Fighter of the Year
Anderson Silva, Brock Lesnar, Frankie Edgar, Mauricio Rua
For a mixed martial artist who’s never fought under the UFC banner to be voted ‘Fighter of the Year’ is testament to the enormous impact Jose Aldo’s had on the sport – and the catholic tastes of our constituents. 2010 saw the 24-year old Brazilian crumple featherweight poster boy Urijah Faber over five rounds at April’s WEC 48, and expertly finish Manny Gamburyan at September’s WEC 51. Presented with the first-ever UFC featherweight belt in the cage at UFC 123, the dexterous, dynamic and ruthless Nova Uniao product will be a more-than-worthy headliner on the big stage in 2011.
Female Fighter of the Year
Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos
Megumi Fujii, Miesha Tate, Sarah Kaufman, Zoila Frausto
So dominant within women’s MMA that some call for her to fight with the men, Cris ‘Cyborg’ cemented her position as the empress of MMA this year. A well-earned victory over Holland’s Marloes Conen (now the Strikeforce 125lb women’s champ) in January and a well-documented rout of courageous Jan ‘Cuddles’ Finney in June saw the intimidating Cristiane become one of the sport’s most iconic fi gures, and an inspiration to female mixed martial artists whether amateur or professional.
Knockout of the Year
‘Shogun’ over Machida
Anthony Njokuani over Chris Horodecki, WEC 45;
Cain Velasquez over Antonio Nogueira, UFC 110;
Mike Russow over Todd Duffee, UFC 114;
Rich Franklin over Chuck Liddell, UFC 115
A dramatic reversal of their first bout, ‘Shogun’ and ‘The Dragon’ went at it in admirably aggressive style for all of three-and-a-half-minutes; until Rua countered the uncharacteristically proactive Machida with a thundering overhand right, sending the champion tumbling to the canvas. With that, the beaming Brazilian took what many believed to be his rightful place atop MMA’s most compelling weight class.
Submission of the Year
Werdum over Emelianenko
(Strikeforce: Fedor vs Werdum)
Matt Hughes over Ricardo Almeida, UFC 117;
Chris Leben over Yoshihiro Akiyama, UFC 116;
Cole Miller over Dan Lauzon, UFC 108;
Anderson Silva over Chael Sonnen, UFC 117
In “a great victory for Brazilian jiu-jitsu,” as ‘Minotauro’ Nogueira put it at the time, elite grappler Werdum trapped a surprisingly reckless Fedor Emelianenko in a triangle-armbar combination that shocked the MMA world. Werdum made tapping out ‘The Last Emperor’ seem effortless: a testament to the BJJ master’s long-admired skills.
Most Memorable Ring Entrance
Strikeforce: Fedor vs Rogers
Tom Lawlor, UFC Fight Night 20; Anderson Silva, UFC 117;
Clay Guida, UFC 107; ‘King Mo’ Lawal, Strikeforce: Nashville
Loud and unrepentantly brash, Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller’s entrance before his November Jake Shields fight was clearly unforgettable. Fireworks, dance routines and gyrating halfnaked girls were more than any MMA fan could ever ask for – especially in a world packed with stumbling walkouts to monotonous bangers.
Breakthrough Fighter of the Year
Charles Oliveira, Evan Dunham, George Sotiropoulos, John Hathaway
Jon Jones’ remarkable run of dominance in the UFC light heavyweight division thrust him into the hearts and minds of MMA fans in 2010. Devastating wily veteran Vladimir Matyushenko with the help of a crucifix pin and causing the respected Brandon Vera to indirectly cry ‘uncle’ has established ‘Bones’ as far more than hype.
Ring Girl of the Year
Brittney Palmer, Chandella Powell, Natalie Skyy, Rachelle Leah
Awarded ‘Ring Girl of the Year’ for the third year running, Arianny Celeste has offi cially established herself as queen bee among strong competition. But, with Miss Celeste boasting a Playboy cover, and meet-and-greet lines that ran the length of Expo halls on both sides of the Atlantic, it was hard to imagine the trophy ever going to anyone else.
Leading Man of the Year
Joe Silva, Scott Coker, Michael Schiavello, Bjorn Rebney
Dana White taking the ‘Leading Man of the Year’ award for the third time in a row makes the UFC president one of a few entirely dominant champions of the FO World MMA Awards. Since the award’s inception he’s been the only title holder. One of the best-known personalities in the sport and tasked with one of the highest-pressured jobs, it’s no wonder White grabs the statuette again.
Coach of the Year
Cesar Gracie, Firas Zahabi, Rafael Cordeiro, Shawn Tompkins
Was the master of game plans ever going to relinquish his grip on the ‘Coach of the Year’ title? Greg Jackson’s helming of a camp with an unparalleled winning percentage coupled with fantastic words of encouragement like, “If nature cannot break you, no man will,” certainly earns New Mexico’s Yoda a second stint as the game’s ‘Coach of the Year’.
