If 2010 was a cold beer, we’d be down to the backwash. December puts all of us MMA-pundit types in a reflective mood, and this year gave us a double-crapload of big stories, insane fights, rising stars, and utter embarrassments to wrap our heads around. And so, we’d like to pay tribute to 2010 in the best way we know how — sarcasm and insults, mostly. Without further ado, here are 15 things we felt were worthy of some end-of-year recognition, Potato-style…
The Giant Silva Freak Show Award, presented each year to the match that’s made strictly for gruesome entertainment value; fighters should ideally exhibit a tremendous difference in either size or experience level.
Winner: Randy Couture vs. James Toney at UFC 118, in which a tubby boxing champ trash-talked his way into a co-headling bout against an MMA legend, and got choked out before he was able to land a single punch. This marks the first time in eleven years that the Giant Silva Award hasn’t been granted to a fight held in Japan.
Also receiving votes this year: Herschel Walker vs. Greg Nagy
The Wanderlei Silva Unintentionally Homoerotic Smack Talk Award, known as "The Wandy" is presented each year to the fighter who, when trying to hype a fight, inadvertently makes reference to having gay sex with his (or her) opponent.
Winner: Josh Koscheck, for the utterly disturbing wild-eyed, tongue-waving description above of what he was planning to do to UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre during this season of The Ultimate Fighter.
Also receiving votes this year: Matt Horwich, for his cringeworthy rant about how he was going to Mike Tyson 10th Planet protagonist Renato Laranja.
The Natasha Wicks Memorial Best Female Newcomer Award, presented each year to the up-and-coming MMA ring girl — preferably blonde, as per the bylaws — who gets us to forget about Arianny Celeste and Brittney Palmer, if only for a moment.
Winner: Rhian Sugden, the stunning (and frequently-nude) star of the U.K.’s BAMMA promotion.
Also receiving votes this year: Kelli Hutcherson, Stephanie Ann Cook, Brittany Ward, Melissa Jo
The Steve Nelmark ’Is He Dead?’ Award, awarded to the stoppage that goes from badass to alarming, as the victim is stretchered out of the ring, stiff as a board; bonus points if the loser’s eyes stay open the whole time.
Winner: Marlon Sandro‘s nine-second uppercut K.O. of Tomonori Kanomata at Sengoku 12. To borrow a phrase from Paul Daley, when Sandro hits people, they stay hit.
Also receiving votes this year: Marlon Sandro vs. Masanori Kanehara, Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Lindland, Paul Daley vs. Scott Smith, Maximo Blanco vs. Chang Hyun Kim, Urijah Faber vs. Takeya Mizugaki
The Krazy Horse Bennett Arrest of the Year Award, presented annually to the MMA fighter whose poor decision-making skills earn him a fun little ride in a police car. Remember, violence in cage = good, violence outside of cage = bad.
Winner: Mike Whitehead, for allegedly raping a sleeping woman after a barbecue at his house, which happened to double as a marijuana farm.
Also receiving votes this year: War Machine, Tito Ortiz, Krazy Horse himself
The Cecil Peoples Shittiest Decision of the Year Award, presented each year to the fight that makes us claw at our faces in frustration about the sorry state of MMA judging.
Winner (tie): Leonard Garcia vs. Chan Sung Jung and Leonard Garcia vs. Nam Phan, for proving that loud grunts and a nice smile will always outweigh silly statistics like "number of punches landed."
Also receiving votes this year: Sean Sherk vs. Evan Dunham, Jason Brilz vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Zoila Frausto vs. Megumi Fujii, Zoila Frausto vs. Jessica Aguilar
The Dana White Crazy Freakout of the Year Award, is presented annually to the MMA personality who flips his wig (or lack thereof) and provides us all with the craziest, most uncalled for and most unintentionally hilarious rant. Recipient should exhibit a complete disconnect with reality, social mores and, if possible, he/she should be a member of the superrich who believes the universe revolves around his/her enormous bald head.
Winner: Dana White, obvi. For the sixth consecutive year it is our pleasure to present this award to the Bald Father; this time for calling CagePotato Editor Ben Goldstein up on the phone on a Saturday afternoon to yell swears at him over the phone all because this website published some murky, vaguely pornographic photos of some chippy before Big DW got to fully cash in on them himself. Stay classy, UFC.
Also receiving votes this year: Bjorn Rebney, Dana White and Dana White.
The Mark Coleman Botched Victory Celebration Award, presented each year to the fighter who can turn a triumphant moment into legendary physical comedy.
Winner: Eder Jones, for his minor bout of indigestion at a PRIME MMA event in Brazil. This guy knows what I’m talking about.
Also receiving votes this year: The Grachan fighter who TKO’d himself while trying to imitate Eddie Alvarez.
The Corey Hill Gnarliest Injury Award, presented each year to the fighter who best illustrates that yes, this is a brutal sport, and sometimes people’s bodies can be rearranged in dry-heave-inducing ways, the poor bastards.
