Maximum Fighting Birchak’s Shining Moment Makes Sports Illustrated Photos Of The Year

Birchak’s shining moment makes Sports Illustrated Photos of the Year

Bantamweight champion’s celebration shot captured at MFC 39

A spectacular moment of championship glory has earned Anthony Birchak and
the Maximum Fighting Championship a spot in the prestigious Sportsman of the
Year issue of Sports Illustrated.

Poised on the ring ropes in celebration, Birchak’s captured image is
prominently displayed as one of SI’s Photos of the Year.

“Absolutely surreal,” said Birchak. “I got a Facebook message from someone I
haven’t talked to in four years telling me I’m in Sports Illustrated. I was
thinking not that long ago that I’ve done a lot in my career so far but I
was still waiting for that ‘A-ha!’ moment. This is definitely that kind of

The photo was taken at MFC 38 when Birchak capped a tripleheader of title
fights by winning the MFC world bantamweight championship with a
second-round submission of Tito Jones. His spot in Sports Illustrated’s
Photos of the Year puts him alongside such world-renowned notables as
Olympic and World champion sprinter Usain Bolt, Masters champion Adam Scott,
and Dave Bolland, who scored the 2013 Stanley Cup winning goal for the
Chicago Blackhawks. It’s the only mixed martial arts picture featured.

“Anthony became well-known in the MMA world in 2013 but this is something
that puts him on the map in the real world of sports,” said MFC
Owner/President Mark Pavelich. “I’ve read Sports Illustrated all my life and
for an MFC fighter to be in it and as part of the Photos of the Year, that
is just an amazing accomplishment.”

Photographer Amber Bracken was perfectly positioned at ringside to capture
the image, though at first, she thought she may have missed the moment.

“I remember being disappointed Anthony Birchak didn’t turn my way when he
was celebrating but I guess the photo turned out anyway,” said Bracken. “I
was pretty surprised when a friend told me it made the SI Sportsmen of the
Year edition. It’s not too often you see Edmonton events represented like
that. The whole thing is pretty cool.”

Bracken’s work initially appeared in the Edmonton Sun and throughout the QMI
Agency chain of newspapers and websites. Sun photographers are well-regarded
for their sports acumen though being in Sports Illustrated is certainly a
crowning achievement.

“We are proud that one of our top sports pictures produced in a great sports
town like Edmonton was featured on the world stage that Sports Illustrated
offers,” said Tom Braid, Photo Editor of the Edmonton Sun.

Birchak, who recently earned the MFC Fight of the Year for 2013, is expected
to make the first title defense of his bantamweight crown at MFC 40.

Tickets for MFC 39: No Remorse, taking place at the Northlands Expo Centre
in Edmonton, Alberta, on Friday, January 17 are on sale now at as well via the MFC Ticket
Hotline by calling (780) 504-2024.

About William Smith

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