23 Dec 2014 11:55:36 AM
(Arianny Celeste, accepting her third-consecutive award for Journalist of the Year. / Photo via Getty)
By Mike Fagan
I sort of remember where I was when Fighters Only announced the first World MMA Awards. What a moment. I sat there at my desk in my two-bedroom apartment in beautiful Henderson, Nevada, reading the announcement and nominee list. I may have thought something like “This won’t last more than a year” or maybe I just finished reading and moved on with my life. December 2008 was a wild time, man.
Yet, here we are during the annual War on Christmas in 2014 and the World MMA Awards are going strong with their seventh annual edition. They proved the maybe-fictional version of my 2008 self wrong.
Fighters Only released this year’s nominee list on Monday, and I have some thoughts. Allow me to list them for you…
1. Someone ran the nominee photos through the “2003” filter. The World MMA Awards built itself a flashy website complete with a sweet animated countdown clock and high-res background video of last year’s awards and 2014 UFC highlights which I’m sure cost a lot of money to license (wink wink). Yet when you click through to vote, you find headshots of nominees that look like they were shot on a flip phone a decade ago.
2. International Fighter of the Year is still a thing. For the first two years, International Fighter of the Year was known as European Fighter of the Year, which, okay, Fighters Only is a UK publication or whatever. They renamed it for 2010, and fighters “outside the Americas” are eligible. Now I’m not sure of the point. Every winner of the award (including the original Euro winners) had a presence in the United States the year they won. Plus, MMA is a global sport, and international fighters aren’t disqualified or handicapped from winning Fighter of the Year proper. The first three winners were non-Americans Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre (who technically isn’t eligible for International Fighter of the Year anyway), and Jose Aldo. You could always present a non-UFC Fighter of the Year and prevent things like…
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