By TXMMA Staff
Texas BJJ Community chooses People’s Choice Award Winners for 2015 TXMMA Awards
The 2015 TXMMA Awards People’s Choice Voting wrapped up last month with over 5,000 participants, friends and family of Texas 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 2015.
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 2015 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 announcing the People’s Choice winners!
2015 TXMMA Awards – BJJ Edition People’s Choice Winners
Team and Association Awards
Bruno Bastos BJJ Association repeated this year, winning the Association of the Year People’s Choice Award for the second year in a row. Their Texas representative schools include Bruno Bastos Midland, Vagabond BJJ, Alvarez BJJ, and Evolve BJJ amongst others.
On the individual academy side, San Antonio’s Rodrigo Pinheiro BJJ won the Academy of the Year People’s Choice Award with Bastos BJJ Midland and Peak performance right behind them in the voting.
- Academy of the Year – Rodrigo Pinheiro 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 is plenty of competition even in the people’s choice voting polls as well.
At black belt, Samuel Snow and Alex Martins took the honor at adult and masters respectively. Snow had a benchmark year competing at the black belt level, traveling all over the place and gaining some big wins. Meanwhile, Martins opened up his new academy and is doing quite well in the DFW area. Also a special note for Tier 1’s Alan Shebaro as well. He actually had an overwhelming amount of comments indicating his name in the comments section of our polls but the rules dictated that all voters must click the other button for their votes to count. Therefore, Alex Martins came out on top per the rules. Either way, both these guys deserve some recognition.
At brown belt, the duo of Brandon Walker and Jeff Hammond swept the awards, taking both adult and masters’ people’s choice back to Longview, TX.
Moving on to purple belt, Vincent Saenz and Jordan Burton win there with JBIII adding this award to his list of 2015 accolades that also includes an IBJJF masters gold medal.
We had a first at blue belt in 2015, with 15 year old Roberto Jimenez winning the people’s choice award at the adult level. This was after he went undefeated competing at that rank all year long. Meanwhile, RPBJJ’s Matthew McCall took the honors at masters and its well-deserved as the big man been competing well for the second year in a row now.
Edward Galan won the combined adult/masters white belt people’s choice award after a heated competition with fellow white belt warrior Seayn O’Donoghue.
- Adult Black Belt of the Year – Samuel Snow (Snow BJJ / Alliance)
- Masters Black Belt of the Year – Alex Martins (AMBJJ)
- Adult Brown Belt of the Year – Brandon Walker (Caique BJJ)
- Masters Brown Belt of the Year – Jeff Hammond (Caique BJJ)
- Adult Purple Belt of the Year – Vincent Saenz (Lovato BJJ)
- Masters Purple Belt of the Year – Jordan Burton (PSBJJ)
- Adult Blue Belt of the Year – Roberto Jimenez (Alliance Team Gacho)
- Masters Blue Belt of the Year – Matthew McCall (RPBJJ)
- White Belt of the Year – Edward Galan (Bastos BJJ Midland)
Female Belt Level Awards
The women’s divisions in Texas continues to grow and so do their representation in the TXMMA Awards. This year we were able to split out the adult/masters categories at a few more belt levels than we did last year for People’s Choice. And this year the official awards will include every level but white and black for both adult and masters.
Winning people’s choice for the second year in a row is Fabiana Borges of GB San Antonio. She is joined at the brown belt level by BJJ Revolution’s Veronica Mota-Messina. Both ladies had great years placing at the international level with Borges reaching podium at several of the majors and Veronica winning the whole thing at her belt level at Masters Worlds.
Moving on to purple belt, Chelsah’ Lyons and Karen Kovach won out in people’s choice over some tough competition that included Danielle Alvarez and Laura Heiman amongst others.
Blue belt awards in the women’s categories both go to Elite MMA Kingwood with Leslie McLea and Kristine Heines winning the votes at adult and masters respectively.
AMBJJ’s Katie Egan rounds out the winners with the white belt of the year people’s choice title.
- Black Belt of the Year – Fabiana Borges (Gracie Barra San Antonio)
- Brown Belt of the Year – Veronica Mota-Messina (BJJ Revolution)
- Adult Purple Belt of the Year – Chelsah’ Lyons (Marcelo Garcia Dallas)
- Masters Purple Belt of the Year – Karen Kovach (Genesis)
- Adult Blue Belt of the Year – Leslie McLea (Elite MMA)
- Masters Blue Belt of the Year – Kristine Heines (Elite MMA)
- White Belt of the Year – Katie Egan (AMBJJ)
Juvenile Belt Level Awards
When it comes to our People’s Choice BJJ Awards, no voting categories are more hotly contested than in the juvenile divisions. You can always count on a competitive race here and oftentimes, the voting at the youth level has an impact on how the rest of the awards shake out as well. This year was evident of that with RPBJJ kids sweeping 3 out of 4 awards.
In the teen categories, the duo of David Fahey and Ariana Mendoza from RPBJJ won the boys and girls version respectively. They were joined by Cole Abate who had a phenomenal year, going undefeated and winning at both the local and national level. Aeri Osha out of BJJ Revolution completes the winner’s circle, winning the kid grappler of the year award on the girls side in her first year as a Texas resident.
- Boys Teen Grappler of the Year – David Fahey (RPBJJ)
- Girls Teen Grappler of the Year – Ariana Mendoza (RPBJJ)
- Boys Kids Grappler of the Year – Cole Abate (RPBJJ)
- Girls Kids Grappler of the Year – Aeri Osha (BJJ Revolution)
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 2015 TXMMA Awards – BJJ Edition People’s Choice Awards. Be on the lookout for the Official Stats-Based Awards coming soon!