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MMA Fighters and the ESPY Awards

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Anthony Pettis

by Tim Stroud

The 2011 ESPYS, hosted by Seth Meyers, will air live on ESPN this Wednesday, July 13th at 8pm CT. The ESPYS are always fun to watch and this year should be no different. It’s always great to see which player, team, coach or moment will win each award, but it’s even better that mixed martial artists are nominated.

This year, five different mixed martial artists are nominated for three different awards. Anthony Pettis was placed in a bracket of 16 plays to determine the award for Best Play. Pettis is listed as the 11th seed against the 6th seeded Oklahoma State football team. Pettis’ “Showtime Kick” against Ben Henderson was one of the best moves ever pulled off in MMA. However, the fans voted for Oklahoma State for its “Tag Team Interception”. Yes, the interception was great, but Pettis deserved to move on to the Elite Eight.

Fabricio Werdum vs. Fedor Emelianenko is nominated for the Best Upset award. I’m sure the Fedor will be there with a big smile on his face. Werdum & Fedor are up against the VCU run in the NCAA Tournament, Blame beating Zenyatta at the Breeders’ Cup and the Seahawks win over the Saints in the NFL Playoffs. As big of an upset that Werdum had over Fedor, I don’t see them winning this award. I feel that VCU or the Seahawks are the favorites.

Finally, we have the Best Fighter award. If there is any category that fits MMA, this is the one. The UFC have two fighters, Jon Jones and Georges St. Pierre, up for this award, so one or both will go home unhappy. Jones and GSP have some tough competition with Bernard Hopkins, Sergio Martinez and Manny Pacquiao. I hope that MMA fans took to their computers and voted for Jones or GSP, but I think Pacquiao will be the victor.

It will be upsetting if none of these great fighters go home a winner on Wednesday, but it’s great that MMA guys are involved in such a high-profile, mainstream event. MMA is growing each year and ESPN and other networks are certainly taking notice.

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