Under Appreciated Ryan Machan Looks to Make Statement at Havoc FC

(photo: Rob Trudeau)

(photo: Rob Trudeau)

The Canadian mixed martial arts landscape is one that has seen its ups and downs in the last few years. As the UFC exploded into the mainstream, promotions popped up all over Canada. From Halifax to Victoria, fans were foaming at the mouth for whatever they could get their hands on.

For veteran fighters like Ryan Machan, it was an ideal situation. He developed his craft across the country, gaining valuable experience against many of the quality names available from Lightweight to Middleweight.

Now, seven years into a career that has seen its share of ups and downs, Machan has settled on Welterweight and is ready to make a push towards the upper-echelon of talent.

“Yeah, for the most part I like Welterweight,” said Machan. “I’ve been bouncing around because I haven’t been able to get fights. I’ve got 30 (sic) fights now so I’ve run out of guys at Lightweight and Welterweight, so I take some Middleweight fights just to keep busy.”

On September 6, Machan will bring his well-travelled skills home as he fights in his home province of Alberta against California kick-boxer William Sriyapai for Havoc FC.

On a three-fight losing skid, Sriyapai will likely come out desperate in this bout, looking to keep what little relevance remains. But Machan is not the type of fighter to plan around what his opponent does, focusing only on what he’s able to do.

Sriyapai is a muay thai fighter with a rumoured 160 stand-up bouts behind him. Even if Machan does not watch tape, it’s something he knows to watch for.

“I don’t plan for what they’re going to do, explained Machan. “I know what I need to do to win that fight. I’ve never watched any tape on any fighter I’ve ever fought. With Nathan Gunn (Machan’s last opponent, who he submitted in the second round), I knew he was going to clinch me and take me down so I worked a lot on my jiu-jitsu and got the submission. With William, I know he’s a straight kickboxer so I’ve been working my wrestling and clinch work a lot. I hope to get the takedown, ground and pound, and maybe another submission.”

Ryan Machan subs Nathan Gunn (photo: Rob Trudeau)

Ryan Machan subs Nathan Gunn (photo: Rob Trudeau)

It’s been a long road to this point in Machan’s career with many ups and downs, which is all too common with Canadian talent. American promoters often overlook Canadian fighter’s skills or try to avoid the headache associated with bringing in international talent, while many Canadian commissions still have yet to figure out what stance they would like to take on mixed martial arts. With that lack of understanding comes many referees and judges who don’t fully understand what they are watching or the rules of mixed martial arts. Machan feels he has been the victim of numerous bad decisions throughout his career, and as he puts it, “ I know I have to finish or I ain’t winning a decision.”

“I don’t know if it’s my style the judges don’t like,” complained Machan. “When I lost in February, I hit nine takedowns, seven in the second round and two in the third round. He was on his back the entire third round. I just don’t know. I don’t even know what judges even look for anymore.”

“When I fought Jorge Britto, he’s running away getting punched in the face for 15 minutes. One judge scores it 30-27 me, 29-27, 30-27 for him. That means he got 10-8 round on me and still lost a round? The scores judges come up with, I don’t know. Maybe it’s boxing judges who just don’t know how to score three rounds.”

The issues with judging in mixed martial arts are not unique to Machan. Both the local and international promotions have been plagued with seemingly poor decisions for years, and the problem doesn’t seem to be going away. Machan, a self-admitted fan of PRIDE, thinks the answer lies in the past.

“I think there needs to be a generalized point system. What do you give points for? I liked in PRIDE when there were yellow cards. If you’re just holding a guy down, you lost points. I think that should be a factor in MMA. You see so many of the top level guys who are so scared, they’ll just hold a guy in guard and not do anything.”

Machan subbed Kajan Johnson

Machan subbed Kajan Johnson

Machan’s frustrations with the sport he loves run deep. Nearly a decade into his pro career, and the Sylvan Lake, Alberta native still flies under the radar amongst most fans. With 19 finishes in 19 career wins, there is no denying Machan brings the fight every time he puts his gear on. He has grown with the sport in Canada, but feels as though the sport still does not recognize him for his abilities.

“I do (feel under appreciated). A lot of times I’ll take a fight where people think the opponent is easier, I get s**t on for it. If I take a bigger fighter like Nathan Gunn or Kajan Johnson and I win, there’s not one word said about me winning until I fight the next guy. I really think people are under appreciative.

I went 8-0 in the MFC and they wouldn’t give me a title shot, wouldn’t give me anything. It’s hard when you’re out west and there’s so much talent out here. We’ve got Jordan Mein, Ryan Ford, my brother (Josh Machan), Mike Davis; there are so many guys out here doing so good. It’s hard to stick out from the crowd.”

Machan is hoping to let some of those frustrations out against Sriyapai and considering they are both known for finishes, don’t expect this one to last long.

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