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 Trash-Talk Gone Wrong Award —
James Toney / UFC 118: Prior to his fight against Randy Couture at UFC 118, James Toney did a lot of shit talking. He reportedly chased Dana White around the country, begging for the chance to compete in the octagon. He called out MMA fighters and even the sport of MMA at various points. If there was a microphone in front of Toney, you can bet that he was going to say something to get MMA fans riled up. When UFC 118 finally arrived, all the shit talking came to an end thanks to “The Natural.” But we all knew that Toney only had a punchers chance and that Couture would likely have his way with him once the fight hit the ground. What made Toney’s trash talk even worse was the fact that he came into the fight completely out of shape and looking like he hadn’t training a wrestling drill one time in all the months of his MMA training. If it were any other fighter under any other circumstances, it would have been rather embarrassing to watch but because it was Toney and after all he said, well, it was still embarrassing but it was also rather satisfying.
— The Golden Microphone Award —
Ariel Helwani: In a profession often lacking professionalism, Helwani is easily among the select group of outstanding journalists covering Mixed Martial Arts today. In 2010 he emerged from an individual hardcore fans recognized to one of the primary faces of MMA media due to his work on Versus, as well as through other outlets like “The MMA Hour” and MMAFighting. His interviews are always insightful and reveal him as not only being well-studied but unafraid to ask tough questions and a genuine fan of the sport (and athletic endeavors in general). On top of that, the New Yorker by way of Canada also breaks news on almost a daily basis and is responsible for a high percentage of the scoops that surface as a result. There’s no questioning how hard he works or his ascending star in the industry. While we can’t be certain what 2011 will bring, it isn’t hard to envision Helwani joining a major broadcast team or network over the next twelve months based on his wit, demeanor, interest in MMA, and dedication to the field.
— Most Epic Event of the Year —
WEC 48: When reminiscing about the twelve months in MMA it’s difficult not to focus on the fact that this was the last year of existence for the WEC. With that in mind we present this award to WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber. Sure the WEC brand name was nowhere to be found on the live broadcast, but that doesn’t change the fact that this was the WEC’s biggest event in the company’s history. Jose Aldo gave the kind of dominating performance that ensured his place at the very top of the 145 lbs. food chain. Ben Henderson made quick work of Donald Cerrone, Manny Gamburyan shocked the MMA world with a quick KO of former featherweight champion Mike Brown, Shane Roller used his superior grappling to make short work of Anthony Njokuani, and Scott Jorgensen avenged one of his losses in a back-and-forth battle with Antonio Banuelos. Of course, there was one fight that everyone was talking about after the show, and we’re still talking about it now as MMA sites try to determine the Fight of the Year- the instant-classic featherweight battle between Leonard Garcia and Chan Sung Jung, and while we may disagree with the decision rendered, it was still an amazing fight. Historians will likely nitpick the technique (or lack thereof) of both fighters, but Five Ounces prefers to remember the excitement felt when watching this battle unfold. It was a great fight that’s only made better by the fact that it was on an outstanding card.