With its large and growing Latino population along with a sizeable community of mixed martial arts fans, Las Vegas was a natural place to launch North America’s first all-Latino MMA reality television show and franchise. Producers of Combate Americas unveiled their plans for a 10-episode Mun2 competition series following 10 Latino MMA fighters from across the US, Mexico and the Caribbean at a press conference at the Venetian earlier this month.
While it will be easy to initially compare the series to the UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter, Combate Americas creator (and UFC co-founder) Campbell McLaren says the show’s strong connection to the Latino community will set it apart.
“I think for the fans, having a home team [or fighter] to embrace makes it that much more exciting,” McLaren says. “Our show isn’t just in Spanish … The celebrities, the music, the style of fighting, everything about it is really made to reach out to a Hispanic fight fan.”
Filmed in Miami, the show is designed to capture everyone from casual reality television viewers to hardcore boxing followers and transform them into MMA fans—while generating viewers for Mun2, an NBC-owned bilingual cable network aimed at young Hispanic adults.
It doesn’t hurt that Combate Americas boasts collaboration from veteran reality TV producers Bunim/Murray Productions (The Real World, Road Rules) and reggaeton superstar Daddy Yankee, the series’ first commissioner.
“Before trying to become an artist, I wanted to become a boxer,” Daddy Yankee says. “When I sat down with Campbell he wanted me to be a guest star on the show. I said, ‘No, I want to be a part of this.’ I was serious like that because I still have that spirit inside of me. I love boxing and I want to learn more about MMA and I think the audience will learn more about MMA through me on the show.”
Combate Americas premiers on Sunday, February 23 at 10:00 pm on Mun2.