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2022 World MMA Awards to air on ESPN+, Chael Sonnen returns as host

Build Presents Chael Sonnen Discussing Bellator MMA Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage

This year’s World MMA Awards will stream on ESPN+ for the second straight year with a familiar host in place.

Fighters Only revealed earlier this week that Chael Sonnen will host the 14th annual event, which takes place Thursday at at the SAHARA Las Vegas. Trophies will be awarded for Male and Female Fighter of the Year, Knockout and Submission of the Year, Fight of the Year, and media awards will be handed out as well.

The show is set to begin at 10:30 p.m. ET / 7:30 p.m. PT.

“I am delighted to have Chael back to host the Fighters Only World MMA Awards once again. He has always done a fantastic job hosting our event.

“There is always a fun sense of unpredictability in what Chael will say and this is an important element to the awards. So now he is back once again, and I look forward to seeing everyone on Thursday night,” Fighters Only CEO

MMA Fighting is nominated for Media Source of the Year, an award it has previously won five times, and nominations were also given to MMA Fighting’s Shaun Al-Shatti and the host of The MMA Hour Ariel Helwani. Helwani is an 11-time Journalist of the Year award winner.

See the full list of nominations below.

Charles ‘Mask’ Lewis Fighter of the Year

Alexander Volkanovski

Johnny Eblen

Charles Oliveira

Islam Makhachev

Francis Ngannou

Female Fighter of the Year

Julianna Peña

Cris Cyborg

Kayla Harrison

Valentina Shevchenko

Raquel Pennington

Breakthrough Fighter of the Year

Tai Tuivasa

Mateusz Gamrot

Paddy Pimblett

Molly McCann

Johnny Eblen

International Fighter of the Year

Alexander Volkanovski

Roberto Soldic

Mateusz Gamrot

Islam Makhachev

Khamzat Chimaev

Fight of the Year

Jiri Prochazka vs. Glover TeixeiraUFC 275

Justin Gaethje vs. Michael ChandlerUFC 268

Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian OrtegaUFC 266

Khamzat Chimaev vs. Gilbert BurnsUFC 273

Max Holloway vs. Yair Rodriguez - UFC Vegas 42

Knockout of the Year

Michael Chandler (front kick) vs. Tony FergusonUFC 274

Ignacio Bahamondes (wheel kick) vs. Roosevelt Roberts – UFC Vegas 34

Sergio Pettis (spinning backfist) vs. Kyoji HoriguchiBellator 272

Molly McCann (spinning back elbow) vs. Luana CarolinaUFC London

Roman Faraldo (flying knee) vs. Robert TurnquestBellator 271

Submission of the Year

Jiri Prochazka (rear-naked choke) vs. Glover Teixeira – UFC 275

Stevie Ray (modified body lock) vs. Anthony PettisPFL 5

Oliver Enkamp (inverted triangle choke) vs. Mark LemmingerBellator 281

Jessica Andrade (standing arm-triangle choke) vs. Amanda LemosUFC Vegas 52

Charles Oliveira (rear-naked choke) vs. Dustin PoirierUFC 269

Comeback of the Year

Sergio Pettis vs. Kyoji Horiguchi – Bellator 272

Carla Esparza (career)

Clay Guida vs. Leonardo Santos – UFC on ESPN 31

Aljamain Sterling (overcoming intense ridicule and injury)

Chris Curtis (career)

Upset of the Year

Julianna Peña vs. Amanda Nunes – UFC 269

Mariusz Pudzianowski vs. Michal Materla – KSW 70

Matheus Scheffel vs. Bruno Cappelozza – PFL 5

Ben Parrish vs. Christian Edwards – Bellator 266

Seika Izawa vs. Ayaka Hamasaki – RIZIN 33

Best Promotion of the Year




Cage Warriors


Leading Man of the Year

Dana White (UFC)

Scott Coker (Bellator)

Peter Murray (PFL)

Graham Boylan (Cage Warriors)

Kerrith Brown (IMMAF)

Referee of the Year

Jason Herzog

Marc Goddard

Mike Beltran

Mark Smith

Keith Peterson

Analyst of the Year

Paul Felder

Michael Bisping

Dan Hardy

Kenny Florian

Dominick Cruz

Personality of the Year

Laura Sanko

Daniel Cormier

Chael Sonnen

Joe Rogan

Jon Anik

Best MMA Programming

UFC Embedded

Dana White Contender Series

The MMA Hour


Morning Kombat

MMA Media Source of the Year

MMA Fighting

MMA Junkie


BT Sport


MMA Journalist of the Year

Ariel Helwani

John Morgan

Shaheen Al-Shatti

Aaron Bronsteter

Mike Bohn

Coach of the Year

Eugene Bareman

Eric Nicksick

Mike Brown

Henri Hooft

Diego Lima

Gym of the Year

City Kickboxing

Xtreme Couture

American Top Team

Kill Cliff FC (formerly Sanford MMA)

Fortis MMA

Trainer of the Year

Phil Daru

Jordan Sullivan

Andrew Wood

Heather Linden

Corey Peacock

Ringcard Girl of the Year

Brittney Palmer

Arianny Celeste

Luciana Andrade

Brooklyn Wren

Chrissy Blair

Fighting Spirit of the Year

Kevin Holland (Bravery - in and out of the cage, helping his community in the face of danger on several occasions)

Aaron Aby (Heart – surviving cancer and battling cystic fibrosis to become a top contender in Cage Warriors)

Bryce Mitchell (Charity – dedicating half of his UFC 272 fight purse to help children in medical need in his native Arkansas, with a special mention for Dana White who matched Mitchell’s contribution)

Alexander Volkanovski (Determination – demonstrating a champion’s will to overcome adversity and battling through a seemingly inescapable submission from Brian Ortega)

Robbie Lawler (Compassion vs. Nick Diaz – displaying true respect & genuine care for his opponent’s wellbeing in life)

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