Campbell McLaren

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Campbell McLaren
Campbell McLaren at an event.jpg
Born (1956-06-18) June 18, 1956 (age 65)
Known forCreation of UFC and Combate Americas

Campbell McLaren is an American entrepreneur and media executive. He is the co-creator of the UFC.[1][2][3] ESPN said he is the 10th most influential person in UFC history and that "his influence on the promotion cannot be overstated."[4] McLaren was responsible for marketing the first UFC shows and subsequently became responsible for the entire operation.[5]

Early life[edit]

McLaren was born in Scotland and emigrated to the United States when he was six years old. His father was a former RAF Flight Officer and hospital executive and his mother was a Presbyterian Church administrator.[6]


McLaren went to primary school in Cowie, Scotland, elementary school and middle school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and high school in Indianapolis, Indiana.

He received an AB from the University of California, Berkeley. He also studied video production at MIT, with documentarian Richard Leacock.[7]

Professional life and creation of the UFC[edit]

McLaren began his career in New York at Caroline's Comedy Club (now Caroline's on Broadway) as talent director. He began producing TV shows for cable, network, and pay-per-view in 1989, winning awards including the Cable Ace and the Imagen Award.[8]

In 1993, McLaren was the head of programming for SEG, BMG's pay-per-view television company. He received a call from Art Davie representing Rorion Gracie and his “War of the Worlds,” a martial arts tournament idea.[9] McLaren envisioned a reality version of the hit video game Mortal Kombat, and immediately put the concept into development. The result was the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which premiered on pay per view November 12, 1993.[10]

McLaren developed the controversial marketing slogan “There Are No Rules”. This along with his notorious interview in the New York Times, "Death is Cheap: Maybe It's Just 14.95,"[11] launched the franchise and delivered a high pay-per-view buyrate.[12] Public interest and the popularity of the UFC increased leading to its appearance on Friends (The One with the Ultimate Fighting Champion), the cover of Mad Magazine (which featured McLaren as the promoter “Marky D Sodd”),[13] and in the Denzel Washington film, Virtuosity.

McLaren picked Joe Rogan to do post fight interviews on UFC 12.[14] According to Rogan, "My manager was friends with Campbell McLaren. And Campbell McLaren is amazing. He's a great guy and he's been on the podcast. And Campbell, had he had an opening and he said we need someone to do the post-fight interviews."[15]

In 2000, McLaren and David Isaacs, with whom he worked on the early UFCs, founded the VC backed College TV Network, Zilo, which was an early version of a user-generated content programming network. Zilo launched with the TV series Sex Violence

Campbell McLaren also launched the Iron Ring, an MMA competition reality series, with Floyd Mayweather, Ludacris, Nelly, and T.I.

Combate Global[edit]

Campbell McLaren at a Weigh-in

Campbell McLaren is currently CEO of Combate Global, the first Hispanic MMA sports and media franchise.[16]

Campbell McLaren created Combate Global in 2011. Beginning as a reality show on Mun2, Combate Global fights air in the United States, Latin America, Brazil and Spain.

“I saw that there was a huge group of sports fans that didn't have anything to root for. Combate fit perfectly into the demographics of the US/Hispanic World,” McLaren said of creating a Hispanic franchise.[17]

Focusing on country against country rivalries, Combate Global brings the excitement of Soccer to MMA. McLaren created COPA COMBATE, an eight-man tournament, pitting country against country. It aired on the 24th anniversary of UFC 1.[18]

“Combate is MMA with a Spanish flavor ... we’ve always said we’re presenting a thoroughly authentic Hispanic product, and we stuck to that,” explains McLaren.[19]

Combate Global has grown rapidly, both on Television and streaming live on social media.[20] Their second annual Copa Combate had better ratings than Bellator (the second event to do so).[21] The inaugural event of 2019 outperformed their competitors, on Paramount, ESPN 2 and TNT as well as Telemundo Boxing, getting 610,000 viewers on Univision and UDN, despite its midnight ET timeslot.[22] The event in Hidalgo, Texas on June 26, was the highest rated MMA event of the night and beat both the UFC and Bellator.[23]


