PWInsider - WWE News, Wrestling News, WWE



By Mike Johnson on 2019-11-29 14:54:00

Former WWE and Impact Wrestling Champion Alberto el Patron will enter the MMA cage for the first time since competing in PRIDE back in 2000, headlining the 12/7 Combate Americas PPV against UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz, which you can order at www.FITE.TV.  In this conversation, which was conducted on 11/19, el Patron discusses why he's stepping back inside an MMA cage, Ortiz, his future in professional wrestling and more

Mike Johnson: Saturday, December 7th former WWE champion Alberto El Patron returns to combat sports in the United States but not in professional wrestling    He will be headlining Combate Americas and their first Pay Per View from Hidalgo, Texas. Winner take all. Alberto is putting his WWE championship belt against the UFC championship belt of Tito Ortiz. The winner of the fight gets both title belts.  Alberto, how are you sir? Good to talk to you again.

Alberto El Patron: I'm good, my friend. Good to talk to you too man. I'm here in LA today promoting the fight for December the 7th, in McAllen, Hidalgo, Texas.

Mike Johnson: So this is really a unique situation, a dream fight here to csome. One of the most respected and well known UFC fighters of all time against one of the most decorated WWE professional wrestlers of all time.  You obviously have done amateur wrestling and have competed in MMA before, but what led to you saying, "All right, I'm going to step back in the ring, in the cage rather. I'm going to go through this training and I'm going to do it." What led to you saying, "Okay, I'm going to do this."

Alberto el Patron:  Well, many reasons. Number one, to continue helping Combate Americas, which is my home, my company to continue to help the company to continue growing the way we've been doing it in the last six years, as you know. And for those not knowing this, but this company helps support Mexican talent, Latin talent in the sport of MMA and we have been doing an amazing job and by doing this I'm making sponsors to look Combate Americas in a different way. We also, by doing this, we also given the first Pay Per View in history for the company. And also to continue making my legacy stronger, to continue showing to all those supporters of lucha libre, or pro wrestling that Alberto Del Rio is still one of the greatest competitors of our time.

Mike Johnson: Now you've fought in pride in the past against Mirko Cro Cop and others in PRIDE. Talk a little bit about the difference between preparing for a fight in PRIDE or in Combate Americas versus the traditional pro wrestling preparation where you're going on the road and you've got to get your body ready and you've got to get your cardio up and you've got to be prepared versus preparing for one fight on a specific night. What's the differences there?

Alberto el Patron: Well, it's completely different. Just to start with the fact that you have to completely focus in your training camp when you're about to jump in the cage or inside a ring for an MMA fight.   I've been in Arizona, in Phoenix, Arizona for the last 10 weeks. That's the place where I'm doing my training camp. We're about to close the training camp because we're only two-and-a- half weeks away from the fight. So I've been there for those ten weeks and just training three times a day, eating, training and sleeping. That's all I've been doing for these last ten weeks. I'm not doing any appearances in pro wrestling. I haven't done any, any nothing, any office work with Combate Americas. I think they have been so nice that they're letting me to be completely focused in this training camp and just getting ready to go in and kick Tito Ortiz's ass in McAllen, Texas.


Mike Johnson: You mentioned you haven't done any professional wrestling in a while. Once you get past this fight, and maybe I'm asking this too early, is there interest in doing professional wrestling again in the United States? I know you've been working at launching a TV show down in Mexico and you've been active in Mexico, but Combate is now working with AXS TV. Impact Wrestling is an obvious crossover there. It seems like everybody eventually ends up back with WWE at some point, so there are possibilities out there.  But in your mind, do you want to go back and do more professional wrestling on a regular basis in the States? Or do you want to just focus on Combate going forward?

Alberto el Patron: Well, I'm going to completely focus on Combate. Combate is the place where I feel completely happy. The owner, the boss of the company, Campbell McLaren is one of my best friends, someone that has been supported me for many years. Good ones, bad ones, best ones. And I love what we're doing in the company because we are helping people that has been trying to get an opportunity in other companies to succeed and then they have had the door close in their faces. We are opening that door to all of that Latino, Mexican athletes to have a place to fulfill their dreams, but I will also be doing some pro wrestling after December the 7th. I will after December the 7th, I will just go and enjoy the holidays with my family. And then in 2020 I'll be doing some stuff with pro wrestling again. That's for sure.   As you know, pro wrestling has always been the love of my life and you cannot just put that on the side and forget about it. So I'm going to be doing something for the fans in 2020.

