MMA legend Royce Gracie explains how ‘Combate Americas’ differs from ‘TUF’


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Sixth Annual Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards

In the coming months, MMA and UFC legend Royce Gracie will have a hand in trying to discover the next great MMA talent out of South America.

“Combate Americas,” an MMA reality show that will focus on 10 Hispanic fighters from multiple countries, is set to debut later this month, and Gracie is optimistic about what kind of fighters the show will produce.

Headed by UFC co-founder Campbell McLaren, “Combate Americas” will force the 10 welterweight and featherweight athletes to compete, coexist and face the daily challenges set before them to win an exclusive contract with the new “Comate Americas” MMA organization.

While MMA reality shows have become more frequent since the boom of “The Ultimate Fighter,” the UFC’s groundbreaking series that launched in 2005, Gracie said this one is different. The intention isn’t to create drama or cast wild characters; it’s meant to present a rare opportunity for fighters who would otherwise go unnoticed.

“Those guys have been training for a long time, and they just never had the opportunity,” Gracie told MMAjunkie Radio. “There’s so much talent now in South America, and they’ve been doing martial arts for years. But they’re never going to have the chance to be discovered because they’re in a small town in South America. They’re not in the big cities.

“This will give them a chance. Brazil has so much talent. In the north of Brazil in the small towns, there is so much.

The “Combate Americas” season premier is scheduled for this coming Sunday, Feb. 23, at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) on mum2. An English-subtitled version airs the following Wednesday, Feb. 26, at 10 p.m. ET.

With hopes of discovering the next great fighter who could potentially rise through the ranks and one day make it to the world’s biggest stage, Gracie is confident what the final product of the show will bring.

That confidence comes in part from working with McLaren, who roughly 20 years ago played a role in giving Gracie the opportunity to win UFC 1’s tournament. Now he’s presenting the next generation with a similar chance.

“Campbell is my brother,” Gracie said. “He knows what he’s talking about. He knows what he’s doing. He’s been around a long time, and now he’s coming back around and recreating – starting all over again.”

Gracie will be one of several special guests to appear on the new series.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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