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From the humble and treacherous beginnings to stardom. That is the direction that Menad “The Boss” Abella is pointed in, and The Firm Sports Management is helping him achieve his goals.

The Firm co-owners Mark Pavelich and Ken Franczek are very excited to announce the signing of Abella to a management contract. A 5-0 mixed martial artist, Abella has his sights set on reaching the pinnacle of his sport.

“As a fighter, I invest everything I have into my career,” said Abella. “All my time, blood, sweat, and tears that go into preparing for every fight and to have so many fights cancelled took its toll.

“When I got the call from The Firm I thought it was some kind of April Fool’s joke that someone tried to pull on me. Until Mark Pavelich started getting into the details, I was in disbelief. I finally felt like all my hard work and everything I ever worked for is finally going to pay off and that I am finally back on track.

“Hearing Mark say that he believes in me and that he sees that I have what it takes to make it all the way was surreal to say the least. For him, and Ken, and the team at The Firm to stand behind me and manage my career was exactly what was missing all this time. This is a new day and ‘The Boss’ is coming full force. Watch out world!”

As someone who has encountered and worked with hundreds of fighters over the past 20 years, it isn’t easy getting Mark Pavelich to take a lot of notice, let alone a vested interest. Abella deserves all the credit.

“I am unbelievably revved up about signing a fantastic young fighter like Menad,” said Pavelich. “His athletic talent is one thing – and he has a lot of it. Definitely enough for him to become an elite-level fighter and a champion.

“But there’s much more to him than that. Menad is someone with a spectacular drive to succeed and he has the type of character that makes you want to do whatever you can to support. That is precisely why The Firm wanted to bring him in. We want to do everything possible to push him to the top.”

“Welcome to the Firm Menad.” “This guy is an absolute Beast!” Definitely one of the most violent fighters in MMA today…and I can’t wait to watch The Boss…crush everyone we put in front of him.” – Ken Franczek

Four of Abella’s five victories have come via knockout. Due to several potential opponents backing out of fights, Abella did not see any action in 2017 but he has since returned from the long layoff and picked up a win.

Struggles, such as being out of action for an extended period, are nothing new to Abella. In fact, it is fair to say he has braved more hardships than a young man should but that has only forged his desire to find success in a sport as demanding as MMA.

His story is best told in his own words.

“I grew up in Algiers, Algeria, up until the age of about eight at which point my father was assassinated … shot with a shotgun in front of myself and the rest of my family. My mother struggled for many years to secure a future for us (myself, my brother and my two sisters), and raise us out of harm’s way which eventually landed us in Montreal, Quebec.

“Early teens was no walk in the park for me as I struggled with the loss of my father and being in a new environment which was completely out of the ordinary for me. But towards the middle of high school, I started going into what I call ‘Survival of the Fittest’ mode, and decided that I was going to take life by the horns and ride it till the wheels fall off.”

Abella initially found his place on the soccer pitch with the Algerian national team but a knee injury and subsequent surgeries over the next year and a half ended that plan. Now in his early 20s, Abella chose to use the anger over his failed bid in soccer and turn it into the aggression required for mixed martial arts. Training at the famed Tri Star Gym in Montreal under the tutelage of Firas Zahabi and alongside notables like Georges St-Pierre, David Loiseau, Nordine Taleb, Olivier Aubin-Mercier, and Rory MacDonald only fired up his desire to become a professional fighter.

“About a year into it, I realized this is what I was meant to be doing all along,” he said. “Being in that cage felt like home and throwing those punches felt like medicine. I then joined the Canadian national wrestling team in Montreal and rolled with the best. Now I felt like a new man … I felt like I could take on the world.

“By 2010, I was still training two to three times a day but didn’t really have any direction or any support. That’s when I met my wife and she saw in me what no one else saw – the potential to make it all the way to the top in the MMA world. She believed in me and was the force that pushed me threw the darkness. I now felt like I was ready and fully armed with everything I needed.”