Mike Johnson: When we see you step into the cage on December 7th, what is the thing that you hope fans get the most out of seeing this fight with Tito Ortiz? Obviously this is probably a once in a lifetime thing at this point. I don't envision, at this stage of your list and career, that you're looking to have a long career in MMA at this point in your career, but when you step in the ring with Tito, what do you hope fans get out of the fight?

Alberto el Patron: Well, no. I mean this is just one and one only. I'm doing this for the right reasons.   My dad asked me, "Why? What was the reason why I was doing this?" And I said, "Because." He said, "You know, you have nothing to prove, right?" And then I said, "No, I know. I have something to prove to myself. I have to prove to myself that I'm still that athlete, that competitor that I've always been." But yeah, no, I know. I've done it all. I've seen it all.  I'm doing this for the right reason and especially when you work or you are in a company where the entire organization has been supporting you through difficult times like the ones I had two years ago when I was going through my divorce and the custody. The horrible battle for the custody of my kids. And this company specifically my boss and friend, Campbell [inaudible 00:07:10], they supported me the whole way.   So when you have people like that, you pay loyalty with loyalty. And I know this is what I'm doing, stepping into the cage one more time. One last time. [inaudible 00:07:28] company to, to get to the place where we want to have the company.  So in December the 7th, they are going to see two competitors. They are going to have decide what side are they on? Mexico, United States? Lucha libre, pro wrestling, or MMA? Tito Ortiz, or Alberto El Rio? They are going to see two competitors one night going for the glory.   I've been saying this since the beginning. Tito's is not about ... a bright guy, but he got a terrific idea when he asked me if I would put my WWE title on the line and then he will be putting his UFC title on the line and the winner takes it all. It was a fantastic idea.   So they are going to see all of us going for those titles and giving them a hell of a fight.

Mike Johnson: Now, Combate Americas has seen a lot of other professional wrestlers come in. Melissa Cervantes is a.k.a. Thunder Rosa just had her first fight. Sexy Star aka Sexy Dulce is signed with the promotion.  Are there any other wrestlers that you'd like to see make the crossover to Combate Americas in the near future?

Alberto el Patron  That's the thing. I mean, we know that we have some pro wrestlers that have MMA background like Sexy Dulce. She is, as you know, a pro wrestler, pro boxer and she decided to do the crossover from those sports to MMA and she did a fantastic job.   Thunder Rosa did the same. She has been practicing jujitsu for a while and she felt like she could be in the cage and give it a try. And even though she didn't win the fight, she did a fantastic job.   We have all the people that could be doing something. If the contracts are timed let them do it, like Sin Cara. You know Sin Cara is one of my best friends and he used to be an [inaudible 00:09:31] wrestler for many years. He's a tough competitor, a tough fighter, a real wrestler. So if in the future he decides to not work for the WWE, he will always have the door open here in Combate Americas if he wants to do the crossover from a pro wrestling style to a MMA fighting style

Mike Johnson: Now we've seen CM Punk recently returned to WWE airwaves due to his deal with Fox. You were very close with Punk, you worked with him a lot in WWE. What were your thoughts on his foray into MMA?

Alberto el Patron: Well for me, he did really good. I know there's a lot of people always saying bad things about them CM Punk's run in MMA. But it's because they don't really know what it takes to be in a training camp, to be training to be in a professional fight. Plus CM Punk feel he went straight to the UFC. He didn't start it in little shows or with ... not renown fighters. He went for the big one in his first fight and even though he lost the first fight, he tried it again. He gave it another try and I think he did a good job.   It's not easy. If it was easy, we will have everybody trying it and doing it and making money like we do. But it's not an easy sport. It takes a lot from you mentally. Your body. Your body takes a tool. You have to train three times a day, eat the specific food and it's not easy. It's not easy. It's really hard.  Like in my situation, I have to move from San Antonio to Arizona without my kids, without my family, just to be here completely, completely focused in training and be ready to do what I'm planning on doing on December the 7th in McAllen, Hidalgo, Texas and end Tito Ortiz's career.

Mike Johnson: So you're going to be fighting in the Catchweight division. Was it hard to cut the weight to prepare for the fight? Because obviously wrestling you were a little bulkier than that. Was it hard to cut down the weight during the fight camp?

Alberto el Patron:  Yes. Yes. I mean it was not hard, hard. But yes, I had to change my eating habits and work with a nutritionist to bring me down to 220 pounds. And it wasn't easy, but I'm not going to say that I was suffering through the process, but I mean it's part of the things that you have to do when you decide to be fighting in a professional company like Combate Americas.

