Combate Americas debut episode, PLUS founder AMA

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Watch Combate Americas on mun2 Sundays 10 pm ET

UFC Co-founder Campbell McLaren did n AMA on the UG ON Sunday, to promote his latest effort, Combate Americas.

An MIT and UC-Berkley grad, McLaren his career as the talent director for the legendary comedy clubs Catch A Rising Star and Caroline’s. As  Executive Producer for Semaphore Entertainment Group (SEG), in just six months McLaren developed, branded, and promoted the inaugural Ultimate Fighting Championship.

McLaren has been involved in countless successful media projects since, including co-founding Zilo Networks, which became the nation's largest dorm-room television network, launching the hugely popular website, creating and producing both TuNite con Lorenzo Parro, the first U.S. bilingual talk show, and Comedy Salsa, HBO's first Hispanic comedy speciaL.

His latest venture is Combate Americas, Inc., the first Hispanic MMA sports franchise which includes a reality TV series for NBCU's mun2 network, live events, and mobile programming. He serves as CEO.



This is the series debut episode.

Malcolm McLaren AMA

I have a couple of questions about the UU 96 and hope they're deemed appropriate.
1. In your opinion was Ken Shamrock really injured when he pulled out after the first round or did his nerves get to him or maybe he just thought he would lose against tank?
2. Don Frye vs Mark Hall is widely regarded as a fixed fight. Whats your opinion on this? 

Campbell McLaren
Ken was like a Ferrari back then–super powerful but hard to keep tuned. I'm surprised how little he was injured.
I know better than to argue with Big John but I don't see it. Mark was the Joe Lozito of his day. I found him after reading an article about a guy foiling a liquor store robbery with his martial arts skills. He was outclassed but was all heart. and I think Don would have preffered to beat the shit out of him. Again.

MMA Playwright
1. How would Dan Quinn have done in UFC 1?
2. Would Dan Quinn dominate the UFC now, if the rules prohibited kicks and takedowns?
3. Have you tried stevia?
4. Will you post Dan Quinn's bond so that he can get out and start getting the word out about stevia?
5. Have you seen “The Play™” by Dan Quinn, back when he was the best player on a talented Notre Dame squad?
Thank you in advance.

Campbell McLaren
No idea how Dan Quinn would do, avoided Stevia after watchin Breaking Bad and good luck with the play.

MMA Playwright
Okay, let's go with something different than my last set of questions:
Are you in touch with John Perretti? What do you think of his new sport, if you know of it, which is described as a combat sport with a ball involved?
Also, what is your opinion of XARM, if you have one?

Campbell McLaren
Perreti was at UFC after I left. I have no idea about his new sport or his balls.
Art Davie is a very creative guy. XARM was interesting.

I would like to know just how much of a percentage would you say that Rorion Gracie contributed to making the UFC,besides introducing his family?
Was he one of the actual investors of WOW Promotions?

Campbell McLaren
Rorion's contribution to The UFC is immense. Even though I formed the TV elements, helping create the Octagon, bringing in Joe Rogan and Joe Silva, finding the “big rastlers” as Jim Brown called them, Rorion and Royce were the UFC's power and heart. No Gracies no UFC. But no Campbell no PPV.
I helped Art and Rorion raise money for WOW–there was video of that on Fox's Fighting For a Generation doc.

When you first started the company, did just see an opportunity to make some money, or did you think/know you were creating an actual sport? 
Now there's talk about it being in the Olympics some day. Did you think that far out in '93?

Campbell McLaren
I'm not sure I saw it as a sport in the beginning. Joe Silva keeps repeating that I said ” The worst thing that could happen to The UFC is that it would become a sport.” I don't remember saying that but Joe keeps quoting me. I knew it was something big though.
Did I know it would make money? Yes.

More Andrea Calle please.

Campbell McLaren
No one can get enough Andrea Calle.

Funaki Masakatsu #1
How badly did SEG want to book Tank vs Shamrock? And what was the main roadblock for this fight never happening? 

Campbell McLaren
Everyone wanted Tank vs Shamrock. Ken fights angry and Tank fights laughing. Tank once took a Ken poster and cut out a vagina picture from Penthouse magazine and put over Ken's speedo's . He hung up the picture backstage where all the fighters did their walk out.
Not sure why it never happened.

