The final week of 2010 has arrived, and though the year may not have delivered on the public’s long-standing dream of flying cars and laser-blasters it was certainly a period filled with memorable months from a Mixed Martial Arts viewpoint. We witnessed champions fall in dramatic fashion, rise from the ranks to become divisional kings, and in some cases emerge victorious by the skin of their teeth. We saw shocking signings and ridiculous releases; countless classics and numerous nod-offers; moves in the ring unlike any other before and some hopefully never seen again.
With the close of the year, Five Ounces of Pain is here to bring you our annual awards as we wind things down and get read for the adventures 2011 will undoubtedly bring. Over the next few days we will announce our winners in somewhat unique categories with a final batch of standard distinctions handed out on Friday, December 31.
As always, 5 Oz. invites our readers to offer their own opinions in the “Comments” section on who should have taken home the hardware (or in this case digital love). We would not be here without you, and rest assured the Staff not only appreciates your contributions from a “page view” standpoint, but genuinely enjoys reading our community’s take on topics. Have an incredibly fun, albeit safe, holiday week!
— The “Sometimes These Things Happen in MMA” Award —
Josh Barnett kicks “Mighty Mo” in the groin: In his first fight since being busted for steroids and effectively killing Affliction MMA, Josh Barnett took on a “gimme fight” against near 300 pound kickboxer “Mighty Mo” Siliga. In the middle of the bout, Barnett caught Mo with a front kick right to the groin, immediately dropping Mo to the mat. Usually when a fighter is hit in the groin, he is given five minute to recover. Well Mo was given about an hour before the fight was questionable resumed. Barnett quickly finished Mo and after the bout, proving he’s a fair man, Barnett allowed Mo to knee him in the groin. Now on every DREAM broadcast, when someone takes a strike to the groin, you often hear Michael Schiavello bring up “Mighty Mo’s balls” in reference to Barnett’s strike.
— Most Disappointing Moment of the Year —
Paul Daley vs. Josh Koscheck / Post-Fight: Though there was debate as far as going with Fedor Emelianenko finally losing in a clean manner, in retrospect the loss is more of an affirmation of why MMA is such a great sport rather than a particularly sad event. There were also, unfortunately, illegal acts and positive drug tests to consider as well. However, Paul Daley sucker-punching Josh Koscheck after their bout at UFC 113 won out as the final selection for a few reasons, the foremost being that it didn’t land clean.
To watch the explosive Brit likely throw away a career in the UFC because of something as small as frustration with Koscheck’s strategy was extremely disappointing. Not only is Daley an exciting fighter to watch perform, but he’s one of the most underrated hype-men in Mixed Martial Arts when it comes to promoting his match-ups to the media. His style and showmanship would have likely carried him a long way in the Octagon and now not only have fans lost out on the opportunity to see him in action against the world’s best welterweights, Daley flushed a significant future down the toilet for no real reason. The embarrassing post-fight shot also put a black-eye on MMA as far as creating the perception its participants are upon occasion uncontrollably violent even on the grandest stage in the sport. The public can generally stomach athletes breaking laws or doing drugs because they’re used to such transgressions but violence outside of the realm of competition is rarely tolerated. It was a shameful situation where nobody won outside of “Kos” on the judges’ scorecards.
— Best Performance in a Losing Role —
Chael Sonnen / UFC 117: Given the events that unfolded in the months after it happened it was tempting to give this award to someone else, but even we can’t deny that nobody deserves this distinction more than Chael Sonnen. He talked a big game leading up to his UFC Middleweight Championship fight with Anderson Silva, but hardly anybody figured that he would be able to back up that talk in the cage. Sonnen got the better of Silva on the feet, but the majority of his time was spent thoroughly dominating the champion on the mat. Silva had no answer for Sonnen’s takedowns, and as the rounds went by he had less and less time to save his title reign. Within the first few minutes of the fifth round it was all but over, as Sonnen was clearly on his way to a unanimous 50-45 decision win. Everyone saw what happened next but we cannot deny that Sonnen came closer to beating Silva than anybody else had done in the UFC. Had he not got popped for a banned substance he’d be on his way to an immediate rematch, something relatively unheard of for a challenger who definitively lost his first title shot. With his performance Sonnen established himself as the clear #2 fighter in the middleweight division, and he may very well be top dog by the time next year’s awards roll around.
PHOTO CREDIT – Tracy Lee / COMBAT LIFESTYLE