Mike Johnson: So obviously you're putting it all on the line on December 7th for Combate Americas at the Payne Arena. Where's your head at?  Fearful about getting in the cage? Excited? When you think about it, where does your mind go? When we get to that day and you're getting ready to walk down the aisle, what do you expect your mood will be? What you expect out of the fight for yourself?

Alberto el Patron: I'm excited and I'm ready. I want this to happen. If the fight will be tomorrow, I will be completely happy. I'm ready. I've been training really hard. I did a really good training camp.   I know Tito is doing the same. I know Tito Ortiz has been training. This is his sport. He's been breathing and needing MMA for many years and I know he's ready. I'm ready. I just want to go and fight because that's it, because the training camps are the hard part. The fight, it's three rounds, five minutes each. And it's, you go and submit or knock your opponent out, or you get submitted, or you get knocked out. That's it. The fight is the easy part to put it that way. The harder part is to be 10, 15, 16 weeks away from home and training and fighting every single day because that's why you're doing training camp. It's like having a fight every single day.  So I'm just ready, excited and ready to go there and to give the lucha libre, pro wrestling fans, MMA fans the last Alberto Rio appearance inside the cage.

Mike Johnson: Before we get out of here, I just want to ask you a one question that I found to be interesting. A couple of weeks ago, you and Combate Americas were at a press conference with AXS TV, which meant that Ed Nordholm and some of the Impact executives were there because they're now involved with AXS, as well.  Was it weird catching up with them given that the relationship with impact kind of went astray in New Orleans? Or was it like, "All right, we're in different place now and let's do business"?

Alberto Patron: Oh no, no. It was really nice to see Ed and he saw me and then he immediately came and shook my hand and I gave a hug. It was really nice to see him and the Impact people said the same to me that he was ... that they were happy to see me again, that they were happy to see me in the place where I am right now, where we put all the stuff behind.   We even talked about how the company is doing and the stuff I'm doing. And it was really nice, you know? They know there was situations that they could have handled differently. I know there was situations that I could have handled differently. But at the end of the day, that's how people, companies, people fix their problems. They talk and then they get to a mutual agreement. And then they continue working or they continue with working or business relationships. That's exactly how it happened with us.   I was really, really happy to see Ed and we unfortunately we didn't have the time to talk more, but I'm sure we will have the time to talk in the future.

Mike Johnson: So you think Impact's an open door and a possibility for 2020?

Alberto el Patron: Well the door is always open for all the companies, for all the pro wrestling companies. You know, I know I love pro wrestling and companies they like Alberto Del Rio, so the door is always open, not just for them, for any company.   It was just a matter of time for me to want to do pro wrestling again. And I want to do it. I'm going to give some more time to my appearances here in the United States, so everything is possible.

Mike Johnson: All right. So one last question. You're going to be putting up the WWE championship belt on Saturday the 7th. Have you heard any feedback from anybody at WWE about this?  Obviously some of the former champions get to hold onto their title belts, but this is the first time we've ever seen anyone put it up in a public setting like this.  Have you gotten any feedback from any of your former WWE friends or anybody in the company?

Alberto el Patron: No, not really. I haven't. I haven't talked to any of the people in the company in quite some time. I talked to my friends, my wrestler friends in the company. But we talk about personal stuff, our life, family and stuff. We never talk about wrestling. So no, nothing about it.

Mike Johnson:
All right. Well on Saturday, December 7th Alberto El Patron will be facing Tito Ortiz for Combate Americas live on Pay Per View. You can find full details at   Sir, we wish you nothing but the best of luck and health with this endeavor and obviously the best of luck for you and your family going forward, as well as Tito Ortiz.   We don't want to see anybody get hurt. We just want to see a good entertaining fight where everybody gets to kind of shake hands and respect each other at the end of the rounds.   So I thank you so much for sitting down with us. 

Alberto Patron: Awesome. Thank you, Mike. Thank you. Until next we speak, take care. And amigos, I will see you on December the 7th in McAllen, Texas, Hidalgo, Texas. This is going to be a Pay Per View for all of you.  Tickets are available on or  Amigos, get ready because we're going to give you a hell of a fight.

Mike Johnson:  Thanks for the time.

If you enjoy you can check out the AD-FREE PWInsider Elite section, which features exclusive audio updates, news, our critically acclaimed podcasts, interviews and more by clicking here!

Use our reports with online gambling where you can play casino games or bet on different kind of sports!