MM-Eh! News and Notes from Canada

By Andy Cotterill Mar 9, 2007
Many of us watched last Saturday night as Red Deer, Alberta's Jason MacDonald (Pictures) faced the toughest competition yet of his UFC career, as he succumbed to a tough stoppage loss against determined former champion Rich Franklin (Pictures).

MacDonald's corner stopped the fight at the end of round two, and yesterday I spoke to the man who made that decision, trainer/manager Mark Pavelich. Now back in his hometown of Edmonton, Pavelich gave me his thoughts on the fight and some ideas about MacDonald's future.

When MacDonald went to sit on the stool after round two, his legs felt wobbly and he was having a hard time standing. Pavelich knew something was seriously wrong when he told "The Athlete" to look him in the eye and instead he looked over his shoulder.

That's when MacDonald told him that he was completely blind in his right eye, an injury that occurred from the second or third to last punch by Franklin to end the round. Also, his left eye was fairly swollen, limiting his visibility there. That's when Pavelich knew he had to call the fight.

"If I hadn't have said anything Jason would have gone right back out there." said Pavelich. "You'd think it would be a hard decision, but it wasn't. Jason's safety came first."

Following the event MacDonald went to the hospital with fellow combatants Chris Lytle (Pictures) and Renato Sobral (Pictures). Jason required seven stitches around his right eye, and the doctor told him that it was probably a broken blood vessel that caused his blindness, which was more than likely temporary.

Back in Alberta for an updated check-up, the middleweight had already regained some vision; however when asked to look to the side he experienced a sharp pain and saw a black dot.

Jason really had nothing to lose going into this fight, and there is certainly some good to come out of it. Pavelich says that UFC official Jim Tatum told him that the UFC loves MacDonald, a viewpoint shared by the fans at the official weigh-ins when Jason received a louder cheer than former heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia (Pictures).

More good news followed for "The Athlete" on Tuesday night, when he was the first ever recipient of the Edmonton Boxing and Wrestling Commission's Mixed Martial Arts Fighter of the Year Award.

He received the award at a gala dinner and was joined by his wife Kelly, Pro Camp and Maximum Fighting Championship Owner/President Mark Pavelich and the entire Pro Camp/MFC team.

The presentation to MacDonald included a videotaped message of congratulations from UFC president Dana White.

Several months ago Pavelich told me that due to Jason's seven fights in the past year, regardless of the outcome of the Franklin fight, he would get some well deserved time off. I'm not sure if he told MacDonald though, as I've heard that he's already back in the gym working out.

Also in his plans, MacDonald intends to help his teammate Victor Valimaki (Pictures) prepare to take on Italian slugger Alessio Sakara (Pictures) April 21 in Manchester, England.

Speaking of the UK card, word around the playground has it that UFC 70 will be broadcast free on Spike TV.

Finally, when asked about future opponents for "The Athlete," Pavelich said that MacDonald has proven he belongs in the mix with other top middleweight contenders. No specifics have been discussed with the UFC, but Pavelich added that he'd like to see a match-up with Dane Martin Kampmann (Pictures).

More MFC

After speaking with Mark Pavelich about MacDonald, he then revealed some updates on his own promotion, the Maximum Fighting Championship, based in Edmonton, Alberta.

The MFC has several events planned for the next few months. First will be the third installment of its "Unplugged" series on April 20, followed by MFC 12 "High Stakes" on June 22, also in Edmonton.

Halifax's Roger Hollett (Pictures) will co-headline Unplugged 3 against an as yet undisclosed opponent. Prior to that, Hollett takes on Ricardeau Francois (Pictures) at ECC 5 "Night of Champions" in Halifax. At stake will be the newly created ECC light heavyweight title.

Pavelich and the MFC must have been very impressed with Hollett's 36-second KO of Mike Maurer at MFC 11, as they've booked him for this fight, as well as have started plans for his grudge match with RITC light heavyweight champion Jason Day at MFC 12.

Day is an extremely tough fighter based out of Lee Mein (Pictures)'s Canadian Martial Arts Centre in Lethbridge, Alberta. After his victory at MFC 11, Hollett grabbed the microphone in the center of the ring to announce that he heard that Jason Day claimed he'd be able to beat him in less than two minutes, and then proceeded to tell Day to "just sign on the dotted line."

This is a fight that could have happened for quite some time now, and if it does, it has the potential for greatness. Mark Pavelich agrees, saying that it could potentially eclipse what is in his opinion the greatest MFC fight ever, the five-round war between Jason MacDonald (Pictures) and Patrick Cote (Pictures) at MFC 9.

