Posts Tagged ‘World MMA Awards’

Fighter’s Only 2011 MMA Awards: Chael Sonnen, Shawn Tompkins, 2012 and beyond

They’ve not been around as long as Big Wheels, but the Fighter’s Only MMA Awards are a big deal.

The ceremony put on by the global company that produces magazines in the U.S., U.K., South Africa, Germany and Canada in addition to a worldwide publication, is the only annual event that acknowledges the milestones and achievements of mixed martial arts.  Organized by Fighter’s Only, the function is ready to delve into its fourth consecutive year of celebrations on Wednesday at the Pearl Theatre inside the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

Two new categories – Comeback of the Year and MMA Personality of the Year – were added this year.

Celebrities from outside the MMA world are brought in to attract non-MMA viewers.  As opposed to last year, Wednesday’s show will be broadcast on Fox instead of an internet stream, which is sure to bring more spectators.

Among the awards is a Lifetime Achievement award, something Randy Couture acquired last year while co-hosting the program with CBS Sports journalist and former MMA Live (ESPN) personality Molly Qerim.  Couture was humorous, professional and well-received in the role.

This year Fighter’s Only went a different direction with Qerim’s partner, the imitable Chael Sonnen.

“I think Chael will be brilliant,” Fighter’s Only CEO Rob Hewitt told  “I think he has the look, the confidence and the personality to go in there and do a great job.  He’s entertaining and he’s a well-known name in the sport.  People want to hear what Chael has to say and I think the fans at the show and at home watching will enjoy what Chael brings to the ceremony.  He’s co-hosting with Molly Qerim, who is a lovely woman, very beautiful and a great journalist herself.  I think the two of them will give the fans a great show.  I’m looking forward to it.”

Loved or hated, Sonnen attracts fans, the same fans that Hewitt allows to decide the winners.  The nominees are pared down by an industry ensemble.

“We have six international magazines and the editor from each magazine gets together with a panel of experts outside of the magazine, which is Mauro Ranallo, Randy Couture and Bas Rutten, and they gather the nominees,” Hewitt explained.  “As the chairman, I sit down to see who were the top five people from the expert panel, rather than the fans, and then the fans choose who is going to win.  I don’t know what might happen if the fans chose the nominees and I can’t say what is going to happen in the future, but we don’t expect any changes and we like the fact that fans can get involved and have their say.

“At the end of the day, it’s the fans that make the sport, isn’t it?”

As fans want to have their say in who wins, they also want to be a part of something monumental.

It’s gratifying to vote for a winner at the MMA Awards, but it’s a greater feeling to witness the homage Fighter’s Only pays to the fallen soldiers of the sport.  The organization has named the Fighter of the Year award after TapouT founder Charles “Mask” Lewis, lost in a fatal car accident in 2009, and set aside time at each ceremony to remember the unfortunate moments MMA has endured in the previous 12 months.

This year the MMA community stunningly lost top trainer Shawn Tompkins, among others.  Tompkins’ passing rocked the MMA world as all felt the significant loss not only “The Coach,” but also an endeared friend.

“We will be paying respect to Shawn Tompkins,” Hewitt admitted.  “It was a tragic loss to our sport and we represent the sport as a whole.  Throughout the awards show ceremony we celebrate all the successes, but we also mourn our losses.  We will be giving a tribute to Shawn and others in the sport we lost this year, as well.”

Hewitt and staff have to compose the categories, nominees, fluency of the program, and the immeasurable strategizing that goes into putting forth a show with all the intricacies of the Fighter’s Only MMA Awards.

An annual production is more than enough for the CEO.  This yearly event is a year-round process.

“I’ve actually said to Dana White in the past that I don’t know how the UFC does as many shows as they do a year because we do one show a year and it stresses me out, quite frankly,” Hewitt admitted.  “We’ll be planning for what we’re going to do bigger, we’ll be planning for TV, we’ll be planning on the venue.  Thankfully, this year we’re at the Palms again.  After last year’s show they immediately scheduled us for this year.  They said they want us back next year and let’s make this a partnership, so we’re elated to be back at the Palms.  The TV negotiations will start and everything else that goes into making this work.

“Even though it is just one event, the plans for it for it run the duration of the year.  We’re looking forward to next year already just because this year has been so exciting.”

As exciting as the first four years have been, what will Fighter’s Only have planned for the next five years?

“I’ve said this from the start and I see the awards becoming the Oscars of our sport,” Hewitt explained.  “The Heisman trophy is how I see it, the MTV awards is how I see it, or whatever the highest award might be for that particular thing.  Whether it be music, whether it be film, whether it be dance, whatever it is, that’s what I think the MMA Awards will be to the fighters, recognizing them as the best for whatever award they win in mixed martial arts.  We want people who want to win and try to win or get nominated.

“We want everybody to recognize that this is a big deal.”

(Tickets for the World MMA Awards 2011 are priced at $59, $79 and $99, plus additional fees and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased at the Pearl Box Office, by calling 702-944-3200 or at any Ticketmaster location. Doors for the event on Nov. 30, 2011, are at 6 p.m. and show time is 7:30 p.m.)

