MMA reality show Combate Americas wins Imagen Award

Elias Cepeda
UFC champion Royce Gracie [center] with the cast of Combate Americas. 

UFC legend Royce Gracie with the cast of Combate Americas

UFC champion Royce Gracie [center] with the cast of Combate Americas. 

Combate Americas, the first U.S. Hispanic Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) sports franchise created by Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) co-founder Campbell McLaren to serve the nation’s fastest growing demographic, made history with its competition reality series last Friday, Aug. 1, becoming the first fight-themed program ever to win a major television honor at the 29th annual Imagen Awards Show at the Beverly Hilton Hotel International in Beverly Hills, Calif. Amongst the tough competition Combate Americas conquered for “Best Variety or Reality Series” was Mark Burnett’s smash hit singing competition reality series The Voice that is set to roll out its seventh season of programming on NBC.

“It is an incredible honor to receive this award just after our first year of operations,” said McLaren, the CEO of Combate Americas who also served as an Executive Producer on the reality series. Reggaeton star and former boxer Daddy Yankee serves as the Combate Americas League Commissioner and appears in the reality series in this capacity. 

The Imagen Awards date back nearly thirty years, to 1985, and their foundation's mission is to "encourage the positive portrayals of Latinos in all forms of the entertainment media and to reward the excellence of those entities or individuals whose productions elevate the image and status of all Latinos." McLaren said that the award means a lot to the show and fledgling promotion because one of his main goals was to give a positive and accurate protrayal of Latinos on television. 

"One of the immediate goals with Combate Americas was to create an authentic show that Latino fight fans in the U.S. would not just enjoy, but also identify with on both a personal and cultural level. Winning the Imagen Award for ‘Best Variety or Reality Show’ confirms that we achieved this goal," he said.

The 10-episode, self-titled reality series that was produced by Bunim/Murray Productions and longtime fight industry executive Mike Afromowitz, premiered on mun2, NBCUniversal’s bi-lingual cable TV platform for 18-34 year old adults, on Sunday, February 23 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The show is hosted by Latin Grammy Award winning pop duo Chino y Nacho and MMA reporter and fitness model Andrea Calle.

Combate Americas is supposed to begin putting on live events later this year. 

Follow Elias on Twitter @EliasCepeda & @YahooCagewriter

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