With 2012 now long gone and 2013 in full swing, and because this is usually when I get these articles out when I used to do them at Inside Pulse, I felt this was a good time to put out my awards picks for MMA in 2012. It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, and because of that I do have winners for the years I didn’t do an awards article. But I think this is more important to note than usual: I follow the Dave Meltzer awards voting method meaning the eligibility period for these awards is December 1, 2011 to November 30, 2012. And, as always, THIS IS BASED ON WHAT I’VE SEEN AT THE TIME THIS IS POSTED. THAT ALSO GOES FOR ALL 2009, 2010, & 2011 WINNERS IN THIS SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCE.
This section will be dedicated to the worst of MMA in 2012 in the below categories.
This is the MMA promotion that did the least to help advance their brand, promotion, and the sport. Factors include: quality of cards, financial state of promotion, running less new venues & venues period, and so on. Extra weight is given to name promotions that go out of business during the year.
2011: World Victory Road
2012 WORST PROMOTION: Strikeforce
2nd Place: Dream
3rd Place: Bellator Fighting Championships
This has always been a pretty easy pick for me, and this year was no different. Strikeforce had to cancel a show this year like UFC did. Strikeforce had major fights and fight cards damaged by rampant injuries like UFC did. However, all of 2012 was a reminder of the fact that Strikeforce’s time as an MMA promotion seemed to be winding down the moment Zuffa bought them. The fact that the announcement of the promotion’s shut down came in 2012 was the icing on the cake for this award pick.
WORST CARD OF THE YEAR
This is the worst MMA card of the year. Generally this award is given to a card that looks great on paper, but the fights don’t come close to vindicating the hype. However, a generally bad, boring, or agonizing to watch card is just as eligible.
2008: Sengoku Sixth Battle
2009: UFC 94: St. Pierre Vs. Penn II
2010: UFC 112: Invincible
2011: Strikeforce: Overeem Vs. Werdum
2012 WORST CARD OF THE YEAR: UFC 149: Faber Vs. Barao
2nd Place: UFC on FX 4: Guida/Maynard
3rd Place: UFC on Fox 2: Evans Vs. Davis
This card never had a chance. Several main-events were advertised for the card, but one after the other were scrapped due to injuries. In the end, UFC 149 had some potential on paper, but if putting the card together was any indication, it was that nothing was going to go to plan with this card. Renan “Barao” Pegado dominated Urijah Faber in the card’s main-event following Hector Lombard disappointing terribly in his UFC debut, and that fight was incredibly boring to boot. The majority of the rest of the card were fights with nothing much to them that went the distance or close to it. Plus, two no-contests is in itself a bit of a let down for a card.
WORST PROMOTIONAL MOVE
This is the worst thing a promotion or promoter did during the year for the advancement of the promotion, it’s brand, and the sport of MMA.
2008: EliteXC marketing Kimbo Slice as an unbeatable monster
2009: Dream goes for freak show fights rather than anything more with openweight grand prix
2010: Dream forms talent exchange with Strikeforce
2011: Strikeforce’s heavyweight grand prix tournament
2012 WORST PROMOTIONAL MOVE: Dana White blaming Jon Jones for UFC 151 cancellation
2nd Place: UFC hyping Alistair Overeem as heavyweight title contender
3rd Place: UFC airing many cards on Fuel TV, a subscription channel
There were plenty of people to blame for the cancellation of UFC 151: Jones Vs. Henderson. Dan Henderson was at fault for not reporting his injury sooner, Dana & Joe Silva were at fault for not booking a second fight on the card with real name value fighters, among other things that I’ve already gone into in my writing on MMA 101, and Jones was, of course, at fault because he could have taken a fight against a fighter very similar to Henderson that wouldn’t necessitate the kind of strategy re-thinking that Jones believed it would have. The problem is that whenever the boss goes on a tirade and singles an employee out, that person is going to get the sympathy if the boss is being unreasonable. In this case, Dana was being unreasonable to blame one person solely for the card’s cancellation. Jones surely lost some fans because of the whole UFC 151 situation, but Dana likely did too because of how he handled it all, and that wasn’t the goal.
MOST OVERRATED FIGHTER
This is the fighter that has gotten plenty of attention, hype, and fanfare during the year, but did next to nothing in competition to justify all of it.
2008: Kimbo Slice
2009: Forrest Griffin
2010: Anderson Silva
2011: Fedor Emelianenko
2012 MOST OVERRATED FIGHTER: Jake Shields (UFC)
2nd Place: Hector Lombard (Bellator/UFC)
3rd Place: Yushin Okami (UFC)
Shields has been close to winning this pick with me before. My problem with Shields since he entered UFC, and 2012 was a big example of this, is that he has not had a real impressive outing. Whether in victory or defeat, Shields’ fights have produced little to no excitement and while they show off Shields’ skills on the ground, they show off nothing else. Shields’ win against Yoshihiro Akiyama was exactly that kind of fight, as was his win over Ed Herman in the summer, but that win was turned into a no-contest when Shields’ failed his post-fight drug test.