Combate Americas, the first U.S. Hispanic Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) sports franchise created by Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) co-founder Campbell McLaren to serve the nation’s fastest growing demographic, made history with its competition reality series on Friday, August 1, becoming the first fight-themed program ever to win a major television honor at the 29th annual Imagen Awards Show at the Beverly Hilton Hotel International in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Amongst the tough competition Combate Americas conquered for “Best Variety or Reality Series” was Mark Burnett’s smash hit singing competition reality series The Voice that is set to roll out its seventh season of programming on NBC.
“It is an incredible honor to receive this award just after our first year of operations,” said McLaren, the CEO of Combate Americas who also served as an Executive Producer on the reality series. Reggaeton superstar and former professional boxer Daddy Yankee serves as the Combate Americas League Commissioner and appears in the reality series in this capacity.
“One of the immediate goals with Combate Americas,” continued McLaren, “was to create an authentic show that Latino fight fans in the U.S. would not just enjoy, but also identify with on both a personal and cultural level. Winning the Imagen Award for ‘Best Variety or Reality Show’ confirms that we achieved this goal.”
The 10-episode, self-titled reality series that was produced by Bunim/Murray Productions and longtime fight industry executive Mike Afromowitz, premiered on mun2, NBCUniversal’s leading bi-lingual cable TV platform for 18-34 year old adults, on Sunday, February 23 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The show is hosted by Latin Grammy Award winning pop duo Chino y Nacho and MMA reporter and fitness model Andrea Calle.
In addition to the hosts and Daddy Yankee, the series features a number of guest appearances by other celebrity athletes and entertainers, including legendary UFC champion and Hall of Famer Royce Gracie; Top Chef Estrella hostess and former Miss Universe runner-up Cynthia Olavarria; and Lucha Libre superstar Blue Demon, Jr.
The Combate Americas reality TV series explores the lives, personal struggles and triumphs of 10 aspiring world champions who hail from various parts of the U.S. as well as Mexico, as they engage in grueling and tricky physical competitions that culminate with matchups between the fighters in the Combate Americas cage, La Jaula.
The series has also been nominated for “Best Reality Moment” by Premios Tu Mundo (Your World Awards), which airs live on Telemundo from American Airlines Arena in Miami, Fla. on Thursday, August 21. The winner of the award will be determined by fans, who can vote for their favorite moment here.
The showdown between series welterweight (170 pounds) arch-rivals, undefeated Danny “The Machine” Morales of Chicago, Ill. and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu stylist J.C. Llamas of Bakersfield, Calif., has been selected as a nominee for “Best Reality Moment” by Premios Tu Mundo.
The 23-year-old Morales, who was incarcerated at the age of 16, discovered the sport of MMA and his calling in life in his jail cell while flipping through the pages of a magazine. Llamas, a spirited 28-year-old, grew up in poverty in Mexico and accepted his first professional fight with just six weeks of training, in order to be able to pay for medicine needed by his ill grandmother.
Combate Americas is slated to roll out its live event series in the fall on a date to be announced in Miami.