It’s not a stretch to question premium sports-news outlet ESPN’s love of Mixed Martial Arts. The organization rarely discusses the sport on its programming, has bumped heads with the UFC over fighter-pay, and even relegates its own show on the matter – MMA Live – to late night blocks rather than a time period when more people may be watching. However, as far as the channel’s famed ESPY Awards, it looks like the ESPN brass have a grasp on the sport’s importance.

The 2012 nominations for the ESPYs dropped last week and three fighters made the cut including Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, and Edson Barboza.

Silva and Jones were listed among the group competing for Best Fighter, while Barboza’s scintillating knockout of Terry Etim at UFC 142 has been given a nod in the Play of the Year category.

To vote for any/all of three click here for the ballots.