Mike Afromowitz: ‘Combate Americas’ Is More Than Another MMA Reality Show David Massey March 7, 2014 Spotlight, UFC The MMA Corner recently spoke with television executive Mike Afromowitz about his show, Combate Americas, a title which translates to “The Fighting America” for English speakers. The show is currently running its premiere season, with its third episode having aired last Sunday. You can catch it at 9 p.m. ET on the television channel Mun2, with the “Mun” derived from Telemundo, the NBC Universal Spanish language network. So, what is this show? Well, Combate Americas is a MMA competition reality series looking to offer Hispanic fans with their own MMA franchise. “We want to serve this particular demographic with MMA. Boxing is huge; it’s like a national pastime with this demo. Until now, they haven’t had a fight league of their own. Now, they will,” explained Afromowitz. “We found a lot of talent out there that wasn’t discovered for one reason or another. The guys that you’ll see on the show, we’ve just scratched the surface of what’s out there. There’s a lot more to come, I can tell you just from looking into for next season. Our goal is to find the next wave of Latino champions.” If you look at the team behind the show, then you would see that it is in good hands. Afromowitz, its Chief Operating Officer, is a communications expert and promoter, and he was one of the founding members of Strikeforce, helping to build it up from a regional promotion into the UFC’s biggest rival at one point. Heading the show is CEO Campbell McLaren, a successful entertainment executive who some may recognize as one of the creators of the UFC. The talented staff behind that show isn’t the only reason that Combate Americas stands to succeed. The reality series will take a different approach than MMA shows that viewers might have seen before. “There’s two big ways it differentiates, the first of which is that it’s story driven,” Afromowitz explained. “So, you’re going to learn a lot about each individual that’s in the cast. There’s 10 fighters, and they’re competing in two different weight classes—five welterweights, five featherweights. They’re not on teams. It’s very story driven in the sense that it’s going to go in depth into their backgrounds—where they come from, how they struggled, what adversities they’ve faced and they’re facing going into this show. It’s hopefully going to make fans care about the fighters on the show and give them a reason to like them or dislike them depending how they come across to any particular viewer.” The producers of the show also included celebrities from inside and outside of the cage to add to the show’s appeal. You might see a musical artist or a recognizable champion from the MMA world appearing on the show, but they aren’t there just to look pretty. The producers wanted to include them not only for their star power in order to draw new fans into watching MMA, but for their very real passion and experience in combat sports as well. “The other way that it’s different is that there’s a lot of organic celebrity integration,” Afromowitz continued. “For example, Daddy Yankee, I don’t know if you know him, but he’s a big reggaeton artist. He was just nominated for seven Billboard awards. He also happens to be a former competitive boxer, which is something that a lot of people don’t know. If you meet him in person, you’ll see his nose is bent from shots he took in the ring. He’s always been passionate about [combat sports] and wanted to be involved in some way. We had made an offer to him to be a guest on the show, and he said he wanted to be a lot more involved. So one thing led to another, and he’s taken on a role of being a spokesperson/commissioner of the league. He appears in that role in the show. “There’s other celebrity integration. Royce Gracie trained fighters during the show. Royce—this is the house he built. Imagine how much fighters look up to him. A lot of these guys got into the sport because of him. Just having him there as a mentor and a role model is priceless. Eddie Alvarez is in the show. I don’t know if you follow Glory Kickboxing, but Joseph Valtellini, the one they call ‘Bazooka Joe,’ makes an appearance on the show. A lot of the other guests are big in the Latino world, because it is a Spanish-language network.” Ideally, the real stars of the show will be the up-and-coming fighters themselves. Over the course of the show, viewers will get to know them on a personal level, as well as seeing them tested in a variety of ways. “These fighters aren’t on teams. So, they’re training together and they know going into this that they will have to fight at the end of the show one of the guys they’re training with,” Afromowitz explained. “I wouldn’t say it’s psychological warfare, that’s not the way I’d characterize it, but it’s an interesting dynamic. “You’re going to see these guys humanized. You’re going to know them as people, not just fighters. Of course, you’re going to see a fight—it’s a fight show—but you’re also going to get to know another dimension of them, which is the human side of them. It builds up to eventual fights. It’s 10 episodes, one hour each.” The entire series has already been filmed. It was shot on location in Miami last November and December. So, for now, the cast is going to have to do their best to remain tight-lipped about revealing any of the fight results. But fans that follow the episodes will be able to track each individual members progress leading up to the final episodes. “They are competing in a variety of physical and fight challenges,” Afromowitz said of the reality competition. “They each accumulate points. If you go to their social media challenge, you’ll see a point tally, which is an accumulation of the points that each fighter has over the first two episodes that air. They accumulate points and they’re seeded after that according to how they performed on those challenges, and then they’re matched up accordingly. You’ll see that, and you’ll see their attributes tested in those challenges, whether it’s speed, power, coordination, strength, balance, and you get to see how athletic they are and how they stack up against each other.” This Sunday will see Combate Americas‘ fourth episode. In what seems like a good sign, Afromowitz is already looking forward to the second season and beyond based on the “strong, positive response” he’s heard so far. The show was already licensed to be seen globally from the start, and soon it will air overseas. It appears that Afromowitz and company have launched a promising MMA franchise to serve Hispanic audiences. “I’ve already discovered new talent that could be plugged into the second season and beyond,” Afromowitz spoke towards the future of the show. “It looks like we’re going to introduce women into the second season, too. That’s another new direction that we’re going to go in.” And to those not already tuning in? Well, Afromowitz is quick to put forth a case for why fans should watch the show. “They should watch for all the reasons I said. They’re very compelling stories. These guys are very engaging. You’re going to see some incredible drama, some incredible stories, and you’re going to see some great fights at the end.” Mike would like to thank his family and the Combate Americas team for their support, NBC Universal and Mun2. You can watch full episodes of the show online on its official website.