Maurer mashes box office

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:31 AM ET

Mike Maurer has a proven track record in the Grey Cup, winning a championship ring in his only two trips to the CFL's biggest dance.

And now he has proven he can deliver at the box office.

In his first-ever professional bout, the Edmonton Eskimo fullback helped produce the most successful mixed-martial arts fight card in Edmonton history.

Maurer and Darren Apels battled in front of a sold-out house of 2,500 people at the Shaw Conference Centre last night, bringing almost $200,000 in ticket revenue.

And Mark Pavelich - the president of the Maximum Fighting Championships, the brand name for mixed-martial arts fighting in Edmonton - believes he turned away almost 1,000 patrons at the door yesterday.

But he never considered moving the event to a larger venue, like the AgriCom at Northlands Park.

"It's way more fan friendly (at the Shaw Conference Centre)," remarked Pavelich.

"It's crazy; there isn't a bad seat in the house.

"The AgriCom just always seemed too cold."

Pavelich hosted an MFC card at the AgriCom in the early days of his company near the turn of the decade and attracted 4,100 fans, but the better sightlines at the Shaw bring higher ticket prices.

The MFC IX card last night also garnered nearly $200,000 in sponsorship revenue, nearly double the financial total from MFC VIII last September.

It was that total that pushed the card to the most successful mark ever.

"This show is totally different (than past shows) because it's now totally corporately recognized and fully corporately sponsored," remarked Pavelich.

LATE HITS: Those people shut out at the door last night can still see Maurer's fight debut and the rest of the card through a taped-delay pay-per view broadcast next month - and Pavelich believes sales will take off."I think (Maurer) will bump up (sales) by a minimum 25%," he estimated.


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