The 13th annual Fighters Only World MMA Awards went down Fri., Dec. 11, 2021, from inside Worre Studios in Las Vegas, Nevada. And based on the pictures we saw, a ton of mixed martial arts (MMA) royalty were in attendance dressed to the nines.
Some interesting choices won in a couple of categories — Herb Dean landed “Best Referee” and Daniel Cormier took home “Best Media Personality” (“This is for Dominick Cruz’s ass!”). And there were a few old reliables, like Ariel Helwani taking “Journalist of the Year” for like the tenth year running, and Dana White taking “Leading Man of the Year” yet again, whatever that is.
But, our highlight of the event has to be Chael Sonnen, who didn’t just host the whole damn show, he did a traditional awards show opening comedy monologue. And as you’d expect, he used his five minutes to roast everyone from Dillon Danis to Colby Covington to Dana White.
Chael Sonnen’s opening monologue at the World MMA Awardspic.twitter.com/d6qqaCUEiH— Alex Behunin (@AlexBehunin) December 11, 2021
Sonnen’s best digs were directed at Jon Jones.
“This is the award show that takes it to the new level,” Sonnen said. “And by that I’m talking about the Fighting Spirit award. There’s a young fighter named Terrance McKinney, he’s been nominated. Now, Terrance is one of UFC’s fastest rising stars. Three fights, finished ‘em all in under one minute. But, there was a time when he almost died. He was tased by police while being high on LSD, mushrooms and being drunk on alcohol ... or what Jon Jones would call a Tuesday.”
“Now, I’m sure you guys have heard, Jon Jones has switched camps. He went from JacksonWink to Fight Ready. He claims he’s much happier because his new training partners give him a much cleaner urine sample.”
We’re always down for a good roast, so we give Sonnen’s stand up high marks. My only small criticism is it seems like Sonnen tried to cram ten minutes worth of material into a five-minute set. Timing on jokes is everything, which is the reason his first loss to Anderson Silva is so funny.
The full list of results from the 2021 Fighters Only World MMA Awards:
Charles “Mask” Lewis Male Fighter of the Year – Kamaru Usman
Female Fighter of the Year – Rose Namajunas
Breakthrough Fighter of the Year – Brandon Moreno
International Fighter of the Year – Israel Adesanya
Fight of the Year – Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno I
Knockout of the Year – Joaquin Buckley vs. Impa Kasanganay
Submission of the Year – Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje
Comeback of the Year – Charles Oliveira vs. Michael Chandler
Upset of the Year – Adriano Moraes vs. Demetrious Johnson
Shawn Tompkins Coach of the Year – Trevor Wittman
Trainer of the Year – Phil Daru
Gym of the Year – American Top Team
Referee of the Year – Herb Dean
Ringcard Girl of the Year – Brittney Palmer
Leading Man of the Year – Dana White
Best Promotion of the Year – UFC
Personality of the Year – Daniel Cormier
Analyst of the Year – Michael Bisping
Best MMA Programming – Morning Kombat
MMA Media Source of the Year – ESPN MMA
MMA Journalist of the Year – Ariel Helwani
Fighting Spirit of the Year – Brandon Moreno
Lifetime Achievement Award – Matt Hughes