Gavin Neil on MFC, KOTC, and Being on TV
Top MMA News recently had the chance to catch up with Gavin Neil after hearing the news that he will be returning to MFC to take on Richie “The Dirty Samurai” Hightower at MFC 25.
After reading the MFC press release last week about Gavin fighting on the next MFC card, and reading the comments in an article (read the article here) on Gavin’s experience at KOTC UPRISING II in Nanaimo, I knew there was more to know about the situation.
The first thing fans are interested in knowing is why Gavin left the MFC in the first place after his 5-1 run with the promotion.
“The truth is, after those fights I wanted a break. I wanted to take some time to focus on school. Juggling school work, training and fighting gets pretty busy. I’m studying history so a lot of my courses require a lot of research and writing, throw in training six days a week putting in three hours a day….”
After Gavin took a break from MFC and focused on his education, he took a unanimous decision win over Curtis Demarce at AFC 1. As many Canadian fight fans are aware, Gavin’s next fight was for the KOTC Canadian Lightweight Title, a post left vacant after the previous title holder Rory MacDonald moved up to the UFC. The title fight was originally supposed to feature Nanaimo’s Darcy James against Victoria’s Adam Gabel. After Darcy broke a few ribs during training, KOTC then slated Charlie Zak against Gabel. Adam Gabel then dropped the fight due to some personnel issues; this is when Gavin was offered the fight. After preparing to fight on the AFC 2 card and not getting the fight, Gavin was ready and willing to have the opportunity. He then went on to win the title by submission in the first round. After being the champ for a couple of weeks, MFC sent out a press release featuring Gavin’s next fight and some harsh words about his last event. Gavin wanted to clarify his previous comments,
“The KOTC title is a nice title and a nice belt to hold, I think I was misunderstood in my last comments when I said the event was ghetto. I didn’t mean KOTC was ghetto, just this event had lots of things that didn’t go well like the multiple changes to the title fight, the KOTC cage not making it to Nanaimo, and the venue was freezing cold due to hockey games being played the night before and the next day. I didn’t mean to disrespect KOTC. I was really excited to get the opportunity to fight for KOTC, I am a big fan of the promotion, I even have the first five events the held on DVD. I didn’t really leave them after winning the belt; I just wasn’t on a contract. KOTC is a huge promotion, but much more so in the US than here in Canada. MFC is definitely the best promotion going here in Canada and although I’m a fighter, I have to make the right business decision and I think signing with MFC was the right call.”
Gavin has now signed a three fight contract with MFC and as was previously announced, his first fight will be against TUF vet Richie “The Dirty Samurai” Hightower at MFC 25 on May 7th. Gavin is looking forward to the fight and had this to say on the upcoming bout.
“I’ve seen him [Hightower] on TV and everything but I don’t know too too much about him. This is a big opportunity for me and I’m looking forward to it for sure. It’s my understanding that he’s come a long way to be at this weight class as well, so we’ll have that in common. I mean, when I first started in kickboxing at 15 I was at 230 lbs. It took some getting used to fighting at this weight, especially with the speed of the smaller fighters, but I’m comfortable now. As for future fights, I am not looking past Hightower; I will put all my efforts into this fight and then take it one fight at a time from there.”
His coach Adam Zugec likes the Hightower matchup and expects Neil to shine. The ZUMA coach said, “Gavin is looking to legitimize himself in the eyes of others. A win over Richie Hightower will do that. Gavin is extremely durable and we have a good game plan going into this fight. At the end of the day, if his game plan is not going right, Gavin can fight. Fans will find it exciting to watch Gavin because he is an average ordinary guy, but an ordinary guy who can really fight.”
Neil vs. Hightower should be the first televised fight on the upcoming event MFC 25 VINDICATION airing live on HDNET, Friday May 7th and if all goes well Gavin is hoping to see more TV time in the future.
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