In celebration of Cinco De Mayo, Champions takes a look at the history and inception of Combate Americas, MMA's first Hispanic promotion.
Combate Americas started out as a reality show on Hispanic television (think "The Ultimate Fighter," but in Spanish). It won the Imagen Award for “Best Reality or Variety Series,” making it the first fight TV program to win a major award. After a successful television run the fight promotion, which is run by UFC co-creator Campbell McLaren debuted in Miami, FL in December 2013. After a few false starts, the promotion re-launched in September of 2016 in the fight capitol of the world, Las Vegas, NV. The promotion has gone on to host 13 fight cards, with the 14th card planned for Ventura, CA.
The promotion has yet to crown any champions but is well on its way with the likes of lightweight phenom Jose "Froggy" Estrada, bantamweight powerhouse John Castaneda and a whole slew of fearsome women on the roster. The promotion has featured almost all Hispanic fighters, but doesn't discriminate as long as "they fight like a Mexican," according to McLaren. Combate is known for its stand-up fights, and high finish ratio due, in part, to McLaren's innovative "finishing" bonus, which rewards ALL fights that end inside of the distance.
The brains behind the all-Hispanic promotion is McLaren, who is one of the creators of the UFC, as well as an award-winning producer. One of the first things that McLaren did after establishing the promotion was hire former WWE superstar Alberto Del Río (El Presidente) as the President of the organization and to act as the face of Combate. He brings along with him his future bride, Paige (of #WWE fame) who is referred to as the "first lady of Combate Americas."
In addition to the WWE tie-in, McLaren hired Andrea Calle and Eric Kelly to represent on the mic.
Check out the big names who have lent their support:
Something that sets Combate apart from other promotions is its huge viewership opportunities, thanks to its TV and streaming deals which have led to the promotion being featured on UFC Fight Pass, TV Azteca, and ESPN Latin America. Its events are held all over the world and are always sold out.
What's Next for Combate Americas
Combate Americas just hosted its first event in Mexico when it traveled to Mexico City for Combate 10. It was also one of the first major MMA promotions to hold an event in New York state (even before UFC 205). The promotion has hopes to expand to other countries in the future with a possible trip to Spain on the horizon.
Combate Americas kicks off Combate 14 this week when it hosts its first show on Cinco De Mayo.