After moving to Edmonton, Alberta, Abella worked with Luke Harris at the Hayabusa Gym and trainer Noda Kajro at Frank Lee’s Gym.

His next journey will be the continuation of his pursuit to reach stardom in MMA.

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Mark Pavelich and Ken Franczek, co-owners of The Firm Sports Management, proudly announce the signing of fast-rising Canadian mixed martial arts standout Brendan Kornberger to a management contract.

A Vancouver, British Columbia, native, Kornberger (8-3) has come away victorious in three of his last four outings, topped by a successful defense of his Unified MMA middleweight title as he scored a fourth-round TKO over Miles Anstead on June 9 in Edmonton, Alberta. The title is Kornberger’s second regional championship on the heels of him capturing the Five Star Fight League belt with a third-round TKO over Brad Stewart in October 2014.

“Brendan has an enormous amount of talent and a real will to win that we first saw from him back in 2011 when he came onto the scene,” said Pavelich.

“His recent surge has shown a fresh new drive, one that I believe can take him to the biggest organizations in mixed martial arts. Brendan has great potential, and everyone at The Firm is very excited to help him reach the greatest level of success possible.”

The 32-year-old, who is a full-time firefighter in Vancouver, originally won the Unified MMA title by registering a unanimous decision verdict over Teddy Ash. Kornberger has a notable second-round TKO victory over submission specialist Micah Brakefield, and has fought under the banners of the Maximum Fighting Championship, World Series of Fighting, Battlefield Fight League, and King of the Cage.


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The Firm Sports Management has brought aboard a rising star in mixed martial arts with the signing of Miles “Beefcake” Anstead to a managerial contract.

The 29-year-old product of Regina, Saskatchewan, has a near-perfect 9-1 record and has won three straight bouts on the heels of beginning his pro career with a 6-0 run.

“Miles has all the makings of a major talent in MMA and it is our goal to ensure that his abilities are sharpened to the point that he is fully prepared to reach the top of this sport,” I don’t want guy’s that just want to compete, I want guys who want to throw down and become champions said Mark Pavelich, of The Firm.

This is becoming a very exciting company with major league athletes and Miles will fit in perfect, he has no limits and his athleticism is off the charts said Ken Franczek of The Firm.

“After seeing a number of his contemporaries reach the ultimate level of MMA, Miles has committed himself to capitalize on all his talents and make the charge to elite status.”

Already an accomplished jiu-jitsu practitioner, Anstead will look to hone his striking skills in preparation for a number of significant bouts The Firm is positioning him for.

Anstead has been credited with three victories via knockout and another four by submission. Of nine wins, five have come inside the first round.

The Firm Sports Management Staff

5 Canadian MMA storylines to watch for in 2017

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All things considered, 2016 was a pretty decent year for Canadian mixed martial arts.

There were ups and downs, for sure, but the year produced big fights from rising prospects, strong cards in major Canadian markets and a regional scene that continues to produce improving, entertaining fight nights.

Looking forward, what’s on the horizon? As the sport continues to grow and develop internationally, can Canada reclaim its place as one of the world’s leading incubators for high-end talent?

Let’s take a look at five storylines Canadian fight fans should keep an eye on in 2017:

  1. Is anybody ready for a run at a belt?

It has been 14 months since Valerie Letourneau became the last Canadian to fight for a UFC title when she lost to Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 193.

Right now, nobody is particularly close to following in her footsteps.

Look past the obvious immediate contenders, though, and there could be a few Canadian title challengers coming down the pipe.

Misha Cirkunov, most notably, has shot up the ranks in the UFC’s light-heavyweight division and is sitting at No. 8 in the official rankings and No. 11 in the more credible rankings.

Cirkunov has smartly asked for a Top 10 opponent and he might only be two or three fights away from a title shot in a division that’s short on depth.

Elsewhere, Olivier Aubin-Mercier is a little further off at lightweight, but he’s won five of six and a solid run against higher-ranked opponents in 2017 could set him up nicely.

