MMA

World MMA Awards - All You Need to Know

World MMA Awards - All You Need to Know

The World MMA Awards are awards given to MMA fighters, staff, and organizations based on their performances each year. In this article, you will learn about the award categories, criteria to be nominated, and the history of the World MMA Awards.

1. History of the World MMA Awards

In 2008, the World MMA Awards were presented in Fighters Only magazine. The CEO of Fighters Only magazine and the creator of the World MMA Awards is Rob Hewitt. As of now, 14 award shows have been conducted with 22 award categories. Nominees are selected by the industrial panel and then winners are selected based on votes from the general public.

List of Awards Criteria for Nomination
Charles ‘Mask’ Lewis Fighter of the Year For the leading male mixed martial artist
Female Fighter of the Year For the leading female mixed martial artist
Fighter of the Year For fighters who fought the most exciting fight
Knockout of the Year For the most sensational knockout win
Breakthrough Fighter of the Year For the leading mixed martial artist
International Fighter of the Year For the leading mixed martial artist
Submission of the Year For the most exceptional technical submission
Comeback of the Year For the fighter who completely turned their circumstances around 
Upset of the Year For the fighter who overcome a stronger opponent
Shawn Tompkins Coach of the Year For the most successful coach 
Trainer of the Year For the most famous specialist trainer
Leading Man For the leading industry executive
Analyst of the Year For the TV analyst able to best describe fights
 Personality of the Year For the leading MMA personality
MMA Journalist of the Year For the leading MMA journalist
Referee of the Year For the most consistent and efficient referee 
Ring Card Girl of the Year For the Favorite card girl among fans
Fighting Spirit For the fighter with upstanding character
Best Promotion For the leading MMA promotion company
MMA Media Source of the Year For the best source of news and reviews on MMA fights
Best MMA Programming For the best MMA radio, podcast, or TV program
Gym of the Year For the gym that produces the best MMA fighters and contributes most to the sport

2. List of World MMA Awards

2.1. Charles ‘Mask’ Lewis Fighter of the Year

This award is given to the leading male mixed martial artist who made the most contributions to MMA as a sport inside and outside the Octagon.

Year Fighter Country
2022 Alexander Volkanovski Australia
2021 Kamaru Usman Nigeria
2019-20 Israel Adesanya Nigeria
2018 Daniel Cormier Unites States
2017 Max Holloway Unites States
2016 Conor McGregor Republic of Ireland
2015 Conor McGregor Republic of Ireland
2014 Robbie Lawler United States
2013 Chris Weidman United States
2012 Jon Jones Unites States
2011 Jon Jones United States
2010 José Aldo Brazil
2009 Georges St-Pierre Canada
2008 Anderson Silva Brazil

2.2. Female Fighter of the Year

This award is given to the female mixed martial artist who made the most contributions to MMA as a sport both outside and inside the Octagon.

Year Fighter Country
2022 Valentina Shevchenko Kyrgyzstan
2021 Rose Namajunas United States
2019-20 Amanda Nunes Brazil
2018 Amanda Nunes Brazil
2017 Rose Namajunas United States
2016 Amanda Nunes Brazil
2015 Holly Holm United States
2014 Ronda Rousey United States
2013 Ronda Rousey United States
2012 Ronda Rousey United States
2011 Miesha Tate United States
2010 Cris Cyborg Brazil
2009 Cris Cyborg Brazil
2008 Gina Carano United States

2.3. Fight of the Year

This award is given to the two fighters who fought in the most exciting, attention-grabbing, and explosive MMA fight in the world.

Year Fight Event
2022 Jiří Procházka Vs. Glover Teixeira UFC 275
2021 Deiveson Figueiredo Vs. Brandon Moreno UFC 256
2019-20 Weili Zhang Vs. Joanna Jędrzejczyk UFC 248
2018 Tony Ferguson Vs. Anthony Pettis UFC 229
2017 Eddie Alvarez Vs. Justin Gaethje UFC 218
2016 Cub Swanson Vs. Doo Ho Choi UFC 206
2015 Robbie Lawler Vs. Rory MacDonald UFC 189
2014 José Aldo Vs. Chad Mendes UFC 179
2013 Jon Jones Vs. Alexander Gustafsson UFC 165
2012 Joe Lauzon Vs. Jamie Varner UFC on Fox: Shogun vs. Vera
2011 Frankie Edgar Vs. Gray Maynard UFC 125
2010 Anderson Silva Vs. Chael Sonnen UFC 117
2009 Diego Sanchez Vs. Clay Guida The Ultimate Fighter: United States vs. United Kingdom Finale
2008 Chuck Liddell Vs. Wanderlei Silva UFC 79

2.4. Knockout of the Year

This award is given to the fighter with the most exciting knockout win.