How many times did you have to get Tank out of trouble?

Campbell McLaren
Tank was always in trouble. His gang with Bird Dog and Eddie went cruising around in their “war wagon” until they found trouble ie, people that would actully fight them. They made me think of the three stooges only dangerous.

Were there any high level wrestlers or judoka that weren't allowed in or blown off in the first few UFCs? I always wondered about if hand picked “tough guys” were brought in to showcase GJJ/BJJ.

Campbell McLaren
There were no fighters who were turned away from The UFC. Royce and Rorion NEVER tried to influence fighter selection. Ever.  That includes Olympic wrestlers like Dan Severn, Mark Shultz etc.
I kept trying to get those with super-secret-five-fingers-of-death skils to enter. Wing Chun expert Emin Boesteppe reputedly could kill you with his thumb alone. But he never showed up.

Rope a dope
What was the rule set for the first couple of UFCs and how/when did it change? I read somewhere that 3 techniques were banned in the first UFC, biting, eye gouging and groin strikes. The announcers talk about an illegal groin strike and Royce was angry that Gordeau bit him but on the JRE you made it sound that it was literally no rules when you talked about how you tried to get kung fu guys who claimed to be expert eye gougers.

Campbell McLaren
UFC I really had no rules. Rorion stood up at the fighters meeting and said  “there is no biting. We are not animals” and sat down. That was it. But by UFC II we let refs stop the fight.

Knowing what you know now, if you were able to handpick the fighters available in 93 would you pick the same fighters or go a different route?  Who would you choose and why?
How do you think Royce Gracie vs Emmanual Yarbrough would have turned out
What advice would you offer a young fighter getting started in MMA if they have a fighting career in mind?  How should they conduct, manage and market themselves to have a better shot at the top of the heap?

Campbell McLaren
Fighters selection for UFC I was extremely limited.  For my new TV series, Combate Americas, we had over 600 Hispanic fighers apply.  But UFC I was very different.  Imagine 20 years ago, before the Martial Arts were Mixed, and you were asked to fight in a cage on a live PPV TV event with no rules, no weight classes, and no rounds; and your opponent's name would be picked out of a hat 24 hours before the fight.  What kind of lunatic would do that?
Royce Gracie vs. Emmanuel Yarbrough would have been weird.  I liked Hackney vs. Manny much better.
I would tell a young fighter to work on their stage craft as much as their fighting, especially in the beginning.  It is a show too. 

Campbell McLaren
Combate Americas has discovered some real talent.  Danny “The Machine” Morales is being compared to a young Floyd Mayweather.  Level Martinez is an Hispanic Kimbo Slice.  And even though she's not fighting, Andrea Calle is a real star.  Ricky P fights with real heart.   And Joey Oscar and Victor all have a real future too.

?What is your relationship with the present owner/mangement of the UFC like?

Campbell McLaren
Both Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta have been very gracious to me, particularly this past year.  Dana said Combate Americas “will be a hit.”  And Lorenzo was very interested in how I was going to reach this new Hispanic audience. 

One of my favorite things when I see old fighter being interviewed is the old stories they tell. 
So… What was the funny/craziest thing you saw happen behind the scenes back then?

Campbell McLaren
There were so many crazy things I saw in the early days that the list would be way too much for me to type.  Here's one:  Backstage UFC VI, Casper Wyoming, July 1995, We were in a beautiful venue in the middle of nowhere “where the deer and the antelope roam” literally around the venue; Tank was making his debut and was wandering around backstage looking to pick a fight before he was going out to have his pay per view fight.  He was very powerful back then, could bench over 600 pounds, and was scaring the shit out of everyone.  I asked a Wyoming uniformed state trooper, who was serving as one of our security guards, to keep an eye on Tank.  He said “Sir, the only thing I could do would be to shoot that man.” 

Campbell McLaren
I love the UG and thanks for having me. Watch Combate Americas on mun2 tonight 10 pm/ 9:00 pm Central.
Best to all UFC and MMA fans. Again follow me on twitter @campbellcombate.