Friday, January 21, 2011

Here we go again: Mark Pavelich and Ryan Ford Beefin' Again

"What's beef? Beef is when you make your enemies start your Jeep
Beef is when you roll no less than thirty deep
Beef is when I see you
Guaranteed to be in ICU, check it..."
                                   -Notorious B.I.G., "What's Beef?"

Even Biggie, in his craftiest form of lyricism, would have a difficult time producing the right words to describe latest conflict between MFC owner/president Mark Pavelich and welterweight fighter Ryan Ford. The two are at it again, and like the last time, it's all about the Benjamins (I think). What we do know is there's a contract dispute at hand. There's been talk of racism at the hands of Pavelich, a claim that Ford has denied. Then, to top it all off, Ford is jumping ship to join a newly expanded Aggression MMA. The move was announced earlier today at an Aggression press conference. Aggression recently acquired The Fight Club, the promotion that Ford competed for during his last hiatus from the MFC.

Ryan Ford is currently 13-3. In his last outing he defeated journeyman Pet Spratt via submission. Ford is expected to make his Aggression debut at the next event on March 11. An opponent has yet to be announced.

For now, peep the transactions below for more Pav-Ford beefness:

Mark Pavelich statement on Ryan Ford Contract Dispute:

Over the past several weeks, it came to my attention that Ryan Ford, a fighter under contract to the Maximum Fighting Championship and Pavelich Sports Inc., was dissatisfied with his contract and wished to leave my organization.

Through repeated conversations between myself, his agent Steve Gavin, and our respective lawyers, Mr. Ford was left with three options:

1) Complete his contract which has two fights remaining
2) Do not compete and let his contract run out at the end of September 2011
3) Buy out his contract or have another organization buy it out for him

The Maximum Fighting Championship and its legal representation have received no letters, emails, phone calls or communication of any kind in any attempt to solve this matter.

The Maximum Fighting Championship received information on Jan. 20, 2011 that Mr. Ford’s agent had sent out text messages alleging that Mr. Ford is being discriminated against racially.

For Mr. Ford and Mr. Gavin to allegedly claim racism is completely baseless, preposterous and nothing more than an attempt to induce his way out of a legal contract. He was brought back into the MFC’s employ in all good faith, and any claim of discrimination or racism is clear defamation and slander. The MFC has a great deal of cultural diversity amongst its fighters including African-Americans, Native Americans (First Nations), Asians, and South Americans.

Mr. Ford’s mixed martial arts career was started in the MFC when my organization gave him a chance to put his life back together following a troubling time that included incarceration. He previously left the MFC over a contract dispute and then returned by signing a new four-fight deal in 2010. Mr. Ford was offered three different opponents for a fight on the MFC 28 card and his management turned down all of them.

As part of his contract, there is an arbitration clause that can be utilized, so if Mr. Ford wants to go in that direction to find a buy-out price we will oblige. However, he will NOT be allowed to just walk away from his contract for free.

Pat Reid of the Edmonton Combative Sports Commission was notified recently that Mr. Ford remains under contract with the MFC and that he should not be allowed to participate as an MMA fighter in any other promotion until the matter is resolved.

The MFC has stood beside Ryan Ford through many difficult times, and as a matter of record I was the only person to stand up and speak for him at a probation hearing. Ryan left the MFC before and even after the animosity of that departure, matters were patched up and he came back in 2010. The MFC gave him a second chance to come back to our organization. For unexplained reasons he does not want to be part of our organization.

I look forward to resolving this issue via arbitration in a fair and timely fashion.

Mark Pavelich, Owner/President
Maximum Fighting Championship

Based on this statement from the MFC, it appears that Ford will leave the MFC despite having two more fights on a contract that expires in September of 2011. The statement also mentions that Ford will attempt to get out of his contract by using racism as an out.

According to Scott Zerr, MFC’s Director of Media and Fighter Relations, Ford was offered numerous fights for the MFC 28 card. Zerr states, “Mr. Ford was offered several fights for MFC 28 and his management turned down all of them.”

It appears that the Edmonton Commission will not come between the two fighters. Pat Reid, Executive Director of the ECSC, states that “the ECSC does not get involved with contract disputes between promoters and fighters. Their “for service” contracts are between the two parties.”

Harvey Panesar, President of Aggression MMA, would not comment for the story, however Aggression will be holding a press conference this afternoon. Look for further news on this topic, including comments from Ryan Ford, on Top MMA News from the conference later today. Ford has had contract issues with the MFC before and one hopes Ford does not throw out wild and wreckless claims of racial discrimination just to break a contract. Although this site has many names it could call Mr. Pavelich, being a racist is not one of them.

Ford Counters Pav in this interview:

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