Company representatives met with the Massachusetts state athletic commission on Thursday and received their promoter and matchmaker licenses, and though they still have yet to receive an event license for the scheduled May 21 event, state athletic commissioner Todd Grossman said things are moving forward at a normal pace.
"I don't think they're going to have a problem," Grossman said. "I think they're missing one or two things and I believe they said those things will be in within the next week or so, which would be fine."
Grossman said one of the things holding up the event license was the $50,000 bond required to host a pro MMA event in the state, but said they'd received an email from the bonding company informing them it was on the way.
This would be one of the first major shows to visit Massachusetts since the state sanctioned MMA, and the proposed main event pitting a former UFC champion against a five-time World's Strongest Man has many intrigued. Despite the disparity in experience level between the two (Sylvia has 31 pro fights, Pudzianowski has just one, though he is scheduled to have his second two weeks before he fights Sylvia), Grossman said the commission will closely examine the matchup before signing off.
"Every case is unique, of course," he said. "Just because one person has more experience than another doesn't make a fight necessarily uneven. It'll be evaluated on its merit. This isn't a science exactly."
Fighter licenses have yet to be issued for the pair as paperwork and other necessities are still being collected. The Sylvia-Pudzianowski fight will be contested as a super-heavyweight bout.
According to Grossman, state regulations require only random drug testing on the card's participants, meaning that there is no guarantee either main eventer or any particular fighter on the card will be tested. Pudzianowski was disqualified from the World's Strongest Man competition in 2004, reportedly for a breach of the governing body's Strongman Health Policy, while Sylvia tested positive for steroids after a Dec. 2003 fight, later apologizing and serving a six-month suspension for his infraction. Neither athlete has had any infractions since.
A match between Eric "Butterbean" Esch and former NHL player Lyndon Byers will take place as an exhibition bout, Grossman said.
MMA veterans Yves Edwards, Travis Lutter, Travis Wiuff and Tara LaRosa are also on the main card, which will air at 9 pm on pay-per-view and emanate from the DCU Center in Worcester.