The ring is still the thing for the Maximum Fighting Championship.
And that's the ring as in the five-rope version, not "The Ring" as in the craftily given moniker for the MFC's sleek cage setup.
The Maximum Fighting Championship brought its slick cage to life at MFC 29 in accordance with the regulations utilized in Ontario which requires all mixed martial arts fights to be held in a cage structure. The cage received great reviews yet it not been used since even though MFC Owner/President Mark Pavelich had surmised about using the cage for events in other locales including Edmonton, Alberta.
But the fans have spoken, and they have made it clear that the ring (that's ‘little r' not ‘Ring') is what they want to see.
"It's been said pretty clearly to me that our fans, the ones who have continually supported us and come to the live shows for years, that they like the ring better than the cage," said Pavelich.
Pavelich explained the fans' sentiments.
"MMA is a bit of a strange sport when it comes to watching the event live in person inside the arena," he noted.
"You want to see as much as possible right in front of your eyes, yet how many times have we seen people, especially sitting a little bit further back, have to turn to watch a big screen TV just to see what's right in front of them? It's not logical. You've paid the price of your ticket to watch the fight on TV? That's not right.
"Our fans watching the event live in person have expressed that they can see the fight better in a ring from any seat in the house. The craziest thing is my staff sits on the edge of the ring inside the barrier and when the fights were in a cage they couldn't see across to the other side and they had to watch on a TV. That's a pretty obvious message to me."
The ring had always been a matter of preference for Pavelich. When the MFC began 12 years ago, the ring was distinguishable as being an MFC property - very few mixed martial arts events were held in a ring. And it was also a matter of business as the blossoming sport seemed less barbaric to newcomers, and in particular corporate sponsors, since it took place in a more traditional boxing-style ring as opposed to the locked cage.
The ring remains Pavelich's preference, but over the last year, it seems to have also become the fans' pick as well. That's not to say the cage, the MFC's "Ring," won't ever appear again at some point.
For now, though, the ring will remain the focal point of the MFC's action which suits Pavelich and the MFC fans just fine.
"I've always been an Owner that has listened to the fans," noted Pavelich. "Sometimes the suggestions are a little out there, but for the most part, the fans are correct. They are the ones who pay their hard earned money and they deserve the right to speak their minds, and for me and the MFC team to listen to what they've said.
"I love the fact that our fans are devoted and opinionated. They've had their say about everything from where we do the fights, the fighters they want to see, and about whether they like the ring or the cage. We've listened."
Tickets for MFC 34: Total Recall are on sale now and available exclusively through the MFC Ticket Hotline at (780) 504-2024.