Pavelich added, "You know, it wouldn't surprise me to see the winner of that fight get the call to the UFC."

Back to Unplugged 3, Hollett's co-headliner will be B.J. Penn (Pictures)'s heavyweight student Scott Junk (Pictures), fighting for the first time outside of the Hawaiian Islands.

Junk is a mountain of a man with enough natural talent to push former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez (Pictures) into the second round in his first ever fight.

"That was with almost no training," Pavelich said. "Could you imagine how good he'll be given time?"

Junk's opponent will be 2-0 Dominic Richard, fresh off an amazing six-second knockout of Brent Weatherhill at NFC 7 in Vancouver.

Joe Doerksen (Pictures)

As heard on last Friday's "Beatdown," Rich Franklin (Pictures)'s manager Monte Cox revealed that Canadian middleweight favorite Joe Doerksen (Pictures) was brought in for three weeks to help prepare for MacDonald. That sounds like a great name for a road-trip movie, doesn't it?

"The Athlete, Ace, and El Dirte."

Denis Kang (Pictures) to fight in Korea this weekend

Oh, the lengths we at Sherdog.com go through to get the news for our readers.

A friend told me that Denis was fighting this weekend somewhere over in Asia, but he wasn't sure where. After a fairly quick search I found him displayed on the Spirit MC Web site, but seeing as I don't speak Korean, I had no idea the name of his opponent.

I sent out my feelers to two of my exclusive sources, Sherdog.com's executive editor Josh Gross, and the human MMA encyclopedia, Jordan Breen. Josh answered first, going so far as to e-mail the Spirit MC promoter Kwang Park, who replied:

"As you know, we have first heavyweight title match on Sunday. Denis' opponent is Jungkyu Choi. He is Taekwondo and jiu-jitsu based MMA fighter. He is top ranked in Korea. Also he beat Herb Dean (Pictures), UFC referee, by keylock."

First I have to say that I really appreciated him answering us so quickly. His e-mail also brought up some interesting questions:

Denis Kang (Pictures) fighting at heavyweight? Wow.

Herb Dean (Pictures) lost recently? I was aware that he had fought in the past; I just hadn't realized that it was as recent as last October.

Jungkyu Choi? I couldn't find him on Sherdog's Fight Finder until I cross-referenced him with Herb Dean (Pictures). Sherdog has him listed as Junggyu Choi.

So you can imagine my confusion when Jordan then answered me saying that his name is Jung Gyu Choi.

Sigh.

Whatever his name is, I hope that he has the skill level to hang with Denis and provide the Korean fans an entertaining fight.

The Fight Network now available in the U.S.

One of the many perks held by Canadian MMA fans has been our own television fight network, appropriately named "The Fight Network."

Many international MMA fans have been nonplussed that they didn't have access to it, but American based subscribers of America One Sports can now rejoice, as they've just signed a two-year contract with TFN to receive television programming.

TFN is a great resource to see former events from organizations such as PRIDE, Cage Rage, K-1, TKO, as well as numerous smaller organizations. One of the features I really enjoy is the backstage coverage of UFC events, both before and after fight night.

For non-MMA programming, it also has a ton of boxing and professional wrestling. If you happen to be a night owl like I sometimes am, you can also watch eastern European female honey-wrestling. No, I'm not kidding. My favorite young lady has the wonderfully descriptive nickname of "Country Bouncer."

Jorge Gurgel (Pictures) and Matt Lindland (Pictures)

What do they have in common you wonder? Both fighters will be in Canada this weekend to give seminars.

Jorge Gurgel (Pictures) makes his third trip north to provide BJJ insight to his only Canadian affiliated school, Fitness Plus, in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

I spent five days with Jorge last summer, and many of you will remember the lengthy story that Sherdog posted prior to his UFC 63 appearance against Danny Abbadi.

During that decision victory, Jorge's "good" knee was injured and he has had to go through his second, lengthy rehabilitation process. More recently we saw him corner his training partner and best friend, Rich Franklin (Pictures) last weekend.

Stay tuned to Sherdog next week to find out how Jorge is making out with his injury, as well as his plans for the future.

Contact Info is Fitness Plus owner Scott MacLean, and he can be reached via email at [email protected]

Team Quest's Matt Lindland (Pictures) will be at Kombat Arts Training Academy in Mississauga, Ontario this weekend. Cost is $80 per day, and contact info is (905) 804-8158 or www.Pound4Pound.ca.
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