FEMALE FIGHTER OF THE YEAR
RUNNERS-UP: Marloes Coenen, Zoila Gurgel, Sarah Kaufman, Ronda Rousey
The winner of last year’s Strikeforce women’s bantamweight tournament, Miesha ‘Takedown’ Tate was expected to face Marloes Coenen for the Strikeforce 135lb women’s title near the beginning of the year, but injury delayed the bout until July. Although it was her only fight this year, Tate’s impressive outing against Coenen, which saw her choke out the Dutch submission specialist, proved her to be one of the most talented women in MMA. As well as earning her the Strikeforce gold, her dominant championship win left fans with no choice but to crown her this year’s ‘Female Fighter of the Year.’
KNOCKOUT OF THE YEAR
Anderson Silva over Vitor Belfort
Patricky ‘Pitbull’ Freire over Toby Imada (Bellator 39),
John Makdessi over Kyle Watson (UFC 129),
Lyoto Machida over Randy Couture (UFC 129),
Cheick Kongo over Pat Barry (UFC Live 5)
2010 was a shaky year for ‘The Spider.’ His embarrassing behavior in Abu Dhabi against Demian Maia and near defeat at the hands of Chael Sonnen left doubt in many people’s minds as to whether the UFC middleweight champ truly belonged at the top of the pound-for-pound list. One front kick to the face later against heated rival Vitor Belfort last February, along with August’s domination of Yushin Okami in Rio, and Silva is back on top. And it’s all thanks to Steven Seagal – apparently.
SUBMISSION OF THE YEAR
(Chan-Sung Jung over Leonard Garcia (UFC FN 24)
Pablo Garza over Yves Jabouin (UFC 129),
Richard Hale over Nik Fekete (Bellator 38),
Vinny Magalhaes over Viktor Nemkov (M-1 Challenge 25),
Tito Ortiz over Ryan Bader (UFC 132), Phil Davis over Tim Boetsch (UFC 123)
What do you do when you aren’t learning enough killer moves in camp? Watch videos on YouTube of course. At least that’s how ‘The Korean Zombie’ Chan-Sung Jung (whose award was sportingly accepted by submission recipient Garcia in Jung’s absence) claims he learned the twister submission used at UFN 24. It was the UFC debut of the move, made famous by 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu master Eddie Bravo.
MOST MEMORABLE RING ENTRANCE
Jason 'Mayhem' Miller
Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller (Dream 16)
Yoshihiro Akiyama (UFC 133), Vitor Belfort (UFC 133),
Dave Herman (UFC 131), Mark Hominick (UFC 129)
‘Mayhem’ is famed for his exuberant personality, and it certainly shone through at Dream 16 in Japan in late 2010 when a masked Miller entered the arena, surrounded by dancing Asian ladies, to the sound of booming rap-house crossover track Bonkers. This is the second year in a row that the TUF 14 coach has won this award but can he continue the trophywinning entertainment for another year?
BREAKTHROUGH FIGHTER OF THE YEAR
Daniel Cormier, Phil Davis,
Demetrious Johnson, Brian Stann
‘Cowboy’ fought twice for the WEC lightweight title during his three years with the promotion. Now it seems that Cerrone has finally broken through to the big time with the UFC, putting together a five-fight win streak that includes a bonus checks for ‘Fight of the Night,’ ‘Submission of the Night’ and ‘Knockout of the Night.’ At time of going to press he was also scheduled to meet Nate Diaz in a fight that could elevate him into title contention.
RING GIRL OF THE YEAR
The only woman to ever claim the title of ‘Ring Girl of the Year,’ Arianny reigns supreme as MMA’s hottest attraction for the fourth time. As well as her bikiniclad struts around the Octagon apron, Miss Celeste also presents the UFC’s
Ultimate Insider series, proving she’s much more than just a pretty face.
LEADING MAN OF THE YEAR
Scott Coker, Lorenzo Fertitta,
Marc Ratner, Bjorn Rebney
You have to admire how much Dana White has accomplished in his time as UFC president. The boss of mixed martial arts’ premier promotion is the kind of guy who never stops until the job is done, and with his single-minded approach to growing the sport, don’t be surprised if one day his plans of world domination become a reality.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Rafael Cordeiro, Eric Del Fierro,
Cesar Gracie, Shawn Tompkins
The master strategist behind top MMA fighters like Jon Jones, Georges St Pierre and Brian Stann, Greg Jackson has been named top coach for the third consecutive time. His seemingly mystical ability to breed success in his students has earned him the nickname ‘Yoda’ amongst his peers. The force is strong with this one.
GYM OF THE YEAR
Alliance MMA, Jackson’s MMA,
Roufusport, Xtreme Couture
The most famous Brazil-themed MMA gym houses a long list of name fighters, including three current UFC champions (José Aldo, Anderson Silva, Junior Dos Santos), as well as a plethora of other accomplished combatants like legendary former champions Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Rafael Cavalcante. Now they can add a
Fighters Only trophy to their list of accolades.
REFEREE OF THE YEAR
‘Big’ John McCarthy, Dan Miragliotta,
Josh Rosenthal, Mario Yamasaki
Praised by many, including Dana White, as MMA’s number-one official, Herb Dean is probably the least disputed referee in the entire sport. With so many bad calls made in mixed martial arts, it is reassuring to know that there are professionals like Herb out there who we can all count on to make the right judgement.