Other than those two, it’s pretty slim pickings at the top.

  1. What’s Rory going to do?

Rory MacDonald is arguably the most talented Canadian fighting in MMA today, but his defection from the UFC to Bellator leaves a lot questions unanswered.

Only 18 months ago, he was fighting Robbie Lawler for the UFC welterweight belt in one of the most memorable battles in recent memory, but the damage he suffered in that fight was substantial.

He didn’t look the same when he stepped into the octagon against Stephen Thompson in Ottawa last June, so it’s smart of him to take a year off before fighting again.

There are a lot of interesting fights for him in Bellator, but the spotlight isn’t nearly as bright as it is in the UFC. He has work to do if he wants to stay in any way relevant in the minds of casual fans.

If he can manage to stay in the conversation, Canadian MMA will be better for it.

  1. Who’s getting a call-up?

The last substantial infusion of Canadian talent into the UFC came in 2014 with The Ultimate Fighter: Nations season that pitted Canada against Australia.

Guys like Elias Theodorou, Aubin-Mercier and Chad Laprise have all made an impact, but it’s time for a few new names to get their shot.

Sitting atop the list of Canadian prospects is Hakeem Dawodu. The Calgarian has deservedly made a name for himself in the World Series of Fighting as one of the most intriguing featherweight prospects in the world and has the striking to beat anyone.

Dawodu showed serious improvement on the ground and against the fence in his last fight against Marat Magomedov, and it’s time for him to test his skills against UFC competition.

Bantamweight Jesse Arnett is riding an eight-fight win streak, too, and probably should have gotten a call from UFC brass a while ago.

Fans should also make sure to keep tabs on 19-year-old bantamweight T.J, Laramie, who fights at TKO 37 in Montreal on January 13.

There’s lots of other talent out there as well, and it’d be great to see more of these guys get their chance to shine.

  1. Which markets get fights?

At this point, it’s generally understood that the UFC will make three trips to Canada every year.

That could change under the new ownership group but, assuming nothing changes, Canada will host one pay-per-view event and two other fight cards in 2017.

The question is, which cities will get that opportunity?

Halifax is set to host the first event of the year in Halifax next month, and Toronto hosted a massively successful PPV in December, so it’s probably not in the running for another UFC card this year.

So, where to next?

Ticket sales have been slow in Vancouver the past two times the UFC has visited — most recently in August — and Montreal wasn’t exactly a runaway success when it hosted UFC 186 in 2015.

At this point, it’s almost harder for the UFC to avoid returning to Alberta than it would be to just host an event in Calgary or Edmonton. Dana White has promised a return to Calgary ever since the disastrous UFC 149 event in 2012, and it’s time for him to make good on that guarantee.

Of course, Edmonton has a new arena that would probably love to host a big fight night, so Calgarians might have to make the two-hour drive north if they want to watch a UFC event live.

  1. Anything with GSP?

Between claiming he was a free agent and making himself the public face of a would-be fighters association, in recent months Georges St. Pierre hasn’t made it look like he is on the verge of a return.

That doesn’t mean rumours of his imminent comeback are going to stop circulating any time soon.

Of course, this is a story about Canadian MMA for a Canadian publication, so we still must talk about GSP.

St. Pierre remains the biggest name Canadian fighting has ever produced, and even as it gets more and more unlikely he’ll ever return to the octagon, he’ll continue to be a part of the MMA story.

Or rather, he will be part of the story until one of the aforementioned fighters gets to the point where they can start headlining cards.

Hopefully, that time comes sooner rather than later.

Source: By Daniel Austin, Calgary


Pavelich & Franczek ready to take there place at the head of the table.

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Elite-level athletes now have a first-class sports management company to help them reach their goals of excellence.

The Firm Sports Management is proud to announce its introduction to world-ranked athletes in mixed martial arts, boxing, and extreme sports.

