Combate Americas’ brand of MMA is geared up for their largest production to date, as founder Campbell McLaren and company have teamed up with El Clasico to bring you Combate Classico, this Thursday night in Miami, Florida. El Clasico is a week chalked full of events and activities, all being capped off with a world renowned soccer match between mega franchises Barcelona and Real Madrid, which will be their 1st squaring off against each other, outside of Spain, in over 30 years. Before manning the helm of Combate Classico, Campbell McLaren caught up with Bloody Elbow to discuss how he linked up with El Classico, scoring a T.V. deal with ESPN, and his take on Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather.
*Combate Clasico is scheduled to air live in the U.S. on Azteca America and ESPN3 at 10 P.M. ET on Thursday, July 27, 2017.
- How in the world did you link up with El Classico down in Miami, Florida?
“For those that don’t know, The Clasico is the most famous futbol/soccer match in the world. It’s Real Madrid vs. Barcelona. Two Spanish teams that are populated with Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Carles Puyol was the captain of Barcelona for many years. The most famous players play for them from all over the world. It’s the greatest soccer match. El Clasico hasn’t been played outside of Spain in 20 years, so this is pretty historic. We’re partnered with RSE, which Steve Ross’ company. Steve owns the Miami Dolphins. He knows about Combate; he’s been a Combate fan for a long time, and said he was doing this event, and they thought we’d make a great addition. Wednesday night is Juventus vs. PSG, then our fight, there’s a Drake concert on Friday, and then El Clasico on Saturday. It’s going to be amazing.”
- Will you be attending the Drake concert?
“You know what? I got to say. I want you to know this. I think Drake is a poser. I think he’s a punk. I think when he tries to go after Floyd, I think he’s a pussy, and if I see him ever in public, I’m going to bitch slap him. That’s what I think.”
- What sparked this beef with Drizzy Drake?
“He’s a suburban kid that wants to act like a tough guy. My girls will kick the shit out of him. Kyra will knock the shit out of you, Drake. Bring your bodyguards. What a pussy! Can I say pussy?”
- Striking up a deal with ESPN3:
“We have done spectacularly well with ESPN in Latin America. They’re top rated. We’re killing it in Argentina and Chile. We’re also on in Mexico, on channel 7, and I’m pleased to say, we’re doing 3.5 million viewers on the live event in Mexico. That beats the UFC’s live numbers on FOX and Televisa combined. Three and a half million f-cking viewers. That’s a lot of motherf-ckers. So, ESPN noticed that, and I think they realized that they needed to maybe take a chance with us. It’s ABC; it’s Disney. They’re a very conservative company; they’ve never done MMA, but I think they saw that what we were doing is exciting.”
- How was the English deal with ESPN structured; a specific number of events or a time frame based contract?
“Well, we’re signed on for a multi-year contract in Latin America, and this one, we both wanted to come in and work very hard to make this work. If it doesn’t work for me, I can get out of it. If it doesn’t work for them, I will let them out of it.”
- Are you responsible for the Combate Clasico main event involving Abner Lloveras (20-9-1) from Barcelona, taking on Javier Fuentes (9-4) from Madrid?
“Look, I’ll be very honest with you; it’s a gimmick, but it’s a darn good gimmick. There’s 2 fights I want to see, Kyra and Vanessa. Vanessa Rico, also from Spain. Kyra Batara, our little “Mogwai,” my personal favorite, everybody knows it. She’s the teacher’s pet; there’s no doubt. She’s our Ronda Rousey. She’s been so dominant in this sport. She’s a cutie, she was a cheerleader, a little blondie. She did a summersault in a fight and landed on top of her opponent. I’ve seen a lot of fights; that was the first time I saw a summersault…
… and of course, Nate Diaz guy, [Chris] Avila vs. Ricky Palacios. Someone said, ‘is that going to be fight of the night?’ I said, ‘no, that’s the war of the year.’ Those 2 guys. If you represent with Nate, the 209, you know how you got to roll. And Ricky Palacios, I think Ricky’s skull is 6 inches thick. I don’t think you could knock him out with a brick. So, yes we got a gimmick, but I think we’ve also got a night of tremendous fights, some of the best stuff you’ll see in MMA this year.”
- What is next for Combate Americas?
“I think what we’ve got to do is just expand on the work we’re doing. We’re going to be doing an event a month. We want to go to this foreign country called Texas. We heard Texas is amazing. We’ve got to get there. I think we’re going to be in San Antonio in October. We’re going to bring back the tournament format for 135 pounders, 8-man 1 night tournament. We’re going to do that in Acapulco in the fall. That’s a very big deal, and we’re going to launch something called Copa Combate, which will be the first ever MMA cup ever put together, like the Copa Americas.”
- Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor:
“It’s going to make a lot of money. What are they saying, 5 million buys at $100? That’s a half a billion dollars. It’s good for somebody! Floyd is a one of a kind, maybe once in a lifetime fighter. When I did the ‘Iron Ring,’ the T.V. show I did with BET that actually brought black fighters into MMA for the 1st time, Floyd was in that show, so I gave him a team of MMA fighters. So, I got to know him; he’s a star. He was actually very good to work with, always hit the mark. Is he the best defensive boxer of all time? Probably. I went with Lorenzo and Dana to see Conor fight in Dublin about 2 years ago. That was an awesome experience. Conor is very much the real deal. If Floyd is the best defensive boxer in history, I don’t think Conor is the best aggressive boxer in history, so I kind of think that’s how it’s going to go. Conor’s got a puncher’s chance. Anything can happen; he’s definitely younger.”
“Floyd doesn’t play, and I’m not saying Conor does, Conor’s very serious, but you know. Look, I admitted freely at the top of this interview, that my Barcelona vs. Real Madrid was a gimmick, a good gimmick, but a gimmick. This is a gimmick; it’s an exceptional gimmick, but it’s a gimmick”
Check out Bloody Elbow’s Combate Classico interview with Eddie Bravo’s atomweight protege, Kyra Batara:
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