When most people in the MMA community are asked who the most important figures in the sport are, many say Dana White or Scott Coker. However, seasoned members of the community will remember to mention Campbell McLaren. The former UFC head was one of the key players who introduced MMA to the North American market long before it was known as MMA.
Presently, Campbell McLaren is busy turning his Combate Americas, an MMA reality show that premiered last year, into a monthly, live event promotion. To add to its star power, it has been announced former WWE Superstar Alberto Del Rio will be a part of it.
For those unaware about Campbell McLaren’s Combate Americas MMA promotion, it was technically a reality show back in 2014, as reported by MMA Fighting. The season was successful, which included one event in Miami, Florida. The show was so good, it earned the award for Best Variety or Reality Series at the 2014 Imagen Awards.
Combate Americas will be unique among other MMA promotions. It will aim for fast-paced action fights, along with utilizing fighters who have never appeared on a major stage before. A unique feature is the show’s focus on Hispanic fighters, as the promotion is aimed at the Hispanic demographic. Despite the demographic focus, Campbell McLaren is not calling Combate Americas a “Spanish version” of UFC.
“I like World Series of Fighting, but in a way, World Series of Fighting and Bellator, and a bunch of others, they are doing a version of what UFC does. I’m not doing a Spanish version, I think I’m doing a different style of fighting, emphasizing different things, with a little more variety. We’re using guys you won’t see anywhere else because we’re discovering these guys. Our weight classes are 125 to 170 pounds. Like in boxing, I’m taking speed over power in terms of exciting fights. That’s where we focus, fights with a lot of action, a lot of stand-up, and a lot of heart.”
Another interesting detail about Combate Sports is their decision to hire José Rodríguez, as reported by Wrestling Inc. Many may not recognize Rodríguez by his given name, as he is more widely-known by stage names. He is probably most famous for being Alberto del Rio during his run in WWE.
The former wrestling champion will be participating in Combate Americas as one of the show’s announcers, similar to how Joe Rogan is the announcer for UFC. To be frank, it is smart for Campbell McLaren to give such a role to José Rodríguez since he is charismatic. Not only that, but Rodríguez’s MMA experience as a fighter in the sport under the moniker of Dos Caras Jr. may also add value to his commentary.
His career began August 18, 2001, when he won against Kengo Watanabe in Deep: Second Impact. He continued his career for nine more years after that fight. Rodríguez accumulated a record of nine wins and five losses within that time. Probably his most popular fight was a losing effort against Mirko Cro Cop back in 2003.
Right now, Campbell McLaren is working on finding an English-language broadcasting platform for Combate Americas. Its Spanish-language broadcasting platform is NBC Universo. McLaren is also scouting talent for his promotion in different cities across the United States. Two confirmed scouting locations are McAllen, Texas and Hialeah, Florida.
The first showing of Combate Americas will air on Thursday, September 17, 2015 at 11 p.m. EST/8 p.m. PST. It will take place in an outdoor venue from The D Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s main event will feature Ramiro Hernandez taking on Max Ceniceros in a featherweight fight.
[Image courtesy of WWE Promotions]