She was the MMA Personality of the Year in 2012 and is the longtime host for “El Octagono.” Now, Andrea Calle is a commentator for Combate Americas. I spoke with Andrea about her career and her new role with one of the hottest up and coming promotions in MMA.
Gabriel Gonzalez: Hello Andrea! Thank you for taking the time to speak with us at MMAUncaged. First off, how is your year going so far in 2017?
Andrea Calle: Amazing!! Moved to Los Angeles not too long ago, and many plans and projects for 2017.
GG: You’ve been a part of the MMA community for several years but most recently you now work as a commentator for Combate Americas. For fans who are unfamiliar with them, can you describe what makes the promotion unique?
AC: So I’ve been with Combate for over 4 years. We started with season one of the reality show, where we had personalities like Daddy Yankee and Chino y Nacho (Spanish artist), also Royce Gracie was a part of the show. In 2015, we started our fist MMA fights. What makes Combate unique is that we are the first Hispanic MMA promotion in the USA, so we focus on the development of the Hispanic fighters. Even though we have fighters from here and other countries we do look to always bring that Hispanic flavor to LA Jaula (the cage) of Combate.
GG: How were you originally introduced to Combate? Did you audition or did they reach out to you?
AC: I was the first Spanish female covering the sport of MMA here in the USA over 7 years ago with a show called El Octagono, and Campbell McLaren, CEO and founder of Combate America, contacted me through LinkedIn to host the MMA portion of the reality show.
GG: You’ve done a lot of work for “El Octagono” conducting interviews and making other content, what has been the biggest challenge in doing commentary compared to the work you’ve done in the past?
AC: It has been an amazing experience. I feel is actually easier than reporting. When you commentate you are narrating what is happening plus adding the technical things that I already know. When you are reporting you need to investigate on your guest and develop the interview. I feel commentating is more exciting and allows me to show a little more of who I am.
GG: I want to go back a bit, you have a modeling background and have even won bikini competitions in the past. What is it that attracted you to the sport of MMA?
AC: I have competed in fitness competitions in the bikini division and actually I got into the fitness competitions because of a fighter: Alistair Overeem. He encouraged me to see what my body could do through exercise and diet. I love everything about MMA: the focus, dedication and stories all the fighters have. The mental and physical control you need to have over your body to be able to be a fighter, and watching fights just excites me like no other sport does.
GG: You’ve certainly followed the sport to become a prominent figure yourself, becoming the MMA Personality of the Year in 2012. There’s a lot of joy, I imagine, that goes along with winning but what are you most proud of when looking at that award?
AC: The effort it took to be even considered for this award. The amazing team I had, the guys of “El Octagono,” that believed in me and have helped me throughout this journey. I love them both so much. Thanks to them, every day of my life I feel blessed that I’m able to do what I love. And of course, Campbell because he has believed in me and took the risk in putting me out there. That’s what makes me proud every time I see my awards. To know that it was just the beginning of a life full of joy and blessings thanks to these people and the sport of MMA.
GG: As a commentator, you’re in slightly uncharted territory as most of the well-known commentators in the sport are men. Do you find any specific challenges or differences in doing the job as a woman that the men just might not have?
AC: Not really, the only advantage I think I have over any other men commentator is that is probably easier to get fighters to open up and talk to me. But the rest of the time I don’t feel any difference between them and myself.
GG: Is there anyone in particular that you’ve watched to model how you do your job as a commentator?
AC: I really like Joe Rogan, how passionate he is when he commentates I really like that.
GG: As a reporter in general, do you find you’ve had any advantages or disadvantages being a woman in the business?
AC: The same, I guess it was easier for me to get an interview.
GG: Now attached to a growing promotion, and in such a prominent role, what has been the most exciting part of your new job?
AC: Omg, everything! I love the Combate Americas team, they are like a second family for me. Getting to share the desk with Carlos and Andres has been great, they are amazing commentators with so much experience. It has been an amazing process.
GG: Finally, what can fans look forward to seeing you do next, either with Combate Americas or in your career in general?
AC: Combate Americas will keep growing, we plan to keep doing international shows and I plan to keep growing with them. Now that I am in Los Angeles I have the chance to do other things like acting so that is also something important that I plan on expanding.
GG: Thank you so much for your time Andrea! Where can fans follow you on social media to keep up with you?
AC: @andreacallecorp in all social media.
Thank you for having me 😉