Brian Jones/Las Vegas News Bureau
Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 | 1:17 p.m.
2013 MMA Awards red carpet
It was a colossal clash of the titans from the worlds of sports and entertainment at the fifth-annual Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards, and the only powerhouse felled was UFC President Dana White -- and it was the flu, not a bruising and bloody battle, that caused him to miss the event in The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel on Friday.
The night of champions presented by Fighters Only magazine was filmed for broadcast this Sunday on Fox Sports. For the second consecutive year, UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones was crowned Fighter of the Year. The 25-year-old athlete beat out Nate Diaz, Daniel Cormier, Benson Henderson and Ronda Rousey, who wowed on the red carpet.
With a DWI conviction and a canceled UFC bout, it wasn’t a banner year for Jon, but a string of successes made up for the blemishes. Bones will fight next at UFC 159 on April 29 in Newark, N.J., against outspoken Chael Sonnen, who co-hosted the awards with Molly Qerim of CBS Sports Network and Versus for the second year in a row. The men also face each other in the next “The Ultimate Fighter” TV season, challenging each other for the UFC light-heavyweight championship.
Sexy “Peepshow” at Planet Hollywood star Coco Austin and “Dancing With the Stars” professionals Derek Hough, Mark Ballas and Lacey Schwimmer were on the red carpet, as were TV host Jerry Springer, Austin “Chumlee” Russell from The History Channel’s “Pawn Stars,” actors Steven Seagal and Eric Roberts and retired fighter Tito Ortiz with Jenna Jameson.
Our thanks to Denise Truscello of WireImage and Brian Jones of Las Vegas News Bureau for their photo gallery and to videographer Richard Corey, who chatted with several of the stars in my absence, including 2011 Playmate of the Year and new “Pin Up” star Claire Sinclair, Coco, Lacey, Jerry, Steven and Chael, who made me laugh out loud with his remarks. Adding glitz to the festivities was TV reporter Denise Pernula and Ronda, who was named Female Fighter of the Year.
Our Las Vegas darling Brittney Palmer won for Ring Card Girl of the Year. Comedian and commentator Joe Rogan was named Personality of the Year, and Dana was named Leading Man of the Year, with his UFC winning Best Promotion of the Year.
Michael Bisping was named International Fighter of the Year, and his next fight is Saturday against Vitor Belfort on FX. Chris Weidman was named Breakthrough Fighter of the Year, and the Fight of the Year went to Jamie Varner vs. Joe Lauzon, while Edson Barboza won Knockout of the Year against Terry Etim (UFC 142). The two categories of Submission and Comeback of the Year went to Frank Mir over Antonio Nogueira (UFC 140).
With a veritable who’s who of MMA attending the black-tie party, everybody agreed that it was the perfect way to top off another great year for the sport -- despite the injuries in The Octagon.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.
Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Arguably one the coolest joints in town, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino houses some of Vegas' best entertainment, restaurants and nightlife.
At Hard Rock, it's all about the music. From the light fixtures made out of drum cymbals and guitar shaped door handles to stage costumes and tools of the trade of legendary musicians displayed on the walls, the hotel screams rock and roll. The Hard Rock's Joint has hosted some the biggest names in music — from The Who to Bob Dylan to hometown heroes, The Killers.Aside from the music venues, the pool at the Hard Rock is one of its biggest attractions. Spread out over 4.7 acres, the pool area features swim-up blackjack, a bar and grill, private cabanas, a bevy of secluded nooks, a waterfall and an extensive live music venue with a dance floor. During the summer, the pool transforms into the Rehab club on Sunday afternoons.
The resident nightclub Body English fuses European elegance with a rock star bachelor pad and it often a hot spot for visiting celebs and popular DJs. Vintage rock memorabilia lines the walls at Wasted Space, Hard Rock's anti-club.
Restaurants at Hard Rock are just as hip as the rest of the casino. Pink Taco serves up Mexican dishes, as well as a Central American and Caribbean menu. Nobu, one of five worldwide Japanese-specialty restaurants from famed Nobu Matsuhisa, satisfies a different taste. For round-the-clock cuisine, Mr. Lucky's 24/7, is sure to ease your appetite even after a Vegas-all-nighter.