BEST LIFESTYLE CLOTHING BRAND
Affliction, Bad Boy,
Form Athletics, RVCA
A name that has become synonymous with MMA clothing, TapouT has proven to be as popular as ever, once again picking up the award for Best Clothing Brand. Co-founder Charles ‘Mask’ Lewis, who tragically died in a car accident in 2009, is the only non-fighter to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame and has his name eternally stamped on the Fighters Only ‘Fighter of the Year’ award. The label’s list of sponsored athletes includes top-level fighters Jake Shields, Ryan Bader and Brian Ebersole.
MMA JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR
John Morgan, Gareth A Davies,
Josh Gross, Ben Fowlkes
It’s been an interesting year for MMAFighting. com’s leading man. Despite receiving some mild threats from the likes of Nick Diaz and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson during interviews, Mr Helwani has continued to provide quality coverage throughout 2011, earning him his second FO ‘Journalist of the Year’ trophy.
MEDIA SOURCE OF THE YEAR
Inside MMA, MMAFighting.com,
MMA Live, Sherdog.com
Yet another four-straight win record was achieved at this year’s awards ceremony by mixed martial arts media moguls MMAJunkie.com. With their breaking news coverage, easy-to-use smartphone apps and daily MMA radio show, former ‘MMA Journalist of the Year’ John Morgan and the rest of the MMAJunkie. com team are thoroughly deserving of top spot in a highly competitive category.
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO MMA
The ‘Outstanding Contribution to MMA’ was awarded posthumously to Shawn Tompkins, who died of a heart attack in his sleep on August 14th 2011. Shawn was a former MMA fighter and kickboxing champion, and the head coach at the TapouT gym in Las Vegas. His exceptional ability as a teacher earned him the fitting nickname of ‘The Coach.’ A friend and mentor to many fighters, including the UFC’s Mark Hominick, Sam Stout and former WEC standout Chris Horodecki, Tompkins was revered unanimously by his students who saw him as a great leader and outstanding human being. His wife, Emilie Tompkins, collected the award for her husband in what was the most inspirational and moving moment of the entire evening.
FIGHT OF THE YEAR
Edgar vs Maynard
Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard II (UFC 125)
Jose Aldo vs Mark Hominick (UFC 129),
Dominick Cruz vs Urijah Faber (UFC 132),
Nick Diaz vs Paul Daley (Strikeforce: Diaz vs Daley),
Diego Sanchez vs Martin Kampmann (UFC Live 3)
With so many strong contenders for this year’s award, including a ton of epic battles that didn’t make the nominations, it is testament to just how incredible Edgar vs Maynard II was that it grabbed this year’s trophy. Usually, a draw is a result that elicits a strong chorus of boos from the crowd, but these two warriors fought with so much heart that the final decision seemed only fitting of such a closely contested fight.
INTERNATIONAL FIGHTER OF THE YEAR
Michael Bisping, Alexander Gustafsson,
Joachim Hansen, Dennis Siver
Winner of ‘International Fighter of the Year’ for the second year running, Overeem has not tasted defeat since 2007. Long touted as the best heavyweight outside the UFC, the reigning K-1 champion finally signed a contract with the promotion in September 2011.
BAMMA, Bellator Fighting
Championships, Dream, Strikeforce
The daddy of modern MMA promotions, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, has snagged this FO silverware for the fourth year in a row. This past year has seen the UFC break MMA’s North American attendance record with UFC 129 in Toronto, hold the first UFC event in Brazil for over 10 years and signed a seven-year deal with network sporting supremo Fox. With 2012 looking like it could be another stellar year for the Zuffa crew, there’s a good chance they could make it five straight.
BEST TECHNICAL EQUIPMENT BRAND
Bad Boy, Hayabusa, Rival, Venum
Long-time fight gear brand Everlast has been at the forefront of fighting equipment for almost a century and now looks set to dominate the business of MMA as it has done boxing. The renowned Everlast brand has everything that a mixed martial arts fighter could ever need in both training and competition, from gloves to mouth guards, from punch bags to cages. A very worthy recipient of this year’s ‘Best Technical Equipment’ award.
COMEBACK OF THE YEAR
Cheick Kongo over Pat Barry (UFC Live 4)
Tito Ortiz (career), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (career),
Joe Warren over Joe Soto (Bellator 27), Marloes Coenen over Liz Carmouche (Strikeforce: Feijao vs Henderson)
When a fighter drops to the canvas after taking a powerful shot to the head, most referees might stop the action right there. Not Dan Miragliotta. He let this one continue even after Kongo fell to the floor for a second time, allowing the imposing French striker to regain his senses and knock Pat Barry out cold with a perfectly placed uppercut. Surely one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time.
MMA PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Bruce Buffer, Jacob ‘Stitch’ Duran,
Bas Rutten, Burt Watson
Comedian, actor, marijuana advocate and taekwondo champion: Joe Rogan has called some of the best fights in history and his enthusiastic style of commentary always makes for a fitting accompaniment to the exciting incage action. If you want the full flavor of Rogan’s award-winning personality then check out his powerful podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience.
BEST TECHNICAL CLOTHING BRAND
Hayabusa, Jaco, Sprawl, Venum
The trademark eyes of the Bad Boy brand, perhaps most famously seen on the shorts of former UFC champion ‘Shogun’ Rua, are one of the most recognizable symbols in the world of mixed martial arts fight gear. Bad Boy also sells a wide range of technical equipment including mitts and gloves, but it is their popular shorts and rash guards that have won it for them this year.