Year Fight Event
2022 Michael Chandler Vs. Tony Ferguson UFC 274
2021 Joaquin Buckley Vs. Impa Kasanganay UFC Fight Night: Moraes vs. Sandhagen
2019-20 Jorge Masvidal Vs. Ben Askren UFC 239
2018 Amanda Nunes Vs. Cris Cyborg UFC 232
2017 Francis Ngannou Vs. Alistair Overeem UFC 218
2016 Michael Page Vs. Evangelista Santos Bellator 158
2015 Holly Holm Vs. Ronda Rousey UFC 193
2014 Mark Hunt Vs. Roy Nelson UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Nelson
2013 Vitor Belfort Vs. Luke Rockhold UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Rockhold
2012 Edson Barboza Vs. Terry Etim UFC 142
2011 Anderson Silva Vs. Vitor Belfort UFC 126
2010  Maurício Rua Vs. Lyoto Machida UFC 113
2009 Dan Henderson Vs. Michael Bisping UFC 100
2008 Wanderlei Silva Vs. Keith Jardine UFC 84

2.5. Breakthrough Fighter of the Year

This award is given to the leading mixed martial artist who made the most contributions to MMA as a sport inside and outside the Octagon.

Year Fighter Country
2022 Paddy Pimblett United Kingdom
2021 Brandon Moreno Mexico
2019-20 Jorge Masvidal United States
2018 Israel Adesanya Nigeria
2017 Brian Ortega United States
2016 Cody Garbrandt United States
2015 Holly Holm United States
2014 Kelvin Gastelum United States
2013 Travis Browne United States
2012 Chris Weidman United States
2011 Donald Cerrone United States
2010 Jon Jones United States
2009 Brock Lesnar United States
2008 Demian Maia Brazil

2.6. International Fighter of the Year

This award is given to the leading mixed martial artist who made the most contributions to MMA as a sport both inside and outside of the Octagon.

Year Fighter Country
2022 Alexander Volkanovski Australia
2021 Israel Adesanya Nigeria
2019-20 Israel Adesanya Nigeria
2018 Aung La Nsang Myanmar
2017 Robert Whittaker Australia
2016 Khabib Nurmagomedov Russia
2015 Conor McGregor Republic of Ireland
2014 Conor McGregor Republic of Ireland
2013 Alexander Gustafsson Sweden
2012 Michael Bisping United Kingdom
2011 Alistair Overeem Netherlands
2010 Alistair Overeem Netherlands
2009 Gegard Mousasi Netherlands
2008 Michael Bisping United Kingdom

2.7. Submission of the Year

This award is given to the MMA fighter who demonstrated the most exceptional technical submission. 

Year Fighter Opponent Event
2022 Charles Oliveira Dustin Poirier UFC 269
2021 Khabib Nurmagomedov  Justin Gaethje UFC 254
2019-20 Demian Maia Ben Askren UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Askren
2018 Zabit Magomedsharipov  Brandon Davis UFC 228
2017 Demetrious Johnson Ray Borg UFC 216
2016 Nate Diaz   Conor McGregor UFC 196
2015 Ronda Rousey  Cat Zingano UFC 184
2014 Ben Saunders  Chris Heatherly UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. dos Anjos
2013 Urijah Faber Ivan Menjivar UFC 157
2012 Frank Mir Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira UFC 140
2011 Chan Sung Jung Leonard Garcia UFC Fight Night: Nogueira vs. Davis
2010 Fabrício Werdum Fedor Emelianenko Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum
2009 Toby Imada Jorge Masvidal Bellator 5
2008 Georges St-Pierre Matt Hughes UFC 79

2.8. Comeback of the Year

This award is given to the MMA fighter who completely turned their circumstances around, whether it be a match or their career.