Tickets for 2011 World MMA Awards on sale today from 3p.m. ET

2010 World MMA Award Winners

UFC President Dana White wins Leading Man of the Year for the second straight year. (photo courtesy of Leila Navidi / Las Vegas Sun)

Tonight, the who’s who of the Mixed Martial Arts industry gathered at The Palms Resort in Las Vegas, Nev., to honor this past year’s industry best. The World MMA Awards, brought to you by Fighter’s Only Magazine, was live streamed on and an edited version will be televised on the Versus cable network on Dec. 9 at 10 p.m. EST.
Here is a full breakdown of this year’s 2010 World MMA Award Winners:
  • Best Referee – Herb Dean
  • Best Technical Clothing Brand – Bad Boy
  • Best Technical Equipment – Everlast
  • Best Media Source –
  • Best Promotion – UFC
  • Best Submission – Fabricio Werdum
  • Gym of the Year – Wand Training Center
  • MMA Journalist of the Year – Ariel Helwani
  • Coach of the Year – Greg Jackson
  • Best Lifestyle Brand – TapouT
  • International Fighter of the Year – Alistair Overeem
  • Ring Card Girl of the Year – Arianny Celeste
  • Leading Man of the Year – Dana White
  • Outstanding Achievement Award – Randy Couture
  • Best Ring Entrance – Jason “Mayhem” Miller
  • Fight of the Year – Anderson Silva win over Chael Sonnen
  • Female Fighter of the Year – Cris “Cyborg” Santos
  • KO of the year – Mauricio “Shogun” Rua’s knockout of Lyoto Machida
  • Breakthrough Fighter of the Year – Jon Jones
  • Charles ‘Mask’ Lewis Fighter of the Year – Jose Aldo

From dinky to Helsinki: Elisabeth Nuesser takes FightChix international

Elisabeth Nuesser (image via

When the nominees for the 2010 World MMA Awards were announced, the category of Best MMA Lifestyle Brand included familiar names Tapout, Affliction, Silver Star and RVCA.  The final nominee for the award was a stunner.

The “other guy” up for the honor is not a guy at all.  It’s FightChix, a small but growing brand targeting the women of the sport.

FightChix founder Elisabeth Nuesser recently joined hosts Joe Rizzo and Jeremy Fullerton for Rear Naked Choke Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network and recounted the amazing story of how a company founded on a lark has gone international.

The FightChix brand is nowhere near the largest or most distributed clothing line in MMA.  But it has been slowly and steadily building its reputation for the last five years.  After Elisabeth’s husband, Jacob Nuesser, shared with her his love of the sport, the pair formed the brand in their Chicagoland home.

“Seven years ago, my husband was bouncing at a bar in Chicago.  He was always wearing Tapout stuff,” explained Elisabeth Nuesser.  “He started educating me on the sport.  At first I was turned off by it because I didn’t understand, but I kept watching and it grew on me.  I became really involved during the first season of The Ultimate Fighter.  I realized that these are true athletes who eat, train and sleep (MMA).”

The turning point for Elisabeth came when she started to notice all of the male-driven sponsors.  Realizing there are a lot of women attached to the sport, including fighters, wives, sisters and children, Nuesser asked, “Why don’t we have something of our own?”

Elisabeth and Jacob came up with FightChix as way of empowering the women of the sport.  Jacob used his skills as a designer to create a logo and the pair began to build the company with a simple grassroots marketing strategy.

FightChix recently expanded, as Elisabeth announced on the show they have formed a European branch and secured a significant distribution deal within the United States.  Coupled with the award nomination grouping them with market’s heaviest hitters, the success has been overwhelming.

“Within the last week, all our hard work for the last five years, everything came to a head like a pimple … for lack of a better example,” joked Nuesser.  “It’s a huge honor and I’m truly humbled by it.  I don’t even care if I win, I’m just so excited to be nominated.

“We’re an underdog story.  We’re trying to be the face of women’s MMA.  I was in tears when I found out.  I felt accomplished.”

FightChix is the only nominee that isn’t represented in the UFC, speaking volumes about the brand’s respect.  By supporting the females of the sport, they have established themselves beyond a niche or trend.

Keep your eye on the “other guy.”

(For more information or to purchase FightChix clothing, check out

Rear Naked Choke Radio: Cain Velasquez, FightChix founder Elisabeth Nuesser, UFC 120


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Rear Naked Choke Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network offers you a special Thursday edition. Joe Rizzo and Jeremy Fullerton welcomed UFC heavyweight contender Cain Velasquez and FightChix founder (and good friend of the show) Elisabeth Nuesser back to the program.  The live stream show aired from LA Boxing in Paramus, N.J. right here on MMA DieHards, and can be watched/heard above on demand any time.

Cain takes on Brock Lesnar on Oct. 23 at UFC 121, aiming to claim his title belt.  He talks about the training, media demands and how a matchup that seemed so far away is now closing in, changing his life.

FightChix is not the largest or most distributed clothing line in the MMA realm, but that did not stop it from getting nominated for a World MMA Award. Up for the title of “Best MMA Lifestyle Brand” with FightChix are behemouths TapouT, Affliction, RVCA and SilverStar. VOTE HERE

Hear Elisabeth tell her amazing story about how FightChix started, where it’s been and why this mother of two is getting pushed by her friends to pose for Playboy!

Joe and Jeremy broke down UFC 120, giving the odds on the main card fights and handing out their predictions.