Combate Americas is taking over AXS TV on Friday nights.
In a raucous and sometimes unhinged press conference, the Hispanic-focused MMA promotion announced a new broadcast partnership with the cable network, which has long been a home to regional MMA players such as the LFA.
The new partnership calls for 35 live Combate events to air on Fridays in 2020 and a “broad scope” of shoulder programming, said Ed Nordholm, CCO of Anthem Sports & Entertainment, which partnered with AXS TV in September. The events also will air internationally on The Fight Network.
Combate CEO Campbell McLaren paced the stage at AXS TV’s Los Angeles studio, occasionally screaming at reporters as he touted the new deal.
”Everybody talks about shoulder programming,” he said. “You want to know what shoulder programming f*cking is? It’s boom when we hit you in the face with stories about our fighters. ... Write this f*ck down! Fridays! AXS!”
The announcement comes one month before Combate Americas makes its first foray into pay-per-view on Dec. 7 in Hidalgo, Texas. In the event’s headliner, UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz faces Albert “El Patron” Rodriguez, a Combate Americas executive also known for stints in the WWE and PRIDE.
The promotion has positioned itself as the leading purveyor of Hispanic MMA. In October, it struck a three-year deal with Spanish-language networks Univision And Televisa and added a streaming component by signing with DAZN.
McLaren, the promotion’s bombastic figurehead, said there’s a reason he’s raised $40 million from venture capital and actors such as Kate del Castillo.
”Salsa outsells ketchup in the U.S. Why? Because everybody likes Spanish flavor,” he said.
The new deal’s shoulder programming includes specially curated “Best of Combate Americas” programs to air on the Fight Network and AXS TV. Additionally, Combate will develop and co-produce episodes of The Fight Network’s “Diary,” “Retrospective,” and “After The Fight” based on Combate fighters.
Shortly after Anthem’s investment into AXS TV, the network announced it would be ending its longtime partnership with the LFA, a longtime pipeline of talent for the UFC. Earlier this month, LFA announced it had signed with UFC streaming network Fight Pass.