Year Fighter Event
2022 Aljamain Sterling N/A
2021 Charles Oliveira UFC 262
2019-20 Stipe Miocic UFC 241
2018 Angela Lee Car accident, ONE FC 71
2017 Justin Gaethje The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption Finale
2016 Miesha Tate UFC 196
2015 Eddie Alvarez UFC 188
2014 Dominick Cruz N/A
2013 Travis Browne UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen
2012 Frank Mir UFC 140
2011 Cheick Kongo UFC Live: Kongo vs. Barry

2.9. Upset of the Year

This award is given to the fighter who overcame and defeated a stronger opponent.

Year Fight Event
2022 Julianna Peña Vs. Amanda Nunes UFC 269
2021 Adriano Moraes Vs. Demetrious Johnson ONE on TNT 1
2019-20 Alexander Volkanovski Vs. Max Holloway UFC 245
2018 Amanda Nunes Vs. Cris Cyborg UFC 232
2017 Rose Namajunas Vs. Joanna Jędrzejczyk  UFC 217
2016 Michael Bisping Vs. Luke Rockhold  UFC 199
2015 Holly Holm Vs. Ronda Rousey UFC 193
2014 TJ Dillashaw Vs. Renan Barao UFC 173

2.10. Shawn Tompkins Coach of the Year

This award is for the most successful coach who makes the most contributions in top-level MMA.

Year Coach
2022 Eugene Bareman
2021 Trevor Wittman
2019-20 Trevor Wittman
2018 Mike Brown
2017 Trevor Wittman
2016 John Kavanagh
2015 Rafael Cordeiro
2014 Duane Ludwig
2013 Duane Ludwig
2012 Rafael Cordeiro
2011 Greg Jackson
2010 Greg Jackson
2009 Greg Jackson

2.11. Trainer of the Year

This award is given to the most successful specialist trainer, whether a nutritionist, mind coach, etc. 

Year Trainer
2022 Dr. Heather Linden
2021 Phil Daru
2019-20 Phil Daru
2018 Nick Curson
2017 Nick Curson
2016 Mike Dolce
2015 Mike Dolce
2014 Mike Dolce
2013 Mike Dolce

2.12. Leading Man

This award is given to a leading industry executive who helped contribute to the worldwide popularity of MMA. A leading industry executive can be a commissioner, CEO, politician, or company president.

Year Industry Executive
2022 Dana White
2021 Dana White
2019-20 Dana White
2018 Dana White
2017 Dana White
2016 Dana White
2015 Dana White
2014 Dana White
2013 Dana White
2012 Dana White
2011 Dana White
2010 Dana White
2009 Dana White
2008 Dana White

2.13. Analyst of the Year

This award is given to the TV analyst able to best report and break down a fighter’s style or moments in a fight.

Year TV Analyst
2022 Michael Bisping     
2021 Michael Bisping     
2019-20 Daniel Cormier
2018 Daniel Cormier
2017 Dominick Cruz
2016 Dominick Cruz
2015 Dominick Cruz

2.14. Personality of the Year

This award is given to the leading MMA personality who most engages with and contributes to MMA as a sport.

Year MMA Personality
2022 Joe Rogan
2021 Daniel Cormier
2019-20 Joe Rogan
2018 Joe Rogan
2017 Joe Rogan
2016 Joe Rogan
2015 Joe Rogan
2014 Joe Rogan
2013 Chael Sonnen
2012 Joe Rogan
2011 Joe Rogan
2010 Joe Rogan

2.15. MMA Journalist of the Year

This award is given to the leading journalist that provides the most effective coverage on MMA fights. 

Year MMA Journalist
2022 Ariel Helwani
2021 Ariel Helwani
2019-20 Ariel Helwani
2018 Ariel Helwani
2017 Ariel Helwani
2016 Ariel Helwani
2015 Ariel Helwani
2014 Ariel Helwani
2013 Ariel Helwani
2012 Ariel Helwani
2011 Ariel Helwani
2010 Ariel Helwani
2009 John Morgan

2.16. Referee of the Year

This award is given to the most consistent and efficient MMA referee. This award was introduced for the first time.

