World MMA Awards 2023 – Who Won What?

The annual World MMA Awards 2023 held its 15th edition at SAHARA, Las Vegas. 

The ceremony welcomed over 100 nominees in 22 categories across various fields. ESPN won the ‘Media Source of the Year’ award, and Ariel Helwani took the ‘Journalist of the Year’ award. MMA fighters were also honored for their achievements.

The UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Alex Pereira won ‘Breakthrough Fighter of the Year.’ The Brazilian returned from his defeat to Israel Adesanya at middleweight to beat Jiri Prochazka via a second-round stoppage to win light heavyweight belt.

Islam Makhachev vs Alexander Volkanovski won the ‘Fight of the Year.’ for their UFC 284 matchup. Unlike their rematch where Makhachev stopped the Australian in the first round, their first meeting went the distance in a thrilling encounter that saw Islam win unanimously. 

Leon Edwards, the UFC welterweight champion, won the ‘Charles Lewis Fighter of the Year’ award. He makes the second defense of his title against Colby Covington at UFC 296 on Saturday. Edwards picked up further awards, including ‘International Fighter of the Year.’ He also won ‘Comeback of the Year’ and ‘Knockout of the Year’ for stopping Kamaru Usman in the fifth round at UFC 278. 

In the women’s division,  Alexa Grasso won the ‘Female Fighter of the Year’ and ‘Upset of the Year’ for stopping Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 285 via a fourth-round submission. That also earned her ‘Submission of the Year.’ 

Other notable awards included Dana White’s ‘Leading Man’ award. Joe Rogan secured the ‘Personality of the Year’ award, and Michael Bisping earned the ‘Analyst of the Year’ award. There was also a ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award for Ken Shamrock. Here is the full list courtesy of MMA Fighting below

Full List

Female Fighter of the Year

  • Alexa Grasso (winner)
  • Amanda Nunes
  • Larissa Pacheco
  • Seika Izawa
  • Liz Carmouche

Breakthrough Fighter of the Year

  • Dricus Du Plessis
  • Alex Pereira (winner)
  • Ilia Topuria
  • Sergei Pavlovich
  • Alexa Grasso

International Fighter of the Year

  • Leon Edwards (winner)
  • Israel Adesanya
  • Dricus Du Plessis
  • Sergei Pavlovich
  • Sadibou Sy

Fight of the Year

  • Justin Gaethje vs. Rafael Fiziev (UFC 286)
  • Dustin Poirier vs. Michael Chandler (UFC 281)
  • Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski (UFC 284) (winner)
  • Brennan Ward vs. Sabah Homasi (Bellator 290)
  • Matt Schnell vs. Su Mudaerji (UFC on ABC 3)

Knockout of the Year

  • Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman – Head kick (UFC 278) (winner)
  • Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira – Punches (UFC 287)
  • Sadibou Sy vs. Shane Mitchell – Spinning wheel kick (PFL 6, 2023)
  • Krzysztof Głowacki vs. Patryk Tołkaczewski – Punch (KSW Colosseum 2)
  • Ismael Bonfim vs. Terrance McKinney – Flying knee (UFC 283)

Submission of the Year

  • Alexa Grasso vs. Valentina Shevchenko – Face crank (UFC 285) (winner)
  • Louis Glismann vs. Melvin van Suijdam – Inverted omoplata (Oktagon 43)
  • Islam Makhachev vs. Charles Oliveira – Arm-triangle choke (UFC 280)
  • Olga Rubin vs. Claire Guthrie – Buggy choke (Invicta FC 53)
  • Reinier de Ridder vs. Vitaly Bigdash – Inverted triangle choke (ONE 159)

Comeback of the Year

  • Jon Jones (Career)
  • Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman 2 (UFC 278) (winner)
  • John Hathaway (Returning from lengthy illness)
  • Matt Schnell vs. Su Mudaerji (UFC on ABC 3)
  • Yaroslav Amosov (Returning from war)

Upset of the Year

  • Alexa Grasso vs. Valentina Shevchenko (UFC 285) (winner)
  • Larissa Pacheco vs. Kayla Harrison (PFL 10, 2022)
  • Christian Echols vs. Pat Downey (Bellator 289)
  • Jesus Pinedo vs. Brendan Loughnane (PFL 4, 2023)
  • Zebaztian Kadestam vs. Roberto Soldic (ONE Fight Night 10)

Shawn Tompkins Coach of the Year

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  • Eugene Bareman
  • Mike Brown (winner)
  • Dave Lovell
  • Ray Longo
  • Eric Nicksick

Trainer of the Year

  • Heather Linden (winner)
  • Jonathon Reynolds
  • Everton Oliveira
  • Jordan Sullivan
  • Brandon Gallagher

Gym of the Year

  • City Kickboxing
  • American Top Team (winner)
  • Team Renegade
  • Kill Cliff FC
  • American Kickboxing Academy

Referee of the Year

  • Marc Goddard
  • Jason Herzog
  • Mark Smith
  • Herb Dean (winner)
  • Rich Mitchell

Ringcard Girl of the Year

  • Brittney Palmer (winner)
  • Louise McKie
  • Brookliyn Wren
  • Jhenny Andrade
  • Luciana Andrade

Leading Man

  • Dana White (UFC) (winner)
  • Scott Coker (Bellator)
  • Peter Murray (PFL)
  • Maciej Kawulski (KSW)
  • Ondrej Novotny (Oktagon)

Best Promotion

  • UFC (winner)
  • Bellator MMA
  • PFL
  • KSW
  • Oktagon MMA

Personality of the Year

  • Joe Rogan (winner)
  • Laura Sanko
  • Chael Sonnen
  • Daniel Cormier
  • Jon Anik

Analyst of the Year

  • Michael Bisping (winner)
  • Paul Felder
  • Dan Hardy
  • Anthony Smith
  • Kenny Florian

Best MMA Programming

  • Morning Kombat
  • The MMA Hour
  • Dana White’s Contender Series (winner)
  • The Anik & Florian Podcast
  • UFC Embedded

MMA Media Source of the Year

  • MMA Fighting
  • Sherdog
  • MMA Junkie
  • ESPN (winner)
  • Bloody Elbow

MMA Journalist of the Year

  • Ariel Helwani (winner)
  • Aaron Bronsteter
  • Marc Raimondi
  • John Morgan
  • Nolan King

Fighting Spirit Award

  • Yaroslav Amosov (Adversity – returning from war to unify the Bellator welterweight title)
  • Steven Ray (Strength – fighting for his family)
  • Biaggio Ali Walsh (Bravery – helping his community in the face of danger)
  • Themba Gorimbo (Charity – building a water pump in Zimbabwe and putting others ahead of himself) (winner)
  • Chris Barnett (Adversity – overcoming great personal loss and adversity in the cage)

Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Ken Shamrock (winner)
Alex PereiraAlexa GrassoAlexander VolkanovskiColby CovingtonDana WhiteIslam MakhachevJoe RoganKamaru UsmanKen ShamrockLeon EdwardsMichael BispingMMA NewsValentina Shevchenko