We also have a Reader's Choice, which you can participate in by visiting the OTM Forum
Female Competitor of the Year: Tara LaRosa
Tara Larosa racked up a stellar 5-0 record this year in MMA competition, including a career defining fight against Amanda Buckner which saw a lot of action, technical ability and heart which pretty much guaranteed her the top spot right there.
Tara is also a veteran of the BJJ and Submission Grappling circuits, pretty much competing whenever she can. She has a very legitimate claim as being the top female MMA competitors in the world right now, and can also say she’s elevated the standards of MMA for all competitors.
The Double Threat Award: Gabriel “Napao” Gonzaga
In BJJ Gabriel Napao took first in both the Copa do Mundo and Mundials Superheavy category (including defeating rival Marcio “Pe de Pano” Cruz.) Somehow, his accomplishments are played up less than his rival’s in the arena of MMA, where Napao is so far 3-0 in the UFC (finishing all three opponents) and rumor has it he is next in line for a shot at the Heavyweight Title.
The Years Best Rivalry: Xande Ribeiro vs Roger Gracie
This rivalry picked up red hot from where it began in 2005. “Xande” struck first in 2006, defeating Roger in their division at the Pan Americans. Roger quickly got revenge, submitting Xande quickly in the finals of the finals of the absolute. Xande got the last laugh in 2006, taking the ultimate prize in BJJ, the Mundial Absolute title, defeating Roger again in the finals. The last word between the two? We hardly think so….
Instructor of the Year: Carlson Gracie
It is with the utmost respect we honor Carlson Gracie as the OTM Instructor of the Year. It is with the utmost regret we did not present this award to Carlson when he was around.
Carlson stands like a giant over the BJJ landscape. Considered one of the great champions of the Gracie family, Carlson fought many times to uphold the family banner and the tradition of Jiu Jitsu. But it can be argued his greatest legacy is the students he taught, from the students who have faithfully carried on the Carlson Gracie legacy in both name and spirt, to the ones who have gone on to forge new paths, Carlson may be one of the most influential people ever in the sport.
We will miss you Carlson.
We also have a Reader's Choice, which you can participate in by visiting the OTM Forum here!