The Northern Touch: News and Notes from Western Canada

By Kelsey Mowatt Jun 8, 2005
In addition to the usual news and notes, this week’s “Northern Touch” includes an in-depth interview with “The Athlete,” Jason MacDonald, who shares his thoughts with Sherdog.com on his recent loss to Marvin Eastman, and updates his fans on several new developments in the Red Deer fighter’s career.

Jason MacDonald: Ready to make “splash” at 185

Jason MacDonald’s unanimous decision loss to Marvin Eastman May 20 at World Extreme Fighting 14 marked MacDonald’s third loss in a row and leaves the 29-year-old’s record at 8-4. The fight by all accounts was fairly close; Eastman managed to control most of the ground game throughout the bout earning the judges decision that scored the fight 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28.

Despite the loss, MacDonald is taking positives from the fight, noting that Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Eastman is now fully aware of whom Jason MacDonald is.

“After watching the fight again I feel he won the fight,” MacDonald said. “At the time I felt I had worked off my back well with some knees and punches, I had some good submission attempts, I out-worked him in the clinch and I frustrated him standing, forcing him to take me down which I did. But after re-watching it, it was clear that he had top position and controlled me for most of the fight. I mean he was not doing any damage, nothing was landing but he was in control. A lot of things happen in a fight that you don't always remember and at the time I never felt like he was in control, but I watch it now and I see he was.”

“Let me tell you this, I gave this guy all he could handle,” he continued. “At the press conference he said he did not know who I was and he did not care, he was going to rip my head off! Well I guarantee he knows who I am now and I still have my head without a mark on it. I was not happy with the outcome but I was happy with the way I fought and I will carry that over to my next fight.”

MacDonald originally began training independently, occasionally sparring and practicing with other fighters and practitioners within the Edmonton region. Eventually he turned to legendary fighter Frank Shamrock, to teach him the basics of mixed martial arts.

“I started fighting from scratch,” MacDonald said. “I was not a wrestler, boxer, kickboxer or jiu-jitsu guy. I was a college volleyball player who loved to compete and was looking for something challenging. I'm a dedicated, disciplined fast learner who has been pretty good at whatever it is I decide to do. It just so happened I was interested in fighting so I dedicated myself to that.

“I went down to San Jose and tried out for Frank Shamrock’s fighting team in the early days when it was basically just him, Bob Cook and Ryan Bow. I made the cut, stayed down there and they taught me the basics. I came back to Canada and just keep building on that, learning as much as I could from whoever was willing to teach me something. I've trained with a lot of great fighters and have learned something from all of them. Up until recently I have had no formal trainers or coaches just training partners from different disciplines that I pick up stuff from.”

MacDonald has managed within the last four years, to rise to the top of Canada’s light heavyweight rankings, marking his career with impressive victories over Yan Pellerin, Ulysses Castro, Bill Mahood, and Antony Rea.

His recent string of losses have been against top flight competition, Jason Brilz (11-1-1) by split decision, Matt Horwich (11-3-1) from Team Quest via armbar, and of course Eastman. Nevertheless, MacDonald felt it was time for a change — a loss is a loss, and after three of them in a row, the Red Deer native decided to leave the Epic MMA team.

“Recently I changed managers and am currently trained and represented by Mark Pavelich,” said the light heavyweight. “I made a decision to give Mark the lead roll for a number of reasons. Greg [Allen] is a great friend of mine and has done a lot for me and my career. But he is very busy with his own career in the movie and production business. This demands a tremendous amount of his time. When we started together Denis, Bill, Ulysses and I were able to train regularly; it was great and we were all benefiting from it. We were all kind of isolated and came together to help each other with Greg as our manager.

“Having a full time job and a family I am not able to travel the country to get the training I need. With Denis going to American Top Team and Bill in Prince George with an injury and a new baby, I needed to make a change. I was kind of all over the place looking for training partners and trainers I was not focused. Mark called me up and offered to get things organized for me — line up training partners, pro boxers, high-level wrestlers, guys who are teaching me stuff everyday. He took the stress off me. All I have to do is show up and train my ass off and keep getting better. He arranges everything for me. That is the same reason why Denis went to American Top Team. Due to Greg's career and living in Vancouver he was unable to do this for me so I made a decision to let Mark take over.”

The new direction for MacDonald does not end there however. The decision to drop down to the middleweight division has been made, and MacDonald is looking forward to the new possibilities his new division represents.

“My next fight is in the TKO July 15th,” he said. “It will be my first fight at 185 pounds. There have been a lot of names rumored but I will let TKO make the official announcement. I'm dropping down to middleweight because I feel there are a number of tough high-level opponents out there and I think I can make a real splash in that division. Light heavyweight was the division to be in a few years ago, but now 185 pounds is where the action is. I want a piece of that action and a couple of key wins at that weight and I will be in a position to get into the UFC.”

The recent news that Pavelich’s Maximum Fighting Championship will soon be returning and with Pavelich now directing MacDonald’s career, it leaves little doubt that the MFC will heavily feature MacDonald, a ring that featured MacDonald so often in his early years of competition.

“I'm very excited about the return of the MFC,” MacDonald said. “The MFC is a high quality show that always treated me very well and kept me very active. It put on some huge shows in Edmonton with top quality fighters. How could I not be excited about having a show of this quality back in my back yard? I'm sure there are a lot of people in Western Canada that are stoked and looking forward to this. And I'm sure the main event will be one you won't want to miss.”

TKO 21: Postponed Until July 15

TKO 21 has been moved to July 15 due to difficulties in signing an opponent for UFC veteran Patrick Cote. The postponement, however, has allowed the TKO group to put together a triple main event for the July 15 card, featuring two championship bouts and Gideon Ray as Cote’s opponent.

The card so far is:

Patrick Cote (6-2) vs. Gideon Ray (8-2-1)
Mark Hominick (7-4) vs. Ryan Diaz (9-8)
Donald Ouimet (10-3) vs. Sam Stout (6-1-1)
Icho Larenas (3-1-0) vs. Serge Lafond (2-0)
Thierry Quenneville (6-3) vs. James Haourt (0-0)
Fabio Holanda (1-3) vs. Blake Fredrickson (7-2)

Ultimate Cage Wars Final Card

Here is the final line-up for the Ultimate Cage Wars “Caged Inferno” to take place Saturday, June 18, at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.

Ricardeau Francois vs. Krzysztof Soszynski
Jason St. Louis vs. Jesse Bongfeldt
Aaron Tregear vs. Alex Sung
Sonny Leong vs. Justin Taverninni
Chris Horodecki vs. Matt Macdonald
John Laing vs. Kevin Manderson
Chris Clements vs. Brad Calder
Bill Boland vs. Jeff Sutherland
Jacob MacDonald vs. Curt Mckinnon
Lee Gaudete vs. John Henderson
Scott Culcan vs. Grant Tennant
Shane Slade vs. Jerin Valel

Mind, Body, and Soul Grappling Tournament: Pro Matches Announced

The Mind, Body and Soul Grappling tournament, set to take place June 25 at N.A.I.T. College in Edmonton, Alberta, has announced the professional grappling matches for the event.

Justin Tavernini vs. Matt Leo
Tim Tamaki vs. Paul Forde
Jesse Bongfedlt vs. Jeff Legault
Brad Cardinal vs. John Cooper
Jeff Meszaros vs. Marc Marins
Jason St. Louis vs. Cody Dillman
Mike Newton vs. Dan Rizzuto
Jeff Wiley vs. Curtis Brigham
Rodrigo Munduruca vs. Victor Valimaki
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