Alberto Del Rio talks leaving WWE and coming to Combate Americas
Alberto Del Rio has been involved in prowrestling and mixed martial arts for many, many years. The former WWE champion is now working in various capacities including commentary for Combate Americas, the surging Hispanic oriented MMA promotion. Saturday will see what could be Combate’s breakthrough event – a $100,000, one-night, 8-man bantamweight tournament drawing from the best talent across the Americas and Spain.
Del Rio asked to be released by the WWE to work the indy circuit as the 220-230 days on the road per year were taking time away from his family. The WWE’s loss is MMA’s gain.
“The way Campbell McLaren and I started our relationship, our friendship, was because he wanted me to fight for him years ago,” said Del Rio to Andrew Bucholtz for AwfulAnnouncing. “He called me and we started talking about it, and I remember telling Campbell ‘I don’t know if I want to continue fighting inside the cage, I did that a long time ago, when I was younger, when I was hungry, when I needed money, and now I’m in a different situation.’ But he was like ‘Well, okay, why don’t we try it? I will get you the training, the people you need to get ready for the fight, and why don’t you try it, and if you feel like you don’t want to do it any more, just call me and tell me.’”
“I went back to the MMA gym for like three weeks, getting up at like 5 in the morning and running five miles and then one day, I remember being in the boxing ring with somebody, and after three rounds, I did it like Roberto Duran and just said ‘No mas.’ … Like Rocky, I don’t have the eye of the tiger anymore.”
“I called Campbell and I’m like, ‘I’m sorry, amigo, I know you wanted me in the organization but I don’t feel like I can fight inside the cage after so many years,’ and he’s like, ‘No problem, I understand, thank you for trying, but I really want to work with you, so I will find something for you in my company and I will call you again.’ I thought he was just saying that to be polite, but he really did it!”
“Here in the United States people are really educated when it comes to MMA, but in Mexico, even though there’s a lot of people that are familiar and completely understand and know what MMA’s all about, there’s a part of Mexico, the old-school fans who are only in love with boxing and need to understand and know the rules and what MMA is all about.”
“This organization pushes Latin talent, we have fighters from all over the world, but we can showcase our talent. So that’s a reason I love this company so much, because it’s really difficult to get the opportunity from companies out there, and this company’s completely open to giving you a run. And if you want to take your career to the top, we will give you the tools, as long as you have the talent and a good heart and you are open to doing what you need to do.”
“In tournaments like this, your mind, your heart play the most important role during the whole night. Who wants it more, how strong your mind is, how strong your heart is. Lucky for us, all of our fighters are amazing athletes, they all want to make a name for themselves. They want to fight for the organization, they want to fight for their families. They’re dying to have someone turn their head and look at their talent and maybe find their sponsor, find someone who can help them improve their lives, improve their careers. And lucky for them, they’re in the right place in Combate Americas, because here we’re helping them, we’re promoting them, and our main concern is to take them to the top and have them be the next superstar in the sport of MMA. …And we have $100,000 for the winner.”