In 1993, a relatively unknown Art Davie decided it was time to make a phone call, on the receiving end would be Campbell McLaren and with one simple call, an entire sport was birthed. At the time, McLaren was quickly building up a reputation as one of New Yorks hottest producers, working for SEG a PPV provider and winning a multitude of awards over the years for his contributions. Davie called up as a representative of Rorion Gracie and made his pitch for a ‘War of the Worlds’ style tournament. McLaren upon hearing the concept, started envisioning a Mortal Kombat style fight night and went on to green-light the idea.
McLaren was tasked with producing the show, he was a grandiose showman at heart and wanted the event to be totally over the top, famously creating the slogans ‘There are no rules’. So Rorion, Art and McLaren went on to create the UFC and with it, MMA as a whole was formed.
Since leaving the UFC, McLaren has slowly been building up a new MMA empire with Comabate Americas, despite the promotion starting off slow in 2011, they’re now going strong, bringing in hundreds of thousands of views per event. There’s two things that makes Combate so unique. The first is the fact that it’s the only real MMA promotion in Latin America, and it’s a marketplace were boxing has usually dominated, yet MMA is a new breath of fresh air. The second is that Combate has put a real focus and emphasis on the idea of fighting for national pride, as the multiple nations compete against each other for bragging rights, similar to what would happen in soccer.
Despite the promotion being a true runaway success in the Latin America market, it hasn’t yet taken off and gotten the real mainstream coverage from the MMA community that it deserves, we think that Combate put on epic shows and deserve way more praise than what they get! So here’s four reasons why you should watch.
- Truly amazing fights
In the USA, most fighters come into MMA with an already impressive ground arsenal, this is because the sport of wrestling is so mainstream that it’s instilled into so many athletes, it means that from the get-go; US fighters already have a head-start in the grappling department as the majority have been wrestling since their early teens. So your US fighters are more into grappling than striking. In Latin America it’s the total opposite, as elite high-school and college wrestling teams simply don’t exist, the mainstream avenue is boxing so most MMA fighters are gifted with striking skills instead of grappling from an early age. So in essence the Latin American fighters are pre-dispositioned to favour ‘Stand and bang’ over the wrestling and grappling you’ll see in the US promotions. It may sound slightly conspiracy theory-ish, but when you actually go out and watch Combate America, the fights are so awesome in comparison to those in the US as the wall and stall and constant grinding is replaced with tantalising kickboxing and boxing exchanges.
2. It’s on at good times and the pacing is good
With the UFC and Bellator dominating the limelight, we’re so used to spending our entire Saturday nights glued to the TV watching MMA. The only alternative promotions to watch are the PFL and the contender series which are on late night on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That’s cool, but people have to go to work the next morning and maybe don’t have all night to waste watching fights. Combate is usually on a Friday night and they only show a handful of fights so you’re free to watch away till your heart’s content as you’ll probably have the Saturday off. The pacing is pretty great too, a couple of fights are shown and boom it’s over quick. It’s not like the UFC which broadcasts for 6-8 hours per event.
3. It’s on DAZN
Chances are, if you’re a fist fighting fan, you’ve already signed up to DAZN. It’s a tremendous service and one which showcases both MMA and boxing. You’re already getting Combate as part of your subscription, so why not tune in and make the most of it?
4. The more people watch, the freakier their fights and production will get
With recent signings such as Tito Ortiz and by having a madman like McLaren as your promoter, basically nothing is certain, the promotion could do anything! Combate is a real underdog promotion in a stacked field of competitors, but they’ve got the craziness factor to beat the competition. The other promotions aren’t nowhere near as willing to experiment and try crazy stuff out, now that Combate is gaining real success in the Latin America market, who knows where they will go from here as they gain more resources and have the ability to roll the dice.