By TXMMA Staff
Texas BJJ Community chooses People’s Choice Award Winners for 2014 TXMMA Awards
The 2014 TXMMA Awards People’s Choice Voting wrapped up recently with over 5,000 fans of Texas MMA and BJJ voting in this past year’s annual polls.
On the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) side there were 22 awards up for grabs with the goal of highlighting the top grapplers, performances, and contributors for 2014.
Though the finalists were decided based on statistical merit following our nomination period and subsequent research, the TXMMA People’s Choice Award Winners were 100% decided by popular vote. Yes this was a popularity contest, one that helped expose Jiu-Jitsu to many people outside our community. If even a small percentage of those participating voters become interested in training via these awards, then we’ve accomplished our goal. Likewise, all the votes garnered show the support that these individual grapplers receive as well, and it is our hope that sponsors, etc. recognize the passion they have for the sport.
The results for the Official TXMMA Awards – Grappling Edition are also forthcoming soon so rest assured that the appropriate parties will be recognized as well based on their 2014 competition success.
Congratulations to everyone who participated in this annual endeavor. We sincerely thank you for helping us recognize the most deserving and visible in our community.
Now let’s get on with the winners!
2014 TXMMA Awards – BJJ Edition People’s Choice Winners
Team and Association Awards
The Bruno Bastos BJJ Association and Alvarez BJJ performed very strong in the voting this year, as they did on the mats, led by Bruno Bastos and Daniel Alvarez.
Runners-up of note in the team awards include the ever-growing Soul Fighters BJJ Texas team, Next Generation, and GFT / Pinnacle. Also a big nod to the Gracie Barra Texas contingent led by Vinicius ‘Draculinho’ Magalhaes. They were absent in the Academy of the Year awards which was quite frankly an oversight on our part but they also had a great year as usual. In addition, we would be remiss if we didn’t say Texas BJJ is growing ever stronger overall. Too many names to mention but the future is looking very bright in this state.
- Academy of the Year – Alvarez BJJ
- Association of the Year – Bruno Bastos Association
Male Belt Level Awards
Every year these belt level awards get harder and harder to figure out. That’s especially true in the official (stats-based) portion of our awards process but this year there was plenty of competition even in the people’s choice polls.
This year we were able to do enough research and there was enough performance to go on to break down the male categories into adult and masters categories. We make no distinction between the two besides age group, and these are all top level competitors.
At black belt UFC fighter Carlos Diego Ferreira proved his popularity at the adult level with Bruno Bastos and Marcus Antelante not far behind. Alan Shebaro did likewise in the masters voting with Daniel Alvarez and Chris Brennan only a little behind him.
Jose Portillo out of Paragon Austin was far and away the winner at adult brown while Jeff Hammond capped off his great year with a win at masters. After looking at all the statistics Jeff is likely to be a strong candidate for the official award in the adult class as well.
Adult purple belt was won by Kevin Cordova with Cooper Cardinale coming shortly behind. Third placer Matthew Fox had a very strong statistical year and that will show once the official awards are released. Likewise, Jordan Shepler had a great year in his final year at purple belt masters and we’d be remiss not to mention Shane Rose as well, who came in second in the voting despite being snubbed for inclusion on the actual poll (those write-in votes matter!).
Last but not least in the lower belt classes, Andy Cordova won at adult blue while Jerry Browne took masters after a close race with Adam Chance. White belt was taken by Daniel Alvarado after a close race with Jorge Hercules Valladares which came down to the final 7 votes. On the masters side, Mike Dimascio of Team Lutter ran away with the award this year. It wasn’t even close.
- Adult Black Belt of the Year – Carlos Diego Ferreira Neves – Atos JJ USA
- Masters Black Belt of the Year – Alan Shebaro – Shebaro Jiu Jitsu
- Adult Brown Belt of the Year – Jose M Portillo Jr – Paragon Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Austin
- Masters Brown Belt of the Year – Jeff Hammond – Relson Gracie
- Adult Purple Belt of the Year – Kevin Cordova – Gracie Barra Texas
- Masters Purple Belt of the Year – Jordan Shepler – Alvarez BJJ
- Adult Blue Belt of the Year – Andy Cordova – Gracie Barra
- Masters Blue Belt of the Year – Jerry Browne – Genesis BJJ
- Adult White Belt of the Year – Daniel Alvarado – Alvarez BJJ
- Masters White Belt of the Year – Mike Dimascio – Travis Lutter Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Female Belt Level Awards
The women’s side of the voting went successfully as well.
