Fractious Feud Finished – Ford Returns to MFC
In a move that an overwhelming majority in the mixed martial arts world believed would never happen, Canadian welterweight sensation Ryan “The Real Deal” Ford has signed a new multi-fight contract with the Maximum Fighting Championship.
A former two-time challenger for the MFC’s 170-pound title, Ford and the MFC bitterly parted ways in early 2009 and the acrimonious split resulted in a rift that most insiders considered impossible to repair. But out of nowhere, there has been a mending of fences and Ford (12-2) is back in the MFC looking to rejuvenate a career that had dramatically stalled in his year-long absence from the organization.
“It’s unfortunate and a shame what happened the first time around, but I think everyone has grown since then,” offered MFC Owner/President Mark Pavelich. “This time around I hope that Ryan reaches the goals he set for himself – the goals he started with in the MFC right from the beginning.
“I hope that he lives up to his abilities that we all know he has. He’s going to be fighting top-notch talent so we will certainly see what he truly has.”
Now fighting out of the ZUMA training centre in Victoria, British Columbia, Ford is expected to make his return to the ring at MFC 26 on Friday, September 10. An official announcement on the host city and lineup for that card is forthcoming.
“I think this is very exciting for the fans,” said Adam Zugec, Ford’s trainer at ZUMA. “There’s been a lot of drama … just like a reality show, and I think the fans really love that.
“I’m expecting great things from Ryan. He’s made to be on TV, his persona is perfect for the MFC’s shows on HDNet, and Mark and the MFC is so good at marketing its fighters on television.
“I always knew that eventually both parties would be back working together. Both sides needed some time to clear their heads and start a new plan. As everyone started to mature they’ve become more willing to work with each other and that’s good for both sides.”
Ford made his MFC and professional mixed martial arts debut back in August 2007, instantly becoming a fan favorite as he rattled off six straight wins including three inside the opening round. His biggest victory in that initial phase of his career came via a second-round submission of veteran Pete Spratt – an outcome that while marred by strikes coming after the bell to end Round 1 also drew Ford favorable comparisons to Georges St. Pierre at the same time of their respective careers.
Following his sixth win, Ford earned a shot at the vacant MFC welterweight title, and although he dominated much of the fight with his takedowns, the Edmonton, Alberta, native was caught in an armbar and forced to tap out to veteran Pat Healy midway through the third round. Two victories followed for Ford which garnered him a rematch with Healy but the reigning champ held onto his belt with a tight five-round, split-decision outcome in his favor.
Unable to agree on the terms of a new contract, Ford and the MFC parted ways soon after the Healy rematch. But at long last, Ford has returned to where his blossoming career began.
“I think the best thing to happen to Ryan was to go to a smaller organization, get some experience and work on some things, and now return to the big show,” added Pavelich, who expects to quickly have a list of opponents lined up to face Ford.
“Ryan is eager to fight anybody,” noted Zugec. “Everybody knows that Ryan is a fighter at heart and he wants to test his talents against the best fighters at 170.”