Year Referee
2022 Marc Goddard
2021 Herb Dean
2019-20 Herb Dean
2018 Herb Dean
2017 John McCarthy
2016 John McCarthy
2015 John McCarthy
2014 Herb Dean
2013 Herb Dean
2012 Herb Dean
2011 Herb Dean
2010 Herb Dean

2.17. Ring Card Girl of the Year

This award is given to the ring card girl who got the most votes from fans during the nomination period. This award was introduced for the first time in 2008 and continues till now.    

Year Ring Card Girl
2022 Brittney Palmer
2021 Brittney Palmer
2019-20 Brittney Palmer
2018 Jhenny Andrade
2017 Jhenny Andrade
2016 Jhenny Andrade
2015 Arianny Celeste
2014 Arianny Celeste
2013 Brittney Palmer
2012 Brittney Palmer
2011 Arianny Celeste
2010 Arianny Celeste
2009 Arianny Celeste
2008 Arianny Celeste

2.18. Fighting Spirit

This award is given to MMA fighters and staff that demonstrate upstanding character through their actions either inside or outside the cage.

Year Fighter & Quality
2022 Kevin Holland (Bravery)
2021 Brandon Moreno (Perseverance)
2019-20 Dustin Poirier (Charity)

2.19. Best Promotion

This award is given to the leading MMA promotion company.

Year Promotion Company
2022 UFC
2021 UFC
2019-20 UFC
2018 UFC
2017 UFC
2016 UFC
2015 UFC
2014 UFC
2013 UFC
2012 UFC
2011 UFC
2010 UFC
2009 UFC
2008 UFC

2.20. MMA Media Source of the Year

This award is given to the most reliable source of news and reviews on MMA fights.

Year MMA Media Source
2022 ESPN MMA
2021 ESPN MMA
2019-20 ESPN MMA
2018 MMA Fighting
2017 MMA Fighting
2016 MMA Fighting
2015 MMA Fighting
2014 MMAjunkie.com
2013 MMA Fighting
2012 Sherdog
2011 MMAjunkie.com
2010 MMAjunkie.com
2009 MMAjunkie.com
2008 MMAjunkie.com

2.21. Best MMA Programming

This award is given to the leading MMA radio, podcast, or TV program.

Year MMA Program
2022 Morning Kombat
2021 Morning Kombat
2019-20 JRE MMA Podcast
2018 The Ultimate Fighter
2017 The Ultimate Fighter
2016 The Ultimate Fighter
2015 UFC Embedded

2.22. Gym of the Year 

This award is given to the gym that produces the best MMA students and contributes to the development of MMA as a sport. The gym must also be performing well inside and outside the Octagon.

Year Gym
2022 City Kickboxing
2021 American Top Team
2019-20 American Top Team
2018 American Top Team
2017 American Top Team
2016 American Top Team
2015 Jackson-Wink MMA Academy
2014 Team Alpha Male
2013 Team Alpha Male
2012 Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
2011 Black House
2010 Wand Fight Team
2009 Greg Jackson's Submission Fighting

3. 15th World MMA Award 2023

15th World MMA Award 2023

Photo Credit: @fightersonlymag

The nomination period for the 15th World MMA Awards was from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023. Voting will be open to fans during August 2023. The final date for the 15th World MMA Awards will be announced after voting is complete.    

4. FAQs

How can someone watch the World MMA Award?

Answer: The World MMA Awards can be seen on ESPN, Sherdog, MMAjunkie.com, and MMA Fighting.

When was the 2022 World MMA Awards held?

Answer: The World MMA Awards was conducted on December 8, 2022, in the SAHARA Las Vegas.

How are nominees and winners selected for the World MMA Awards?

Answer: A panel of MMA industry insiders selects the nominees listed on the World MMA Awards official website. The winners are selected according to the number of votes submitted by fans. 

5. Conclusion

The World MMA Awards show appreciation for MMA fighters, coaches, gyms, staff, and organizations for their support of MMA as a global sport.

Photo Credit: @espn

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