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Exclusive: Ryan Ford talks departure from MFC

Ryan Ford is done with Mark Pavelich and the Maximum Fighting Championship promotion in Canada.

Ford (8-2) told MMAFighting.com today that he will continue his fight career without the MFC and former manager Pavelich, who is also the owner and president of the MFC.

In an exclusive interview with MMAFighting.com, Ford responds to Pavelich's announcement on Sunday that cited "outrageous" demands as a major reason for Ford's departure.

MMAFighting.com: I want to ask you about your departure from the MFC. It came as a surprise to me because every time I hear about the MFC, I hear about you.

Ford: Yeah, I'm pretty sure a lot of people were surprised but then again they'll probably say it was bound to happen.

My side of the story is that Mark sent me a contract, another four-fight deal with the MFC, and I felt that I wasn't being sent something I deserve. So I sent him back a contract that I put together with my fiancée that I believe that, going from other people's pay scales in the MFC that I felt that I deserved. I wasn't asking like what Mark is saying, over everybody in the MFC and MFC history. I was just asking what I feel I deserved for the type of guys that I've been fighting, the amount of tickets that I am selling and being the main event or semi-main event for most of the shows.

MMAFighting.com: I'm going to read off quotes from Pavelich on the MFC website, and share with me your thoughts.

"Ryan is a big part of the MFC but no one fighter ? not one person in any position in this company ? is bigger than this organization. Everyone outside of the MFC has said we've catered to Ryan, made him the main event, given him the title shots ? all of that stuff. He's deserved it but he's not bigger than the show itself." ? Mark Pavelich

Ford: With that comment I feel that not one fighter does makes up an organization but I feel that the fighters make the organization, because if there was no fighter, there would be no organization. I feel that you're from Chicago and you pretty much think that I'm pretty much the face of MFC and I'm pretty sure if I asked anybody that have seen the MFC locally here in Edmonton, across Canada, and probably even worldwide, that if they're asked [about] the MFC, they're going to say 'Ryan Ford' in a sentence. I'm not trying to be the head of his organization but I'm pretty sure that I've paid my dues in his organization to be like how "Rampage" and Chuck Liddell and them are to the UFC.

"Ryan wants to make more money than any of our champions and the guys with UFC experience, and I'm not willing to do that. It's totally wrong and against the ethics of this business for him to be paid more than those fighters" ? Mark Pavelich

Ford: On that level, I've sent him a contract that is probably in the middle of everything of all the guys that he is paying. He did a radio interview today and he's saying that from guys that are starting out on his fights that are pretty much the first fight of the card making 5 and 5 ($5,000 and $5,000), and there are other guys on his card that are getting paid 10 and 10. Well, I've been the main event four times out of the eight times I've fought in the MFC and the co-main event twice, so I say I deserve to be up in that kind of pay scale. I give those guys respect who have been in the sport longer than I have, and have UFC experience and what not, but when I'm there and I'm fighting these guys, I believe that I should be getting paid somewhat close to be what they're getting paid.

"Ryan was given two cracks at the title and lost both times by not following the game plan that his trainers laid out for him." ? Mark Pavelich

Ford: I did get two cracks at the title, the first I lost by armbar, I see that I was dominating that fight, I fought two more fights after that and I was given another title chance and we went five rounds and it was a split decision. If he really took a look at the guys that I've been fighting?I've only been exactly fighting and training in mixed martial arts for one year and nine months. So for me to be stepping up and fighting these type of guys, I don't see many guys in my position that will, but I'm the type of fighter that I'm here to fight. I don't pick my fights and I don't say "Oh I'm not going to fight this guy." If that's the guy I'm supposed to fight, then I'm going to step up and fight him.

I'm still very new to this sport. I'm still gaining a lot of experience. I'm learning so much more now that I will be able to contend with these guys. Like when I fight Pete Spratt on nine months of training in MMA and choke him out and make $1,600 as the main event. Getting paid $850 to show and $750 to win. I'm pretty sure everybody in this world sees something wrong with that.

MMAFighting.com: Does this mean that communication is over between you and Mark?

Ford: I've sent Mark his email today that because of the slanderous remarks he's made about me on the post, and the way that everything has gone on that I feel that we cannot work together. So I've send him the message today that his services as a manager are no longer needed. That's just pretty much: I will never fight in the MFC again. This is supposed to be a business and Mark has brought on a personal side and when it gets personal then I don't think people can work together.

MMAFighting.com: Has he in the past asked a sponsor or sponsors to redirect sponsorship towards the MFC instead of you?

Ford: Yeah, that's' the thing too. In the last two years, Mark has gotten me one sponsor and that was my last fight, with GAMMA-O. I'm heavily sponsored right now because of myself. Yeah, they may be local sponsors but everybody in Edmonton knows who I am and if you meet me I'm the type of guy you can talk to. I'll make you smile, make you laugh and maybe sometimes if it gets real deep, I'll make you cry. I've gotten a lot of sponsors and thank god for those sponsors because if I didn't have those sponsors today I wouldn't be able to train full-time and do this as a full-time job.

I've gotten emails from companies that have said "Your manager Mark has sent us emails, saying 'we've wanted to sponsor you'" and all he brings up is "You know what, why don't you sponsor the MFC instead of Ryan Ford and I'll take care of him.'" When I'm getting those type of emails, it's like that person isn't looking out for my best interest.

MMAFighting.com: Do you think it's a conflict of interest for a promoter to also manage fighters?

Ford: You know what? It's a big conflict of interest. I never knew about it from the beginning. I'm so new to the sport. I just wanted to fight. But in this game, there are guys out there that will take advantage of you and I guess that's what happened to me. But like I've learned throughout my whole life growing up that things are going to happen. You live and you learn, right? And I guess this is just one of those things I'm going to have to learn and I don't feel that it's going to damage my reputation or my athletic abilities to fight in any way.

MMAFighting.com: What does it mean for you not fighting in the MFC?

Ford: It's a shame. People aren't going to watch me on live TV on HDNet because he is the one show in Canada here and I still have a few months in my personal issues that I have to deal with until I'm going to be able to leave Canada. It's sad that its happened but I think this is the best decision that I've made in my career and with the work and the dedication I put into my training that I will be in the big show one day. It's just gotta take time, right?

MMAFighting.com: Do you have a timeframe for when you'll be able to fight in the US?

Ford: My personal issues, everything should be done in August. I'm pretty sure after August is when we'll be looking into getting to America, or even Europe. You see Mark seems to think that his organization is the only organization in this world, and he's got it wrong because there's thousands and thousands of organizations in this world that people can fight from, and to get to the UFC, you don't have to fight in the MFC, and I think he doesn't realize that. Jason MacDonald and Victor Valimaki are the only two that have come from the MFC. And when they announce your name, they don't say your name and then coming from the MFC. All I gotta do is make sure I stay focused and put Ws on my record and I'm pretty sure I'll be getting in contact soon.