Ken Pavia says a weekend report that the Super Fight League is in trouble and in imminent danger of ceasing operations is untrue.
The report noted that several event listings had been removed from the SFL website and concluded that the promotion had cancelled these showings. It also reported personnel changes at the SFL reality television show, currently being filmed in India.
Pavia, CEO of Super Fight League, contacted Fighters Only today to rebut the allegations made in the article, which he says “may be the single most irresponsible piece of journalism I have ever seen in my 21 years as a sports agent and now promoter - the piece is speculative, assumptive and devoid of any reputable sources.”
Regarding the moving of SFL 4 to a later date than originally announced, Pavia said it was “pushed back three weeks so as to feature the finals of the Challengers reality show. With the filming scheduled to conclude the final week of August and our broadcast partner wanting to air the finals, a couple of weeks were needed to air the final episodes and give the participants a few weeks to prepare for the event.”
He described the article’s conclusion - “it seems probable that the events have been cancelled” - as “a gigantic and irresponsible leap” and said that the writer had not contacted anyone at SFL for comment or clarification.
In a long email, he also addressed multiple other items from the report which he says are factually inaccurate. These include the departure from the reality show of Indian fighter Chaitanya Gavli. The report claimed it was money-related but Pavia says it was “related to behavior at the sponsored Indian training facility where all housing, food, and training is paid for, and had ZERO to do with late payments.”
“Dan Isaacs was chosen as the head coach for the reality show because he is a highly decorated Indian marital artist and he speaks Hindi the primary language of the show and the competitors. He has assembled a top staff to support his efforts. Serbian fighter Sanja Sucevic was chosen as the female coach because of her impressive win at SFL 1 and was the first choice for the role.
“[The writer] would have his readers believe that these choices were made because he SFL somehow couldn't afford anyone else but he fails to provide any source or support for his personal incorrect beliefs.”
Pavia claims - as he has done consistently - that SFL will be “cash flow positive this year something that took the UFC 10 plus years and tens of millions of dollars to achieve.” He also reiterated his explanation of the SFL business model, which apparently does not rely on ticket sales to generate income. He says this is why tickets were not sold after the first two events.
“The SFL business model varies dramatically from North American MMA. Ours is sponsor and broadcast driven and gate is not a major consideration for revenue. Even though virtually all IPL Cricket matches sell out 40,000 plus venues, the gate revenue pales in comparison to US events,” he says, although there is no denying that attendance looked sparse for the second event.
“It would be interesting to know who these ‘multiple sources’ really are and how they have any clue that ‘the multiple backers’ are starting to lose faith. This is incorrect on so many levels,” added Pavia.
“The truths are the SFL was very pleased with the results from the first three shows, the owners recognized and supported the growth of the events, the Indian fans supported the promotion, the international press covered the events, the model is in place for profitability in year one.”
Fighters Only contacted the writer of the article, James Goyder, and asked for a comment. He refused to identify his sources, in keeping with proper journalistic practice, but did note that Pavia had inadvertently confirmed the departure from the reality show of Chaitanya Gavli. “If I didn’t have sources in the right places, how would I have known that?” he said.
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