Cambell McLaren, who worked the New York comedy club circuit and started the Ultimate Fighting Championship, took what he learned from both entertaining ventures and parlayed that into a new eye-opening endeavor, Combate Americas.
Combate Americas LLC., the first U.S. Hispanic Mixed Martial Arts sports franchise in history, is designed to build Latino fighting champions and serve Hispanic fans.
McLaren, 61, who is the co-founder/co-creator of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), is the CEO of Combate Americas.
Combate Americas -- which debuted in Mexico in January -- is gearing for Copa Combate, a one-night tournament broadcast live on Telemundo (Spanish) and NBCSN (English) on Saturday, Nov. 11.
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McLaren worked with the best talent in comedy and later the best talent in MMA. That’s entertainment and sports.
McLaren is an award-winning television producer and TV executive. He began his career in New York at Caroline’s Comedy Club (now Caroline’s on Broadway) as talent director. He began producing TV shows for cable, network and pay-per-view in 1989, winning awards including the Cable Ace and the Imagen Award.
McLaren discusses Combate Americas, UFC’s influence, the beginnings of UFC, PPV buy rates for the early UFC shows, the celebrity interest in UFC, pop culture, the TV show “Friends,” Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington, the movie “Virtuosity,” Leonardo DiCaprio and more.
McLaren attended the University of California at Berkeley. He also studied video production at MIT.
In 1993, McLaren was the head of programming for SEG, BMG’s pay-per-view television company. He received a call from Art Davie representing Rorion Gracie and his “War of the Worlds,” a martial arts tournament idea. McLaren envisioned a reality version of the hit video game “Mortal Kombat,” and immediately put the concept into development.
The result was the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which premiered on pay-per-view on Nov. 12, 1993.
McLaren’s controversial marketing slogan “There Are No Rules.”
He discusses UFC the beginnings, Sen. John McCain helping or hurting UFC, other sports, insight, and more.
McLaren also talked more about UFC as well as publicity, his vision, Hispanic MMA fighters, Latin America, ratings and more.
McLaren discusses working with WWE alum Alberto Del Rio (Impact Wrestling’s Alberto El Patron). Del Rio is a former MMA fighter and hails from a famous Mexican wrestling family. McLaren also talks MMA fighters, UFC, comedy clubs and more.
COPA COMBATE MMA ON LIVE TV
- Live broadcast on Telemundo, beginning at 11:30 p.m. ET/ 8:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, Nov. 11, featuring the tournament’s semifinals and final and the co-main event between strawweights Melissa Martinez (2-0) and Gloria Bravo (4-2).
- 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
- Live English feed on NBCSN also at 11:30 p.m. ET/ 8:30 p.m. PT
- Preliminary bout card will stream live on Telemundo.com
ABOUT COPA COMBATE MMA
Combate Americas and Telemundo Deportes announced at a news conference in October 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. UFC 1 was also headlined by a one-night, eight-man tournament.
COPA COMBATE, which will also be broadcast live in English on NBCSN, 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 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.
Also, women’s MMA action will be featured as Gloria Gloriosa Bravo (4-2) battles Melissa Super Melly Martinez (2-0) in the co-main event of the live Telemundo broadcast.
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 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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