LONG BEACH, Calif. – For Alberto El Patron, the artist formerly known as Alberto Del Rio, the idea of having one more mixed martial arts fight was always in the back of his mind.
The son and nephew, respectively, of legendary luchadores Dos Caras and Mil Mascaras, had a big run in WWE after his MMA career, best known for his stint in PRIDE, ended in 2010.
But as busy as he was touring the globe as a professional wrestler, the idea of one more fight was always there.
“I always had that voice telling me that one more fight, maybe one more, and I had offers from other organization – Bellator, DEEP, and RIZIN and many others wanted me to do one last fight,” El Patron told MMA Junkie on Tuesday. “It was just, I was so busy with WWE I didn’t have time to train.”
For UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz, a return to the cage was about coming out of retirement, defeating longtime rival Chuck Liddell, and realizing he still had something to give to the sport, and that others have accomplished things of note well into their 40s.
“When I called Randy Couture, I said, ‘What made you come back at 43 and win the heavyweight world title?’” Ortiz said. “And he said ‘Tito, I didn’t feel like I was done. I felt like I had a lot more to give.’ And that’s all I had to hear.”
Thus the wheels were put in motion for what will be the biggest U.S. show to date for Combate Americas, the company which has made major inroads in Latin America but hasn’t, to this point, gotten commensurate attention in the English-speaking media. Fighting at a catchweight of 210 pounds, Ortiz and El Patron will main event a pay-per-view on Dec. 7 in Hidalgo, Tex.
El Patron, who last fought MMA in 2010, has been with Combate in a promotional capacity for several years. To hear El Patron tell it, Combate president Campbell McClaren has long leaned on him to have a comeback fight, but El Patron was only going to do so for the right opponent at the right time.
“It was not just about fighting Tito Ortiz,” El Patron said.” I want to fight a big name, someone important in the MMA industry, in the MMA sport.”
He continued, “I want the company Combate Americas to get to the place where this company deserves to be. So if I go and fight a nobody, then exactly what is going to happen for the Latinos, the Mexicans, my country and my company? Nothing. But if I fight somebody, if I’m leading with example of taking challenges, always aiming high? I’ll say something to the Latinos, Mexicans, my kids we will have. I will have everybody looking at Combate Americas, to take this fight, to do this fight, to put this company in the place where we deserve to be.”
El Patron (9-5) went through a well documented rough patch in his personal life, which included a bitter divorce. Once he got to the other side, he realized there was no better time than the present to step back into the cage and do something for the company that stuck by him through down times.
“When I finally put all that behind me and life started to look the way it always has for me, I said okay, how can you repay these people?” said El Patron, who has trained at The MMA Lab for the bout. “How can you repay them? And the answer was jump back into the cage, people talk about Tito vs. Alberto, and everybody in history, and then I’m leading by example.”
Ortiz (20-12-1), for his part, was happy to oblige when Combate Americas came calling, and to have a suitor who will let him prove he’s still relevant as he continues a second post-retirement stint.
“When the challenge was issued, I was just very happy. I was just like, I gotta do the work. I gotta be as diligent as possible and do the hard work and do the right thing and do everything I can to get my hand raised at the end.”
And while El Patron told MMA Junkie he’s not thinking of any fights beyond Ortiz right now, Ortiz admits that if things go well on Dec. 7, he’s got more battles in mind.
“I would like to fight against Ryan Bader,” Ortiz said. “Bellator really didn’t seem interested. UFC I never really had an idea of going back just because Dana (White) says ‘he’s a stupid man’ and this and that. It is what it is. I can just live on in my life and be happy and have no time for hate for anyone else.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Tito Ortiz, Alberto El Patron and the motivation for their Combate Americas fight