While championship belts have long been the norm in sports such as boxing and MMA, championship rings have usually been the realm of team sports such as baseball and football.
MFC bantamweight champion Anthony Birchak is hoping to change that.
After winning his title last year, Birchak received a custom championship ring courtesy of one of his sponsors. The reason he opted for such an item on top of the normal title belt he received from the MFC was for issues surrounding those very belts.
“Everyone saw the controversy between (MFC President) Mark Pavelich and (former MFC middleweight champion) Elvis Mutapcic when Elvis left the MFC to go to the WSOF,” said Birchak. “Elvis was supposed to give the belt back.
“Everyone signed this thing saying champions are supposed to give the belt back – I’ve signed it; (current MFC middleweight champion) Sam Alvey’s signed it – that once we leave, vacate the title or lose, we have to give the belt back.”
So it was with that in mind that Birchak decided to get a ring to commemorate his title win on top of his title belt.
“It was something I had thought about before the fight with Tito Jones had even happened,” said Birchak. “I have this sponsor, My Urban Swagga out of Dubai, and I told them about the title fight upcoming and said if I won that I would like something like a Super Bowl championship ring.
“Once I won the championship and saw the whole drama between Mark and Elvis, I though the championship ring is looking like the best idea I had in my life.”
Not only will the ring remain in Birchak’s possession should he no longer have his MFC title, he also explained the practical side of having a ring for everyday use.
“If you’re not doing a press conference or a signing, I absolutely think a championship ring is the way to go,” said Birchak. “Mark Pavelich liked the idea so much after I showed him a picture of it that he said all of the MFC champions are going to receive a ring from now on.
“I know the IFL tried (championship rings) back in the day, but theirs were kind of gaudy. Mine is classy, elegant, simple, and to the point.”
Slated to defend his title for the first time on May 9 against Kevin Croom, Birchak told MMAWeekly.com that he is looking to make this year his best year yet.
“Everyone says that winning the title is easy, but keeping it is the hard part, and I absolutely agree with that,” he said. “I think 2013 was the biggest year of my career so far, but I plan on doing bigger and better things in 2014.
“I’m going to prove to everybody that just because I won the title that I’m not training just as hard. I’m still grinding day in and day out and getting myself ready, my teammates ready, everything’s the same but you’re going to see a more mature, more put together Anthony Birchak in 2014.”