With the upcoming premiere of Combate Americas, some are already anticipating more seasons to follow. The Latino MMA reality series will air its first show February 23 on the Spanish Network mun2 (a division of NBC Universal). During a recent media luncheon, the cast and production crew previewed the series which founder Campbell McLaren says will be different than any other of its kind.
“We are going to take all the success of MMA and go to a new group of combat sports fans…reach out to people who want to learn about MMA,” explained McLaren when asked the goal of “Combate”. The other obvious goal is to build a strong base for the Latino community that McLaren believes is more passionate than other fight fans.
With Grammy winning Latin superstar Daddy Yankee on board he’s sure to accomplish that. Yankee talked about his role in “Combate” and his experience as a fighter. “I know what it’s all about,” said the former professional boxer that is ready to learn about MMA and represent “Combate” viewers. After being huge on boxing so long he noticed that MMA was becoming more popular and wanted to get involved. And he didn’t just want a small role either. From the beginning Yankee made it clear to McLaren that he wasn’t going to settle with celebrity cameos, and as a result became the show’s commissioner.
Combate isn’t an idea McLaren dreamed up overnight either. “I’ve been thinking about Combate for a long time,” said the UFC founder. In the early days of UFC, the producer teamed with MMA’s royal Gracie family to launch the sport that “had no rules.” Now with Combate he is coming full circle with help of MMA legend Royce Gracie. “You have to have Royce if you do this,” McLaren said, adding, “He is a legend of MMA.”
Gracie, who will make several appearances on the show, told reporters that it was more mental than physical help he provided the group of ten fighters.
“I taught them how to approach fights,” he said. The UFC 1 winner reflected on his days growing up with fighting, and echoed McLaren’s earlier statement about the passion of Latino fighters. “In Brazil, it was personal because it wasn’t on TV…we grew up with that.”
Among the other personalities are TV/Radio broadcaster Andrea Calle, Elvis Crespo, Joe Valtellini, El Blue Demo Jr., and Latin duo Chino and Nacho. And of course there are the show’s competitors that were chosen out of 650 candidates. In attendance for the press conference were competitors JC Llamas and Danny Morales, who both reflected on their journey to Combate and “making an MMA movement” in their communities.
Authentic storytelling is what has made mun2 grow according to Diana Mogollon, Executive Vice President and General Manager of mun2, and in her opinion is what will make Combate successful as well. She commented on how getting to know everyone was the best part of the experience, and how the fighters inspired her whole crew that watched.
Combate will have two different weight classes with the winners earning an exclusive three fight deal. The first of four cards this year will take place in Chicago (date not set). Non-Spanish speaking fans can follow also with subtitles, and action which McLaren suggest can be understood in any language.