Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014 | 11:56 p.m.
The 2014 Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards took the spotlight at the Venetian on Friday night, and the big prize, Fighter of the Year, went to UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman.
Weidman in 2013 defeated Anderson Silva for the middleweight title, then retained it in a rematch and celebrated the second victory at Surrender in Steve Wynn’s Encore in December.
Gene Simmons of KISS and his son, Nick, presented the award to Weidman, who was accompanied by his wife, Marivi.
Ronda Rousey was named Female Fighter of the Year, and Alexander Gustafsson, Travis Browne and Bad Boy were the night’s multiple winners. Retired MMA star and U.S. Marine Brian Stann and sports reporter and TV personality Nicole Dabeau served as hosts. The red carpet included Austin “Chumlee” Russell (“Pawn Stars”), Mario Lopez (“Extra”), Holly Madison, Melody Sweets (“Absinthe” at Caesars Palace), Angel Porrino (“Absinthe”), Claire Sinclair (“Pin Up” at Stratosphere), Sabina Kelley (“Best Ink”) and cast members from “Jersey Boys” at the Paris, “Rock of Ages” at the Venetian, Jabbawockeez at the Luxor, Mo5aic at LVH, “X Burlesque” at the Flamingo and “X Rocks” at the Rio.
Thanks to Tom Donoghue for his photo galleries from the sixth-annual awards.
Here is the list of this year’s winners:
Fighter of the Year: Chris Weidman
Female Fighter of the Year: Ronda Rousey
Breakthrough Fighter of the Year: Travis Browne
International Fighter of the Year: Alexander Gustafsson
Fight of the Year: Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson (UFC 165)
Knockout of the Year: Vitor Belfort (vs. Luke Rockhold, UFC on FX 8)
Submission of the Year: Urijah Faber (vs. Ivan Menjivar, UFC 157)
Comeback of the Year: Travis Browne (vs. Alistair Overeem, UFC Fight Night 26)
Coach of the Year: Shawn Tompkins
Gym of the Year: Team Alpha Male
Trainer of the Year: Mike Dolce
Referee of the Year: Herb Dean
Ringcard Girl of the Year: Brittney Palmer
Leading Man: Dana White
Personality of the Year: Chael Sonnen
Best Promotion: UFC
Media Source of the Year: MMA Fighting
Journalist of the Year: Ariel Helwani (MMA Fighting/Fox Sports)
Best Lifestyle Clothing: Bad Boy
Best Technical Clothing: Venum
Best Technical Equipment: Bad Boy
Don Chareunsy is senior editor for arts and entertainment of the Las Vegas Sun.
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 Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
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In the spirit of Venice, The Venetian is a little piece of romantic Italy right here in Las Vegas. The Venetian is an "all-suite" hotel, with rooms accented with plush linens and Italian marble. The 4,027 suites are divided into two towers: The 36-story Venetian Tower that offers guests a taste of luxurious Las Vegas and the Venezia suites, which guarantee 12 floors of high-end elegance. The top five floors are the hotel's highest level of luxury with its private access, concierge lounge, upgraded features and even a dedicated staff.
The flagship of Venetian nightlife is TAO, an ultra-hip nightclub located inside of TAO Asian Bistro. V Bar is The Venetian's super smooth ultra lounge, made by the owners of New York City's club Lotus and Los Angeles' super swank Sunset Room.
The Venetian features 19 restaurants including Thomas Keller's award-winning French restaurant Bouchon, Mario Batali's B&B Ristorante, Aquaknox for fresh seafood and the 42,000 square foot TAO Asian Bistro. There's also the food court inside the Canal Shoppes for those looking for a quick bite.
Guests can float along The Grand Canal Shops in an authentic Italian gondola ride and pass stores like Burberry and Kenneth Cole along the way. And if you haven't caught a real celeb, on the street in Vegas, you can head over to Madame Tussauds to check out a wax version.