(Ford when he found out he was ripped off again.)
Ryan Ford has had it up to here with dishonest people in MMA.
Having split from Mark Pavelich, his manager and the promoter of the Canadian MFC organization where he fought the lion’s share of his fights in 2009 because of a contract dispute, “The Real Deal” moved on to Edmonton, Alberta promotion “The Fight Club” only to have TFC cancel a planned bout with Carlo Prater. Going against his better judgment, Ford, who now had a young baby to feed besides supporting himself and his girlfriend re-signed with the MFC.
Two fights later the brash Canadian welterweight fell out with Pavelich for the second time in as many years. This time the dispute wasn’t over contract terms, per se. It was regarding money Ford says he was owed nearly $2,700 by Pavelich for selling close to $22,000 in tickets to MFC shows since he returned to fight for the organization. The case is currently in litigation, but Ford is confident that he will win just like the last time the MFC boss tried to sue him.
“Mark came out and said that I was going to claim racism against him. I was like, ‘What is this guy talking about?’ I did an interview and the interviewer asked me about it and I said, ‘Number one, I have no idea what he’s talking about and number two, if he did say something racist about me we wouldn’t be settling it in the media. I would confront him to his face and we’d settle it personally.’ I don’t know what he eats for breakfast but that was pretty far out there,” Ford says. “He’s crazy. He didn’t pay for the lawyer’s bill from the last time he took [TFC] to court. He breached my contract, plain and simple and I moved on. I shouldn’t have been back with the MFC in the first place, but oh well. You live, you learn.”
But Ford’s return to the MFC cost him more than just the money owed to him by Pavelich. He says that another agent has made him think twice about whom he lets handle his financial affairs.
According to the 29-year-old, he is owed approximately $5,500 (after agents fees) by Steve Gavin, a fighter who also works securing sponsorships on a fight-by-fight basis for fighters who are reluctant to sign on long-term with an agency.
“I figured I’d get better sponsors by being back in the MFC and I ended up getting a few good sponsors like Full Tilt Poker and I ended up getting ripped off by the agent that got them for me, Steve Gavin. Print his name. People need to watch out for him. I want to put him on blast. If you talk to Kajan Johnson, Tim Hague and Sarah Kaufmann, you’ll hear the exact same story from them. For some reason since my first fight back in the MFC against Douglas Lima when he got me my sponsorship with Full Tilt, I still haven’t seen a dime of the money they sent him. Everyone else on the same show I talked to who they sponsored were paid within 30 days as per the terms of their sponsorship agreement. So I let Steve take care of trying to get the money and I went back to training. When my next fight got signed he told me they got me another sponsorship with them. I was like, ‘Cool, but what’s up with my money from the last fight?’ So he says, ‘There was a problem with the bank transfer, because they come all the way from Ireland, but don’t worry. I’m looking after getting you paid.’ Then I start hearing from all these other people that they owe them money as well. I had somebody contact Full Tilt Poker for me on my behalf to see what was going on a few months ago to tell them that I still hadn’t been paid since my fight in September. They told us that they paid Steve my $4,000 from that fight in the first week of October. Then for my fight with Pete Spratt in November they said there was a problem with the transfer to Steve and they were sending a replacement transfer, but even after I confronted him about it he still tells me he hasn’t gotten any money from them,” Ford recollects. “It was funny, I put up a message on Facebook explaining that I wanted my money and that Full Tilt ripped me off and Steve called me off the hook to take the message down because he said it wouldn’t be smart to piss off one of the two biggest MMA sponsors. The real reason I found out was that he knew that he already got the money and he didn’t want me talking to anyone about it. Finally, he told me he could prove that they didn’t pay him because he had a bunch of emails. I told him to send them to me and he kept making excuses why he didn’t send them or why he couldn’t send them. I got so fed up that I lost it on him in a text message and I told him not to contact me until he had my money and that I knew he got it already. That was nearly three weeks ago and I haven’t heard from him since.”
Ford says the experience of being lied to and cheated out of money by Gavin prompted him to sign with a reputable firm.
“It’s hard for me to trust people now. Luckily I found a firm that I can trust,” says Ford. “I’m working with Jason House from Iridium Sports Agency and I’ve heard nothing but good things about him.”
With Gavin, Pavelich and the MFC behind him Ford will start the latest chapter in his MMA career tonight when he headlines Aggression MMA’s Punishment card tonight in Edmonton against Johnny Davis. He feels that his recently-signed multi-fight deal he signed with Aggression (who purchased TFC late last year) will allow more opportunities for his career to flourish.
“I think they’re doing things right and they’re more about their fighters than the promotion. My deal is only for Edmonton, so I am good to fight anywhere else,” he says. “That was a big thing for me when it came time to decide where I was going to sign. I’m planning on getting their belt and then we’ll see what happens from there.”