Gym of the Year
Wand Training Center
AKA, American Top Team, Black House, Greg Jackson
Well known for being as welcoming to the public as it is to the pros, Wanderei Silva’s Las Vegas gym is home to masses of promising up-and-comers. Being the base of operations for famed trainer Rafael Cordeiro – now responsible for the careers of ‘The Axe Murderer’, Mark Munoz and ‘Babalu’ Sobral – there are few better places for a mixed martial artist to learn the craft.
Referee of the Year
John McCarthy, Dan Mirgliotta, Josh Rosenthal, Mario Yamasaki
They say good refereeing is something you don’t notice. If that’s true, Herb Dean fits the bill perfectly. Rarely at the center of controversy and always to the letter whether the call is tough or routine, the Dana White endorsee takes the World MMA Awards first-ever ‘Referee of the Year’ title.
Best Lifestyle Clothing Brand
Affliction, FightChix, RVCA, Silver Star
Although TapouT hasn’t had the same haul as 2009’s awards show – where it snatched top honors in clothing, shorts and brand – it still makes off with the lifestyle trophy in 2010. Despite already being one of the biggest companies in the sport, a mid-year buyout strengthened its firepower yet again and it looks set for further global domination.
MMA Journalist of the Year
Aaron Teweles, Conner Cordova, Gareth A Davies, John Morgan
Ariel Helwani’s come a long way from low-key JarryPark. com and MMA Rated blog beginnings to today’s full-time gig fronting media behemoth AOL’s mixed martial arts arm, MMA Fighting. Breaking some of the year’s biggest news and being a persistent media face at every UFC and Strikeforce event earned him the honors. Not bad considering Helwani wasn’t even nominated in 2009.
Media Source of the Year
Sherdog, Inside MMA, MMA Weekly, MMA Fighting
With MMA Junkie being the first port of call for news-hungry fight fans, and providing in-depth coverage at all levels of the sport, the award for John Morgan and the gang is well earned. Another of only a handful of winners to manage a ‘three-peat’, MMA Junkie are well respected in the industry and welcome winners of ‘Media Source of the Year’.
Outstanding Contribution to MMA
Who could argue with Randy Couture’s impression on MMA throughout his 29-fight, 13-year career? Heavyweight and light heavyweight UFC titles; conquerings of fighting legends such as Chuck Liddell, Vitor Belfort, Tito Ortiz and Pedro Rizzo; as well as being a perfect ambassador for the game. Few have given as much to mixed martial arts as ‘Captain America’.
Fight of the Year
Silva vs Sonnen
Brock Lesnar vs Shane Carwin,UFC 116;
Chan Sung Jung vs Leonard Garcia, WEC 48;
Chris Leben vs Yoshihiro Akiyama, UFC 116;
Jorge Santiago vs Kazuo Misaki, Sengoku 14
Who’s going to win? Who knows. But by the end of it, I guarantee that Anderson will know he’s been in a fight.” That’s one of the more resonant sound-bites from Chael Sonnen in the build-up to 2010’s ‘Fight of the Year’. No matter what one thinks of Sonnen, we saw the seemingly invincible Silva wearing a panicked expression, attacking wildly and very close to the end of the longest active winning streak in the UFC. It was sport at its most dramatic and emotional.
International Fighter of the Year
Dan Hardy, George Sotiropoulos, John Hathaway, Shinya Aoki
The ease with which Dutch all-rounder Alistair Overeem sliced through former-Fedor-foe Brett Rogers within 220 seconds at Strikeforce in May startled many. Rogers had smoked ten opponents in a row before nearly finishing ‘The Last Emperor’, yet Overeem tossed him around the cage at will. Add in three more first-round wins totaling three minutes 11 seconds from the rest of the eligible time frame and the choice of the populous is undoubtedly warranted.
Strikeforce, Dream, Bellator, WEC
It’s perhaps no surprise that the world’s largest and most influential MMA promotion took home the FO silverware for the third year running. 2010 saw over one million pay-perview buys for UFC 114: Rampage vs Evans; the promotion’s first events in Australia and the United Arab Emirates; the release of console sequel Undisputed 2010; and a merger with its widely acclaimed ‘little brother’ World Extreme Cagefighting, expanding the UFC’s roster of weight classes from five to seven. Congratulations again to the patriarchs of modern MMA.
Best Technical Equipment Brand
Fairtex, Hayabusa, TapouT, Venum
While Everlast has been the premier name in the boxer’s realm since 1917, the company is only taking its first steps into MMA. But, those 93 years of combat-sports experience have obviously served it well to take their new industry’s most prestigious prize in only a few years of operation. Certainly deserving of a touch of gloves.
Best Technical Clothing Brand
Hayabusa, Jaco, TapouT, Venum
Bad Boy’s deep history reaching directly into the origins of modern mixed martial arts has given the sharp brand reels of experience and legitimacy. For producing fight wear that bows to the demands of the ‘modern warrior’ and aligning itself with some of the sport’s best, Bad Boy takes the title.