Ondřej Novotný and Pavol Neruda started Oktagon MMA with a dream, but to make their wildest fantasies a reality, they needed a ferocious team, featuring esteemed events director Michal Pavel.
Since its inception, the European promotion has done whatever it takes to stand out from the pack. While delivering the match-ups fans want to see, they’ve taken the initiative to make sure their events are much more than a mere night of MMA.
From a dazzling light show that illuminates the venue, to a charismatic monkey named ‘Gogi’ who fires T-shirts into the crowd, Oktagon aims to deliver a spectacle that fight enthusiasts will remember for the rest of their lives. But it wouldn’t be possible without Pavel’s hard work.
On November 4 at the AO Arena in Manchester, the European promotion delivered a fantastic show, featuring a celebrity showdown between Jake Quickenden and Paul Smith and an epic title fight between cancer survivor, Aaron Aby and UFC veteran Elias Garcia.
However, without the tireless commitment from Pavel behind the scenes, the event wouldn’t have been anywhere near as amazing as it was.
In an exclusive interview with Sporf, he said: “It’s quite different to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany. But on the other hand, it’s the same weigh-in, same cage, same fighters. But there are different people, with different manners and different habits. There’s a different audience. That was the biggest difference, I think.”
Michal Pavel opens up on the reality of what it’s like to be Oktagon MMA’s events director
Having taken over The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany, Oktagon has made the decision to embark on a quest to replicate its success in the UK. But in order to do that, Pavel needs to ensure that the arenas have the same aesthetic appeal as what we’ve seen across Europe. Therefore, he’s tasked with ensuring that everything from the lights to the cage reaches British soil.
He explained: “In England, we’ve got some spots we’d like to visit over the next few months. So, we have to go to the arena to see if it’s suitable for us. We must check if it’s a good one, if it’s got good attendance, and if we can have a great show there because we need to make sure the roof can hold our lights. We have to get the plans for the arena. Then we have to contact riggers and hostesses.”
Pavel continued: “Security is also a big thing, so we must work with them very often. Next up, we have to find the hotel. Because we have a different menu for fighters and staff, we have to work out what we can do for them. So, that’s what I do on a daily basis. With doing an event in England, we have to book flights for people from Czech Republic and Slovakia. We have to go looking for spots for public weigh-ins. If it’s in a hotel, we have to make sure the hotel has space for the weigh-in.
“The biggest challenge is customs. We have our own cage, which travels from Slovakia via Germany, the Czech Republic, and France. I’m very happy to announce lights, sound, cage, and all the equipment made it to Manchester.”
Michal Pavel can’t wait for the future of Oktagon MMA
After an epic debut in the UK, Oktagon MMA can’t wait to return to our shores, with an event in Newcastle already booked for January 27. Consequently, in just two months, Pavel will have to go through the customs and logistics all over again. However, having been born with an overwhelming desire to do his job to his optimum ability, he lives for the challenge.
Pavel concluded: “This was officially Oktagon 48. But we called it Oktagon 1 because it was the first venue in the UK. But there will be many more.”
Featured Image Credit: Oktagon MMA