Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 25 No. 10
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Weekend Plans With Combate Americas CEO Campbell McLaren

McLaren largely credits his staff for creating the unique Combate experience around each fight
Photo: COMBATE AMERICAS

Combate Americas CEO CAMPBELL MCLAREN has been out in L.A. all week preparing for Friday night's Combate Estrellas I, and by his own description the Hispanic-geared MMA outfit is set to put on a heck of show. McLaren, a UFC co-founder and longtime TV producer in addition to his Combate duties, makes no bones about his anticipation for the lineup and took THE DAILY behind the scenes of what his preparation throughout the week is like leading up to the clash. McLaren: "What I say to my team is this -- I don’t really like Christmas, don’t like my birthday, don’t like New Years Eve. Even my wife knows I don’t like Valentines Day. But boy do I like Fight Night. For me it’s all those holidays rolled into one."

STEP ON THE SCALE: The buildup is just the best. Around Wednesday I start talking to the press, share my enthusiasm and make sure we're having fun talking about the event. Then the fighters also start to arrive, which brings a tense energy. Thursday we go to the weigh-in, which is always interesting. For social media for maybe our next couple fights we’re actually going to try to have someone cut weight with the fighters. Because what happens is -- we are all in this upbeat mood about the show coming up. But the fighters’ moods in the leadup really starts to deteriorate based on how much weight they have to lose. It’s very hard on them. So our group at Combate is having fun these few days -- we’re busy as hell, but you can enjoy being busy -- but the stars of the show are getting a little surly. We’re always telling people about the fighters, "Leave them alone today, let’s not have them try on the new uniforms today." And there’s a big emphasis for me this week on talking up the event while staying cognizant of the fact that we have some fellows in foul moods. But then we get through the weigh-in, the guys start hydrating again and come back to life. The energy level turns from tense to much more positive and exciting. You feel that by the end of Thursday.

FINAL COUNTDOWN: Come Fight Day, to me it’s what Christmas should feel like. It’ll be 10:00 in the morning and I’ll see some of the fighters go by in the hotel lobby and some of our VIP guests and celebrities and it just builds and builds throughout the day. Then around early evening I'll head to the show -- I try not to go to the venue too early. Honestly there isn’t a lot for me to do. I’m the head and Combate has a great team. They’re doing everything they can to make the show incredible so if I go too early I’m just sitting there in someone’s way. Someone will just hit me with a ladder. I’m like a kid not allowed to open the presents early.

ON WITH THE SHOW: Around 6:00pm I'll finally get to the venue (Shrine Expo Hall). Friday we’ll have plenty of Telenovella stars and popular Hispanic musicians in the house. We want to make sure they’re comfortable as our guests and then the fighters take over. By then, it’s their party and I’m at their party. Once the action takes off, it has a mind and energy of its own. It’s so much work and I am so drained at the end of it. Big sporting events are always great, but somehow to me a fight just has a different energy. As for Saturday … I’m taking it easy.

Know of someone you’d like to see featured in Weekend Plans? Shoot an email to tleary@sportsbusinessdaily.com.