If you see WWE alum Alberto Del Rio at his favorite restaurant in San Antonio, he will probably be eating “Volcanes,” a hard tortilla with cheese and steak.
La Cantinita, which opened in 2016, is Del Rio’s eatery of choice. It has to be. He owns it.
Del Rio, 40, continues to add to his plate with the latest venture Copa Combate, a historic one night, eight-man MMA tournament on Nov. 11 in his native Mexico. The 90-minute show will be the first live MMA event carried by Telemundo in conjunction with Combate Americas.
Del Rio is an integral part of Combate Americas, the company presenting Copa Combate.
Del Rio discusses his role with Combate Americas MMA, competing in Greco Roman wrestling, making the Mexican national team, Olympic aspirations as a youth, MMA, WWE, Impact Wrestling, Bound for Glory in Canada, changes in the company, how much longer he will wrestle and more.
Del Rio discusses Copa Combate, winning the GFW/Impact Wrestling unified title at Slammiversary XV, his famous father Dos Caras, women in wrestling and MMA, and his restaurant La Cantinita in San Antonio.
“Now the Mexican fans are educated when it comes to MMA,” said Del Rio, a former MMA fighter. “When I started fighting in Japan, people were just starting to find out what MMA was all about. I can say I was one of the pioneers in my country when it comes to MMA. They didn’t really know much about it back then. Right now they’re liking it; they’re loving it, especially with Combate showing fights every single week.”
“People, they like sports. People like the fights. People like to see two or three or four individuals going at it and trading punches. So it was just a matter of time for fans and also for the sport to evolve and be what it is today. I think that is the reason why everybody’s loving MMA – kids, teenagers, women, everybody.”
COPA COMBATE ON TELEMUNDO
- Live broadcast on Telemundo, beginning at 11:30 pm ET on Saturday, Nov. 11.
- This marks the first live Telemundo broadcast of MMA fighting.
- Live English feed with a dedicated announce team, including UFC superstar Gilbert Melendez, via SAP function on Telemundo
- Preliminary bout card will stream live on Telemundo.com
ABOUT COPA COMBATE MMA
Combate Americas and Telemundo Deportes announced at a news conference on Wednesday, Oct. 4 in the Wynwood district of Miami, a landmark partnership to produce the first Telemundo broadcast of a live mixed martial arts event.
COPA COMBATE is a one-night, eight-man tournament, with the winner persevering through three bouts to take home $100,000.
The event will occur on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 11:30 p.m. ET/ 8:30 p.m. PT live from Cancun, Mexico. WWE alum Alberto Del Rio, who was in Miami for the press conference, is from Mexico and also a Combate Americas television announcer.
The historic, 90-minute live broadcast on Telemundo will coincide with the 24th anniversary of the now legendary UFC 1, which was executive produced by Ultimate Fighting Championship co-founder and Combate Americas CEO Campbell McLaren, and which was also headlined by a one-night, eight-man tournament.
“We are incredibly excited to partner with Telemundo Deportes and to bring back to life, live on Telemundo, the leading U.S. broadcast television network, the most thrilling format for competitive fighting that was responsible for changing the combat sports world forever when I introduced the UFC in 1993,” McLaren said in a release.
Ray Warren, President of Telemundo Deportes, added: “Telemundo Deportes is committed to continue expanding its portfolio of sports events, and we are thrilled to partner with Combate Americas to bring this unique MMA tournament to millions of Hispanic viewers. Copa Combate is a tournament created for our core audience featuring an exciting format and a diverse group of Hispanic competitors, and we look forward to an historic broadcast.”
COPA COMBATE will assemble a collection of the most fearsome stars in MMA’s bantamweight (135 pounds) division, hailing from the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain, Colombia, Argentina, and Peru, and will see them battle in La Jaula, the Combate Americas competition cage, over the course of three tournament stages – quarterfinal, semifinal and championship – before the eventual winner is crowned.
The event marks the first time in history that fighters will represent their respective countries on a quest to win the inaugural ‘Copa.’
Joining the previously announced John “Sexy Mexy” Castaneda (14-2) of Mankato, Minn. in the tournament field, will be the highest ranked bantamweight fighters in their respective countries:
Marcelo “Pitbull” Rojo (12-4) of Cordoba, Argentina
Carlos “Lobo” Rivera (10-2) of Mexico City, Mexico
Mikey “El Terrible” Erosa (12-5) of San Juan, Puerto Rico
Marc “Lufo” Gomez (20-10) of Barcelona, Spain
Andres “Doble A” Ayala (11-4) of Bogota, Colombia
Kevin “El Frio” Moreyra (4-1) of Lima, Peru
Filling the eighth spot in the tournament field will be wild card entry, Ricky “El Gallero” Palacios (9-1) of Mission, Texas.
Palacios, a 30-year- old knockout artist, is riding a six-fight win streak, and is tied with Castaneda for the most wins – six – held under the Combate Americas promotional umbrella. In his last two starts, Palacios earned decisions over UFC veterans Roman Salazar and Chris Avila, respectively.
The eight competitors will be separated into four tournament brackets, with the top four fighters given seeded positions based on their worldwide rankings.
Quarterfinal stage opponents for the four fighters will be determined based on a lottery ball drawing that will occur on a date to be announced.
Telemundo’s live broadcast of COPA COMBATE will feature the tournament’s semifinal stage consisting of two bouts that pit the winners of the quarterfinal stage bouts in each tournament bracket against one another. The entire quarterfinal stage of the tournament will stream live on the Telemundo Deportes En Vivo app and TelemundoDeportes.com.
Telemundo Deportes, one of the leading providers of sports content in Spanish in the United States, is home to two of the world’s most popular sporting events: the FIFA World Cup through 2026 and the Summer Olympic Games through 2032. In addition, Telemundo Deportes broadcasts the FIFA World Cup CONCACAF qualifying matches for most of the region, including the Mexico and USA national teams’ away matches and the Premier League.
Telemundo Deportes is also home to “Boxeo Telemundo Ford,” the #1 boxing program in Spanish, and “Titulares y Más,” the #1 sports news, entertainment and commentary show in Spanish, among other recognized sports properties.
ABOUT COMBATE AMERICAS
Combate Americas, LLC. is the first U.S. Hispanic Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) sports franchise in history, designed to build Latino fighting champions and serve Hispanic fans, one of the world’s most avid groups of prize fighting enthusiasts. The Combate Americas franchise includes reality TV programming, live events and mobile programming.
The company’s CEO, Campbell McLaren, is universally recognized as the co-founder/co- creator of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). New York Magazine described McLaren as the marketing genius behind the UFC; and Yahoo! Sports proclaimed that he knows more about the sport than just about anyone in it today. With an unprecedented product and a blue-chip ownership and management team, Combate Americas is poised to break new ground and bring about a new era in world championship level MMA competition.
Combate Americas is available on the FITE TV app. It is also broadcast in the United States at 10 p.m. ET Fridays on Azteca America and weekly on NBC Universo.
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