The 4th Annual MMA Freak Awards officially kicked off with the podcast in which the MMA Freak Hall of Fame Class of 2015 was announced. They will now be put onto paper for those who don’t have the time to watch the hour long podcast.
For the sake of procedure, the guile lines on how the MMA Freak Awards are voted on is listed below:
“The Hall of Fame classes are decided by an open ballot which all writers for the site are eligible to cast. Each writer has the power to vote for up to ten individuals ranked from lowest (10) to highest (1) with the highest ranks being given priority. The top ten individuals with the highest number of votes are inducted into the Hall of Fame this year and are ranked based on the number of votes they received.”
Because this is the third Hall of Fame class the previous two classes will be listed before the honorable mentions:
Class of 2013
1) Chuck Liddell – UFC Hall of Fame, Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion (4 title defenses)
2) Ken Shamrock – UFC Hall of Fame, 1st UFC Superfight Champion, 1st King of Pancrase
3) Anderson Silva – Former UFC Middleweight Champion (record 10 defenses), Cage Rage Middleweight Champ.
4) Royce Gracie – UFC Hall of Fame, UFC 1 Tournament Winner, UFC 2 Tournament Winner, UFC 4 Winner
5) Tito Ortiz – UFC Hall of Fame, Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion with 5 title defenses
6) Georges St.-Pierre – Former UFC Welterweight Champion (record 9 title defenses)
7) John McCarthy – Has served as a MMA official since UFC 2 and was instrumental in sanctioning MMA.
8) Rorion Gracie – Co-founder of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and trainer of many of the MMA fighters.
9) Dana White – President of the UFC, Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards 10x Promoter of the Year
10) Randy Couture – UFC Hall of Fame, 3x UFC Heavyweight Champion, 2x UFC Light Heavyweight Champion
Class of 2014
1) Wanderlei Silva – First Pride Middleweight Champion, 2003 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix Winnter
2) Fedor Emelianenko – Last Pride Heavyweight Champion, RINGS Openweight Champion, WAMMA Champion
3) Matt Hughes – UFC Hall of Fame, 2x UFC Welterweight Championship, Extreme Challenge 29 Winner
4) BJ Penn – UFC Hall of Fame, Former UFC Welterweight Champion, Former UFC Lightweight Champion
5) Dan Severn – UFC Hall of Fame, Last UFC Superfight Champion, UFC 5 Tournament Winner, UU 1995 Winner
6) Mark Coleman – UFC Hall of Fame, First UFC Heavyweight Champion, Pride 2000 Grand Prix Winner
7) Frank Shamrock – Interim King of Pancrase, 1st UFC LHWT Champ, 1st WEC LHWT Champ, 1st SF MW CH.
8) Art Davie – Co-founder of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Legends of MMA Hall of Fame inductee
9) Jens Pulver – First UFC Lightweight Championship, ONE FC Bantamweight Grand Prix Semifinalist
10) Ronda Rousey – First UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion, Last Strikeforce Bantamweight Champion
The following individuals were nominated by the writers. They will be eligible for the Hall of Fame next year:
Ariel Helwani – 6x Journalist of the Year World MMA Awards, Awakening WMMA 2014 Journalist of the Year
David Abbott – UFC 6 Tournament Runner-Up, Ultimate Ultimate 1996 Tournament Runner-Up
Rich Franklin – Former UFC Middleweight Champion, 1x Knockout of the Night Award, 2x Fight of the Night
Don Frye – UFC 8 Tournament Winner, Ultimate Ultimate 1996 Tournament Winner, UFC 10 Runner-Up
Matt Serra – Former UFC Welterweight Champion, The Ultimate Fighter 4 Welterweight Tournament Winner
Megumi Fujii – Bellator Season 3 Women’s Strawweight Tournament Finalist, Smackgirl 2008 Semifinalist
Jeff Blatnick – UFC Hall of Fame, Former Commissioner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship
10) Mirk Filipovic
Former kickboxing legend Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic was at the height of his career considered one of the most dangerous strikers in MMA. Career highlights included the 2006 Pride Open-Weight Grand Prix Championship and the Inoki Genome Federation Championship along with a K-1 World Grand Prix 2012 Championship
9) Forrest Griffin
One of the original The Ultimate Fighter winners taking season one, Forrest Griffin was the ultimate underdog as he was not the favorite fighter going in. He overcame those odds and not only won the first season of the show, but would go onto win the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. He’s now a member of the UFC Hall of Fame.
8) Kazushi Sakuraba
Known by names such as “the Gracie Killer”, Kazushi Sakuraba made a long career for himself fighting for various Japanese promotions and being one of the only Japanese fighters to win a UFC tournament, winning UFC Japan 1.
7) Jose Aldo
Longtime featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo ruled the UFC featherweight division since its integration from the WEC where he was also the WEC Featherweight Champion which eventually became UFC Featherweight Champion.
6) Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
The man known alternatively as “Minotauro” or “Big Nog” has had one of the most illustrious careers in MMA history. He won the Pride Heavyweight Championship (also won the Interim Pride Heavyweight Championship), the Interim UFC Heavyweight Championship (one of only two men to win Pride and UFC championships and not tournaments) also won the 2000 Rings King of Kings Tournament along with the WEF HW Championship. He retired in August of this year.
5) Dan Henderson
Former Olympian Dan Henderson was among several fighters in the early days of MMA to utilize wrestling to gain success in the new sport. Henderson has won titles in almost every major promotion of his career including a UFC 17 Middleweight Tournament win, winning both the Pride Middleweight Championship and Pride Welterweight Championship (only man to hold titles in two weight classes simultaneously), a 2005 Pride Welterweight Grand Prix win, the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship and a Rings tournament win to name a few.
4) Renzo Gracie
Renzo Gracie was involved in many fights over the years and fought for almost every major promotion including the likes of the UFC, Pride FC, Rings, the IFL, EliteXC and K-1. He won the World Combat Championship 1 Tournament. He has been involved in the training of many fighters including former champion Chris Weidman.
3) Pat Miletich
Originally using MMA as a source to help pay for his mother’s medical bills, Pat Miletich became the first UFC Welterweight Champion after winning the first welterweight tournament for the promotion at UFC 16 and having competed on smaller shows for three years. He also competed for Superbrawl, Rings and IFL. He was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2014.
2) Evan Tanner
One of the forgotten middleweight champions of the UFC, Evan Tanner also won the Pancrase 1998 Neo Blood Tournament and successfully defended the USWF Heavyweight Championship seven times. Tanner died in September 2008 when he traveled by himself on a trip in the desert.
1) Bas Rutten
If there was anyone who deserved the title of Hall of Fame inductee more then any it would be Bas Rutten. The dutch fighter competed in the early days of MMA winning the King of Pancrase Openweight Championship three times and winning the UFC Heavyweight Championship once. He retired shortly after his championship win in 1999 before having one last comeback fight in 2006. Outside of fighting, Rutten has been involved primarily in color commentating for promotions such as Pride FC, IFL, WSOF and is now co-host of Inside MMA on AXS TV. This year he was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame as the inaugural member of the Pioneer wing.
The remaining MMA Freak Awards will be announced after the new year.