|Known for||Creation of UFC and Combate Americas|
Campbell McLaren is a television producer and TV executive. He is the co-creator of the UFC. ESPN said he is the 10th most influential person in UFC history and that "his influence on the promotion cannot be overstated." McLaren was responsible for marketing the first UFC shows and subsequently became responsible for the entire operation.
McLaren is currently the CEO of Combate Americas, the first Hispanic MMA sports and media franchise. McLaren contends that Combate Americas is on track to be the number two sport behind soccer for Hispanics worldwide.[dubious ]
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.
McLaren went to primary school in Cowie, Scotland, elementary school and middle school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and high school in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Professional life and creation of the UFC
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.
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. 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.
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," launched the franchise and delivered a high pay-per-view buyrate. 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”), and in the Denzel Washington film, Virtuosity.
McLaren picked Joe Rogan to do post fight interviews on UFC 12. 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-flight interviews."
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 Collegehumor.com with the TV series Sex Violence Collegehumor.com.
Campbell McLaren created Combate Americas in 2011. Beginning as a reality show on Mun2, Combate Americas 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.
Focusing on country against country rivalries, Combate Americas 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.
“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.
Combate Americas has grown rapidly, both on Television and streaming live on social media. Their second annual Copa Combate had better ratings than Bellator (the second event to do so). 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. The event in Hidalgo, Texas on June 26th, was the highest rated MMA event of the night and beat both the UFC and Bellator.
|1988||The Jelly Donut Saga (short)||Producer|
|1989||Trick or Geek||Producer|
|1989||Party of Two||Producer|
|1990||Nothing Upstairs||Executive 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|
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- Conolly, Matt. "Interview: UFC Co-Founder Campbell McLaren On New Ownership, Dana White And More Following $4B Sale". Forbes.com. Forbes. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
- 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.
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- Gentry III, Clyde (2011). No Holds Barred. Chicago, Illinois: Triumph Books. p. 40. ISBN 978-1-60078-545-0.
- Miletich, Pat (2009). Blood in the Cage. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing. pp. 57. ISBN 978-0-618-98261-5.
- Sandomir, Richard (March 8, 1994). "Death Is Cheap: Maybe It's Just $14.95". New York Times. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
- Shapiro, Dan (January 23, 2014). "How Campbell McLaren Spun UFC Into the American Cultural Milieu". Huffington Post. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
- "Mad Magazine" (348). August 1996.
- Rogan, Joe. "Joe Rogan Looks Back at his First UFC Appearance". YouTube.com. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
- "Transcript of Joe Rogan Experience Show #98". Happy Scribe. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
- Heitner, Darren. "Why a Co-Founder of UFC Is Launching a New MMA Startup". Inc.com. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
- Solano, Alex. "MMA pioneer Campbell McLaren times 'Copa Combate' to honor UFC 1". Latimes.com. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
- Shapiro, Dan. "Combate Americas Gives Latino MMA Stars a Voice in 'La Jaula'". Huffpost. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
- Villafane, Veronica. "How Combate Américas Is Turning Latino Passion For MMA Into A Profitable Sports And Media Franchise". Forbes. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
- Holland, Jesse. "Combate Americas ratings beat Bellator MMA (again) with 'Copa Combate' on Univision and Univision Deportes". MMA Mania. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
- PR Feed Contributor. "Combate Americas Continues Television Ratings Dominance With Stellar, Inaugural 2019 Event". Multichannel.com. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
- 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.