2012 has been a significant year for the female side of mixed martial arts. We saw Olympic bronze medalist Ronda Rousey rapidly rise to super-stardom and become the very first UFC women’s champion. However, as talented and amazing as Rousey is, she shouldn’t be the only female fighter praised this year. Shannon Knapp and Janet Martin’s all-female fight league known as the Invicta Fighting Championships has also created a tremendous amount of buzz for female mixed martial artists this year.
From the epic battle between Leslie Smith and Kaitlin Young to Sarah D’Alelio’s incredible submission over black belt Vanessa Porto to Michele Waterson’s return to Jessica Penne winning the inaugural Invicta atomweight title and the list just goes on and on. Rousey is without question the biggest star in WMMA but there were several female athletes that shook the world up in 2012.
We here at BJPenn.com are proud to host our first ever female MMA year-end awards. Many websites and publications have their own year-end awards but few focus on just the women’s side of the sport. Below are a list of categories for these awards. If you would like to nominate someone for an award you can simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or @email@example.com with nominations.
I will not nominate anyone myself but I have listed recommendations next to each category to give you an idea of what each category is.
Fighter of the year: Our recommendations- Ronda Rousey, Jessica Penne, Sara McMann
Fight of the year: Our recommendations- Leslie Smith vs. Kaitlin Young- Invicta FC 1, Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate- Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Tate, Tecia Torres vs. Kaiyana Rain- Invicta FC 3
Story of the year: Our recommendations- UFC adds women’s 135 lbs division with Ronda Rousey as champion, Jessica Penne wins first Invicta FC title, Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche booked for 2013 UFC PPV main event at UFC 157
Role Model of the year: Our recommendations- Julie Kedzie, Jessica Penne, Liz Carmouche
Knockout of the year: Our recommendations- Veronica Rothenhausler KO’s Ashlee Evans- Tuff N’Uff Festibrawl 2, Joanne Calderwood KO’s Ashley Cummins- Invicta FC 3, Sheila Gaff KO’s Jennifer Maia- Cage Warriors Fight Night 4
Submission of the year: Our recommendations- Sarah D’Alelio armbars Vanessa Porto- Invicta FC 2, Ronda Rousey armbars Miesha Tate- Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Tate, Jessica Eye arm triangle chokes Zoila Gurgel- Bellator 83
Brand of the year: Our recommendations: Invicta Fighting Championships, Fight Chix, Cage Candy, Strikeforce
Best Contribution to Women’s MMA of the year: Our recommendations: Shannon Knapp, Ronda Rousey, Janet Martin
Broadcaster of the year: Our recommendations: Julie Kedzie, Mauro Renallo, “King Mo” Lawal
Newcomer of the year: Our recommendations: Tecia Torres, Jessamyn Duke, Ediane Gomes
Who to watch in 2013: Our recommendations: Carla Esparza, Jodie Esquibel, Sara McMann
Tags: Invicta Fighting Championships, Jessica Penne, miesha tate, Ronda Rousey, Shannon Knapp, Strikeforce, ufc, Women's MMA, year end awards