Fabiana Borges won the black belt for the second year in a row followed by well-respected Texas BJJ female veteran Sue Ausman. We look forward to seeing even more women compete at this level in the near future. Given the strong level at both brown and purple, that should be coming shortly.
Speaking of brown, Taissa Drummond of Soul Fighters took the honors over (now black belt) Laurah Hallock. Laurah has moved to California to pursue her dream over here but we still remember where she started!
The rest of the awards can be summed up with the fearsome foursome of Danielle Alvarez, Natalia Shepler, Miriam Villar, and Kristina Parker out of Team Alvarez sweeping the voting wins from purple down to white belt.
The mats don’t lie and these 4 put it on the line every time but believe us when we say they’ll have a lot to content with in 2015 with up-and-coming females like Petya Bastos, Veronica Mota-Messina, Crystal Tolentino, Audrey Drew and so many more right there with them.
- Black Belt of the Year – Fabiana Borges – Gracie Barra
- Brown Belt of the Year – Taissa Drummond – Soul Fighters Dallas
- Purple Belt of the Year – Danielle Renee Alvarez – Alvarez BJJ
- Adult Blue Belt of the Year – Cristina Natalia Shepler – Alvarez BJJ
- Masters Blue Belt of the Year – Miriam Villar – Alvarez BJJ
- Adult White Belt of the Year – Kristina Parker – Alvarez BJJ
Juvenile Belt Level Awards
Without fail, these youth categories are the most hotly debated people’s choice awards every year and it’s never the kids egging it on. Needless to say we have some intensely passionate parents here in Texas and we’ll just leave it at that.
The teen boys competitor of the year category was amazing this year if you look at all the finalists. These young men are the future of Texas BJJ and the future is looking bright! As for the people’s choice award, Justin Rebolloso won it in his final year as an amateur while last year’s winner Lucas Brennan was right behind him. 14 year old Roberto Jimenez came in third in just his first year of eligibility as well.
On the teen girls side Teressa Banuelos of Next Generation Frisco won the honor while Kayla Deleon out of Houston’s Revolution Dojo came in second.
In the kids competitor category for the boys there was actually some debate with the voting poll for this award getting out of hand (putting in mildly) thanks to the grown-ups. Adults aside, what we do want to do is recognize both Vitalii Opra and Dillinger Kovach along with Tyler Brennan for garnering the most support in the people’s choice pool. All great kids.
Last but certainly not least on the girls side was Jessie Crane winning the people’s choice award with Cora Sek and Madison Wolfe coming in second and third respectively. The boys category may have taken the cake when it came to the voting dramatics but rest assured the future of Texas grappling is in very capable hands as well with the talent in the female divisions. Thanks to Girls in Gis and the general sisterhood that’s arisen in Texas female BJJ circles, look for these young ladies to keep growing year over year as well..
- Boys Teen Grappler of the Year – Justin Rebolloso – Alvarez BJJ
- Girls Teen Grappler of the Year – Teressa Banuelos – Next Generation
- Boys Kids Grappler of the Year – Vitalii Opra & Dillinger Kovach
- Girls Kids Grappler of the Year – Jessica Crane – Alvarez BJJ
Additional Awards Upcoming in the Official Edition Only This Year
- Match of the Year (Male, Female, Juvenile)
- Submission of the Year (Male, Female, Juvenile)
- Ironman / Ironwoman of the Year
- Inspirational Community Member of the Year
- Community Service Award
- Lifetime Achievement Award (TXMMA Hall of Fame Inductee)
That’s it for the 2014 TXMMA Awards – BJJ Edition People’s Choice Awards. Be on the lookout for the Official Stats-Based Awards coming soon!