Campbell McLaren not only thinks that Combate Global is one of the world’s top MMA promotions, but he also thinks that it’s right behind the UFC in at least one respect.
While the modern popularity of MMA has produced promotions all over the world, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the UFC still dominates the industry in terms of popularity and overall talent.
A few other organizations can make a reasonable claim to occupy the next spot in the sport’s hierarchy, but Campbell believes the numbers back up Combate Global’s #2 status as far as United States viewership goes.
“Well, it doesn’t matter, because of the people watching,” Campbell said “I think that I’ve been testy over the years about this because you can say by any metrics, we’re number two, we’re number three, we’re number 10. If you go by the number of people watching in the United States, only the UFC has more viewers. That’s not the promoter, that’s not Campbell talking, that’s not the hard sell; those are facts. Our average is close to half a million people on Friday in Spanish at midnight. So, that’s just the reality.”
Choosing Your Audience
Originally debuting as Combate Americas in 2011, the organization officially rebranded as Combate Global in March 2021. Since that change, the promotion has maintained one of MMA’s more active schedules and typically hosts multiple events each month.
Although Combate Global does feature fighters of various nationalities, the promotion is fairly unique in that it is primarily marketed to a Hispanic audience. Speaking with Helwani, Campbell did admit that caveat may alter the narrative on where Combate Global stands next to the UFC.
“Now, if you say traditional MMA fans, that changes the dynamic a little bit, right? I think general market MMA fans who don’t speak Spanish and don’t watch Univision, they would be hard-pressed to know about Combate.”
Even if making a comparison to the UFC may seem like an ambitious statement, there’s no doubt that McLaren certainly knows his way around the fight game. The 66-year-old got his start working in television and was one of the key figures that organized UFC 1 in 1993 before helping to develop the promotion in its early days.
Outside of the cage, Combate Global recently made headlines due to a lawsuit filed by MMA fighter and pro wrestler Albert El Patrón relating to his 2019 bout for the promotion.
What do you make of McLaren’s claim that Combate Global is second only to the UFC in viewership in the United States?