“It’s simple; I’ve been in the MMA business longer and more successful than 98 % of anyone else so why trust your career with others. I like winning more than anything else, not just for myself but for our athletes.” I also love my partner in this business, he’s always been like a brother, so the only person I would of ever done this with would be him. I think it’s very clear for athletes to join our roster – Mark Pavelich The Firm Sports co-owner.

“Our goal is to represent each one of our athletes to the highest level possible in their chosen sport,” said The Firm Sports co-owner Ken Franczek.

“We go beyond creating a plan of action. We create a vision of completion. We ask each athlete what their goals our now, in the future, and at the end of their career. That is a vision – creating immediate, foreseeable, and long-term results.”

The Firm’s staffs are experts in all aspects of the sports business world – contract negotiation, sponsorship, public/media relations, and career planning.

The Firm Sports Management has quickly built and will continue to forge strong working relationships with the UFC, WBC and WBA Boxing, and many more organizations.

“The companies we work with now and in the future are the world’s best, and we are representing only the highest-level of athletes in their sport. The best attract the best,” added Franczek.

The Firm Sports Management offers personalized service, going beyond basic negotiations. We help determine what is best for our athletes and guide them in their ultimate financial and professional decisions. We offer these services below:




Third time’s the harm: N.L. MMA fighter wins first UFC bout after twice-delayed debut

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Ryan Janes takes down Keith Berish in three-round unanimous decision

It took three tries, but Newfoundlander Ryan Janes was ready for his UFC debut, beating Keith Berish at Fight Night 102 in New York.

Janes won the decision — his eighth mixed-martial arts victory in a row — with unanimous 29-28 scores against Berish, who was also making his UFC debut.

“This is magic,” Janes said after the win, according to mixed-martial arts news site MMA Junkie. “It was good to put on an exciting fight, and it’s good to get the UFC win.”

Janes — who was born in Grand Falls-Windsor and grew up in Mount Pearl — is the first Newfoundlander to fight in the UFC. He said he didn’t feel much pressure battling Berish in his hometown of Albany.

‘This is magic. It was good to put on an exciting fight, and it’s good to get the UFC win.’ – Ryan Janes

“I guess I was more preoccupied with this being my UFC debut than being in his backyard. I don’t know if you saw me out there, but I was kind of laughing while they were booing me,” he said.

“I’d like to fight Elias Theodorou next and prove that I’m the best in Canada.”

Friday’s three-round middleweight bout was the first time Janes stepped into the octagon for the UFC.

His first scheduled bout, in August, was scuttled because his opponent was flagged for a potential doping violation. The fighter, Adam Hunter, has since been given a two-year ban after testing positive for several banned substances.

Janes was then scheduled for a bout in Fight Night 97 in the Philippines, but after one of the headlining fighters pulled out, the entire event was cancelled.

By Daniel MacEachern, CBC News

‘An absolute war’: Jelena Mrdjenovich re-claims world featherweight titles with 10-round, unanimous decision over Edith Matthysse

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It was sweet redemption for Jelena Mrdjenovich on Friday night at the Shaw Conference Centre.

Canada’s most decorated female boxer became an eight-time world champion with a unanimous decision (96-93, 96-93, 97-92) victory over Edith Matthysse of Argentina to become the WBC and WBA world featherweight champion.

The rematch was an absolute war for 10 straight rounds.

“The last few rounds, I said (expletive) it. Let’s relax and fight. I thought I owned that fight, but it was an absolute war,” said Mrdjenovich.

“It took me awhile to settle in, I landed some real solid punches, but she’s tough and she came to fight.”

It was a back and forth battle through the midway point of the bout, but Mrdjenovich dominated the final few rounds and almost knocked out Matthysse in the 10th round, landing a vicious combo that dropped Matthysse to her knees. Mrdjenovich finished the final round strong.

“I thought she was going to go, but that’s what makes champions,” said Mrdjenovic. “That’s why she was a two-time champion and the WBA champ, and that’s why we were unifying the women’s division, because she’s tough as nails.”

By: Jason Hills Edmonton Journal