Year Film Credit
1988 The Jelly Donut Saga (short) Producer
1989 Trick or Geek Producer
1989 Party of Two Producer
1990 Teacher Teacher Producer
1990 Nothing Upstairs Executive Producer
1990 Eppy's Emporium Producer
1992 Free to Laugh: A Comedy and Music Special for Amnesty International Producer
1993 Andrew Dice Clay: No Apologies Producer
1993 UFC 1: The Beginning Executive Producer
1993 Iron Maiden: Raising Hell Executive Producer
1994 UFC 2: No Way Out Executive Producer
1994 UFC 3: The American Dream Executive Producer
1994 UFC 4: Revenge of the Warriors Executive Producer
1995 UFC 5:The Return of the Beast Executive Producer
1995 UFC 6: Clash of the Titans Executive Producer
1995 UFC: Ultimate Ultimate 1995 Executive Producer
1996 UFC 9: Motor City Madness Executive Producer
1996 UFC 10: The Tournament Executive Producer
1996 UFC 11: The Proving Ground Executive Producer
1999 Paul McCartney & Friends Live: PETA's Millennium Concert Co-Executive Producer
2000 The Investigators Executive Producer
2008 Iron Ring (TV Series) Executive Producer
2011 Tu Nite con Lorenzo Parro (TV Series) Executive Producer
2011 Off Bowery (TV Series) Executive Producer
2011- Combate Americas Executive Producer


  1. ^ Solano, Alex. "MMA pioneer Campbell McLaren times 'Copa Combate' to honor UFC 1". LA Times. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  2. ^ Conolly, Matt. "Interview: UFC Co-Founder Campbell McLaren On New Ownership, Dana White And More Following $4B Sale". Forbes. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  3. ^ Varsallone, Jim. "Combate Americas CEO talks historic women's MMA show, Ronda Rousey, Sexy Star and more". Miami Herald. Miami Herald. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  4. ^ "Ranking the 25 most influential people in UFC history". Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  5. ^ Meltzer, Dave. "Who should go into the UFC's Hall of Fame next?". MMA Fighting. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  6. ^ Heffernan, Tom. "The UFC comes to Scotland: Exclusive Q&A with MMA pioneer Campbell McLaren". Daily Record. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  7. ^ Varsallone, Jim (May 21, 2019). "Interview with Combate Americas CEO Campbell McLaren: Combate Americas CEO talks historic women's MMA show, Ronda Rousey, Sexy Star and more". Miami Herald. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  8. ^ Cepeda, Elias. "MMA reality show Combate Americas wins Imagen Award". Yahoo Sports. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  9. ^ Gentry III, Clyde (2011). No Holds Barred. Chicago, Illinois: Triumph Books. p. 40. ISBN 978-1-60078-545-0.
  10. ^ Miletich, Pat (2009). Blood in the Cage. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing. pp. 57. ISBN 978-0-618-98261-5.
  11. ^ Sandomir, Richard (March 8, 1994). "Death Is Cheap: Maybe It's Just $14.95". New York Times. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  12. ^ Shapiro, Dan (January 23, 2014). "How Campbell McLaren Spun UFC Into the American Cultural Milieu". HuffPost. Retrieved 6 November 2021.
  13. ^ "Mad Magazine". No. 348. August 1996.
  14. ^ Rogan, Joe. "Joe Rogan Looks Back at his First UFC Appearance". Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  15. ^ "Transcript of Joe Rogan Experience Show #98". Happy Scribe. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  16. ^ Ozanian, Mike (July 23, 2014). "Combate Americas Targets Hispanic MMA Fans". Forbes. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  17. ^ Heitner, Darren. "Why a Co-Founder of UFC Is Launching a New MMA Startup". Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  18. ^ Solano, Alex. "MMA pioneer Campbell McLaren times 'Copa Combate' to honor UFC 1". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  19. ^ Shapiro, Dan. "Combate Americas Gives Latino MMA Stars a Voice in 'La Jaula'". Huffpost. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  20. ^ Villafane, Veronica. "How Combate Américas Is Turning Latino Passion For MMA Into A Profitable Sports And Media Franchise". Forbes. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  21. ^ Holland, Jesse. "Combate Americas ratings beat Bellator MMA (again) with 'Copa Combate' on Univision and Univision Deportes". MMA Mania. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  22. ^ PR Feed Contributor. "Combate Americas Continues Television Ratings Dominance With Stellar, Inaugural 2019 Event". Retrieved 14 August 2019. {{cite web}}: |last1= has generic name (help)
  23. ^ Bucholtz, Andrew. "Combate Americas Friday on Univision averaged more viewers than UFC prelims on ESPN and Bellator event on Paramount Saturday". Awful Announcing. Retrieved 14 August 2019.