The fourth annual Fighter’s Only World MMA Awards took place last night at the Pearl at the Palms. UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones took home Fighter of the Year honors, but there were plenty of other memorable moments in the annual celebration of everything that is MMA. Here’s a quick recap of why you might want to tune in when the shows airs on FOX Sports on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Hands down the video tribute honoring the late Shawn Tompkins was the highlight of the nearly two-hour event. While the Las Vegas-based coach, who was just 37 when he died of a heart attack on a training trip to his native Canada on Aug. 14, lost out to Greg Jackson for the Coach of the Year honors, the award will forever bear his name in the future. Several fighters and fans became choked up when Tompkins’ wife Emilie addressed the audience: “There’s only one thing that I want everyone to remember is that when Shawn passed away I had the choice to either be set back by his death or to really be inspired by his life. I’m truly inspired by his life and so proud of him.”
Reason to Tune-in
Love him or hate him, host Chael Sonnen carried the show with his one-liners. From the very start the UFC’s boisterous middleweight attacked his nemesis Anderson Silva, as well as just about every other fighter in the audience. He even played off his recent Twitter war of words, but instead of lashing out at Octagon girl Arianny Celeste like everyone expected, he bashed on Michael Bisping. “Is Michael Bisping in the running?” Sonnen joked when asked by an audience member who should win Ring Girl of the Year.
Duh Moment of the Night (x 2)
Really, was there ever any doubt that the UFC would take home Promotion of the Year, or Dana White would win Leading Man of the Year.
Absentee Fighter of the Night
No shocker here, but Nick Diaz didn’t make it to the show despite being up for Fighter of the Year and Fight of the Year. His absence might have been for the best, not sure Diaz would have enjoyed the skit poking fun of all the places he was allegedly at when he wasn’t attending the UFC press conference that cost him his initial title shot against Georges St-Pierre.
Zinger out of Left Field
Wow who knew that one of the prettiest presenters, Playboy Playmate Jessa Hinton, would deliver the night’s biggest verbal bomb when she joked about how hard could it be to run an MMA promotion: “Just ask Gary Shaw.”
Best Barrel Roll of the Night
Las Vegas-own mullet sporting Roy Nelson accepted several awards on behalf of fighters that couldn’t attend, but the well-known prankster had the crowd in stitches when he barrel rolled his way on stage to accept Jason “Mayhem” Miller’s Ring Entrance of the Year award.