Campbell McLaren helped create the UFC and is currently the CEO of Combate Americas which features Alberto El Patron and Tito Ortiz. Those two will square off in a fight tonight and McLaren discussed what he saw in Alberto to put him in the headliner against Ortiz.
"Alberto put himself in. He watched Combate, saw the fighting and said to himself, 'I think I can do this.' He had a great tradition in PRIDE. We all know his wrestling background and the pedigree, but a lot of people don't know that he fought in PRIDE in Japan," McLaren told Wrestling Inc.
"I think he wanted to make a comeback and he was facing a time in his life where a lot of crap went wrong. He was dating a woman from WWE and they were a great couple until the sh*t hit the fan. I think Alberto was trying to figure out the next phase in his life. Tito Ortiz is a little bit like fighting Mike Tyson. He went, 'Yeah I'll fight Tito.' Okay, I think we can do this."
We've seen numerous crossovers between the worlds of pro wrestling and MMA and McLaren was asked if he could envision a crossover between Combate and Impact Wrestling with both being on AXS TV.
"Oh I hope so. It's a great promotion, I like it. In the combat sports world, there's a pecking order with boxing up here," McLaren said while raising his hand and calling it the sweet science before jabbing at Floyd Mayweather for Manny Pacquiao for the 'Boring of the Century.'
"Then it's the MMA guys… then in that pecking order is wrestling. Why? Wrestling requires tremendous athletic ability. Gravity is real and no one suspends gravity. So, for Hispanic fans – AAA, luchadors – everything is part of the culture so we're very welcoming to that."
"God bless CM Punk," McLaren said. "You've got balls as big as all outdoors, you really do. But you stunk up the room, you really did. You stunk up the room and I think part of what Alberto can do is what Brock Lesnar did and that's show these MMA snobs that wrestling requires tremendous toughness, skill and focus. I think that's why Alberto wants to do this. When Tito said you're not a real fighter, it genuinely pissed him off.
"The question of do I want to do a cross promotion and the answer is yes. I would love to."
Most Combate Americas fights don't go the distance as they usually end with a knockout. McLaren explained why that is and he pointed to the styles of Hispanic fighters.
"We often say that we don't need judges in Combate as fights usually end in the second round," said McLaren. "I think it shows an aggressiveness to Hispanic fighters. Fighting like a Mexican means coming forward and being willing to take punches to land one. We say MMA stands for Much More Action. Our fighters are young and they're trying to put on a show and make a name for themselves."
He then criticized Floyd Mayweather again and said he would never be 50-0 in MMA. He also praised former fighter Tank Abbott who had a losing record in MMA but was exciting because of his style.
"If a fighter comes out for Combate and they give it their all and they're coming forward and are very aggressive and it doesn't go their way, I'm always going to give that guy or girl another fight," stated McLaren.