Winner: Duane "Bang" Ludwig, for getting his ankle twisted 180 degrees during his UFC on Versus 1 scrap with Darren Elkins. Ludwig returned to the UFC eight months later, scoring a split-decision over Nick Osipczak.
Also receiving votes this year: Jason MacDonald‘s leg, Martin Kampmann‘s exploded eyebrow
The ‘Really? You’re Just Gonna Keep Doing that Shit that Gets You in All That Trouble?’ Award, sometimes simply called the Koppenhaver, is awarded every year to the MMA personality who shows a complete inability to learn from past mistakes. The proud winner of this award continually repeats his own sordid history, seemingly without conscience or embarrassment. Not suffering any consequences? Well, that’s just gravy.
Winner: Chris Leben, for hanging a second (that we know of ) DUI arrest on his otherwise stellar year this past October. No jail this time … yet, but with The Crippler heading into his February court date seemingly full of hubris, there’s still a chance.
Also receiving votes this year: War Machine, Josh Barnett and Chael Sonnen (Dude, it’s called submission defense).
The Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou Terrible Cardio Award, each year goes to the fighter who couldda been a contender … if only he’d gotten on a treadmill, like, once in his entire life. Winners of this award showcase the ability to start strong and never finish, a willingness to just stand there and breathe at their opponent and — on rare momentous occasions — the desire to quit on the stool.
Winner: Rolles Gracie, for his one-and-done performance against Joey Beltran and UFC 109. The then-undefeated Gracie came up pretty small in his UFC debut, dropping a second-round TKO that got him summarily dumped from the company. Shame, too. Dude probably could’ve beaten Beltran, if he just hadn’t been so sleepy.
Others receiving votes: Bobby Lashley and Muhammed Lawal.
The David Terrell ‘BRB’ Award, each year goes to the fighter who disappeared from MMA, likely never to return after promising to be back after a brief hiatus from the sport.
Winner: Former Strikeforce women’s 145-pound champ Gina Carano, who was ostensibly supposed to return to fighting after clearing her heavily-concussed head following the August 15, 2009, beating she was handed by Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos, but instead opted to take the Randy Couture route of heading to Hollywood to try her hand at acting.
Also receiving votes this year: Randy Couture, James Toney and Mark Kerr.
The Royce Gracie, ’He Tested Positive for What?’ Award, presented each year to the fighter who surprises the shit out of everybody for pissing hot for something shocking.
Winner: Alpha male Chael Sonnen who, to the shock of everyone tested positive for high levels of synthetic testosterone after putting Lance Armstrong on blast for allegedly using PEDs and then went on to spin a yarn about how he never went through puberty and was testicularly deficient. It took balls for him to talk about that. His CSAC hearing was like a David Lynch movie, except it actually made less sense if that’s even possible.
Past winners include: Kevin Randleman (dog urine), Aleksander Emelianenko (Hep C), Diego Sanchez, (Pure H2Otm) and Butterbean (gravy).
The Inaugural GSP vs. Koscheck Most Satisfying Beatdown Award, awarded each year to the fight in which the good guy kicks the bad guy’s ass so thoroughly that it restores our faith in humanity.
Winner: Georges St. Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck, in which Kos acted like an intolerable asshole for all eleven episodes of TUF 12, before being gloriously STFU’d in five consecutive rounds of orbital-breaking punishment at UFC 124.
Also receiving votes this year: Cain Velasquez vs. Brock Lesnar picked up a couple of write-in votes, but really, it was obvious who was going to win this one.
The ‘Hello Japan!’ MMA Fail of the Year Award, presented each year to the moment that makes us question why we follow this ridiculous sport in the first place.
Winner: The Strikeforce Nashville Brawl. Taken on its own, Jason Miller getting gang-stomped by Team Cesar Gracie might not have won this highly un-coveted prize. But the incident gave birth to some ugly-ass babies, so to speak. First, Gus Johnson’s infamous commentary ("sometimes these things happen in MMA"), which should hopefully haunt him the rest of his broadcasting career. More importantly, it created a rivalry between Miller and Nick Diaz that so far has only led to Layzie the Savage being shoved out a door, and the once-sacred phrase "don’t be scared homey" being beaten into the ground. It’s no coincidence that Strikeforce hasn’t been on CBS since their trip to Music City USA, and we’d all be better off if Mayhem and the Skrap Pack had a little more discretion when so many people were watching.
Also receiving votes this year: Everything about Mariuz Pudzianowski vs. Butterbean, from the hype-up, to the botched National Anthem, to the sorry-ass fight itself; the Shine Fights: Mayorga vs. Thomas cancellation; the Nemesis MMA: Global Invasion fiasco; the XVT 5 corruption; Efrain Escudero misses weight by four pounds, gets choked out by an up-and-comer, and loses his job.
Did we leave anything out? Hit us with your own Potato Award nominees in the comments section…