has proven to be able to successfully stage these events and he works with Mark Cuban, that gives him more credibility,” said Noakes. “That's what we're looking for.”

Pavelich is familiar with Kingston — he said he's been here about 20 times — through his work with an Ottawa-Gatineau-based entertainment company he ran prior to starting the MFC. He said he helped put on several events at Stages during that time.

“I've always had a great feeling walking around the city,” he said.

The Ontario government legalized MMA shows last year, allowing the sport's top promotion, the UFC, to stage a card attracting more than 50,000 people to Toronto's Rogers Centre earlier this year.

The MFC entered Ontario for the first time in April in Windsor, Pavelich's hometown. A jam-packed crowd of around 5,000 attended a show that earned positive reviews at Caesars Casino.

The first MMA card in Ontario, another non-UFC event, was held at Casino Rama near Orillia in March and brought in a sellout crowd of close to 5,000.

However, not all non-UFC cards have played to full houses in Ontario. A show at London's John Labatt Centre earlier this year was held in front of a crowd of just over 3,000, well below capacity.

“I think everyone would like to see UFC, but the reality is they are staging (major) arena and stadium shows,” Noakes said. “Mark has proven he is a guy who can make this happen. ... He'd like to have a successful event here and make it a regular (part of the MFC rotation).”

Indeed, Pavelich said he's interested in making Caesars Windsor, Casino Rama and the K-Rock Centre as his Ontario destinations. In a perfect world, he'd do two shows a year at each venue.

“We have the second-best roster in MMA, probably in the world,” Pavelich said. “We have major league guys in our organization. We'd also like at least two or three local guys (on a show). There are some high-level guys in Kingston (he mentioned Mike Martelle and Cory MacDonald, who has MFC experience as two top fighters). It would be mandatory to get (some local guys) on the show.”

While Martelle, the owner of the Grizzly Gym, has not talked to Pavelich, he said he'd love the opportunity to fight in a big card at home.

“I'd definitely be interested in working with those guys,” he said. “That's pretty exciting.”

Pavelich said he wants to come to Kingston to conduct face-to-face meetings with potential business partners and sponsors. With the fighter payroll for each show averaging $150,000, putting on an MMA night is not cheap for his family-run organization.

“We need as much financial support and corporate support as we can (generate),” Pavelich said.


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