Posted 11/15/2012 by admin in Michelle in Charge

Review – 2012 Florida MMA Awards Show

By Michelle D. Drake, November 15th, 2012 

And the Winner Is…

You have at some point in your life heard those famous words, “And the winner is…,” and I’m sure you secretly wished it was your name about to be called… even though you’re not even nominated. You’re not even at the event. You’re not even an actor or musician! But you want your name called because the allure of the shiny trophy is so strong that you hope for one brief moment, an alternate universe jumps course and makes you the winner. The urge to win is so strong you’ve been known to make believe you’ve won by accepting the bottle of shampoo as your shiny prize whilst you’re in the shower or even have made due with the can of Lysol. To that I say, keep dreaming, kiddo! We’re in a world of dreamers and make believers.

On November 4th, 2012, I attended the 2012 Florida MMA Awards Show as one of the show’s awards presenter. A couple of weeks ago, I was elated to be asked to be part of the very first Florida MMA Awards show, especially since I’m not from Florida. I was told I’d be presenting the award for ‘Best Referee,’ which made sense because I am a MMA Referee, having worked several MMA events and  the Invicta FC shows as one of their Referee’s.

I purchased my airline tickets, bought a new gown (Ralph Lauren, no less), made arrangements to get my hair done and even bought a new pair of Spanx to hold all that is me in one place. None of this was cheap by any means and quite frankly, barely affordable. But it was a huge honor to be a part of this history making event and I was glad to do it.

A few days before the show, I received a call from the program host of the evening where he went over the details and plans that pertained to me. I was confirmed as presenter for ‘Best Referee’ and was to be at rehearsals at a certain time, and to walk the red-carpet, and blah, blah, blah.

Let’s fast forward to the event, shall we?  I’m all dressed up — I look GORGEOUS!  Stunning even. I walk up to the red carpet; no one knows who I am, that’s ok. I go ahead and step on to the red carpet and begin my walk across the step-and-repeat. One guy steps forward and takes my picture. I hand him my phone and ask him to take one for me. He obliged. I make my way into the foray of the auditorium and take my place in line to be checked in. There were only two ladies at a table checking names on a hand-written list… a list that’s not in alphabetical order, nor any sort of order it seemed. I knew finding my name would be disastrous as I have two last names and most of the time, only one or the other of my hyphenated last name makes it on the list.

‘Michelle Drake-Browning,’ I say… They search and search and search. Nothing. No Michelle Drake. No Michelle Browning. No ‘Best Referee’ presenter even. Nothing. Color me a jackass. Finally the program host comes by and asked where I’m to be seated. He then says that I’m the guest of ‘MMA Owl.’ Uhhhh, WTF?! But I’m a Presenter and can’t even have my own seat?? This gig might not be as great as I was told it would be. That’s okay because I’m looking forward to meeting the members of the Florida Commission and network with them.

I find my row and seat marked ‘MMA Owl – Guest.’ This must mean me. I sit down and look around. The rest of the row is empty. No one else has taken their seat yet. I read the name cards on each seat and notice that I’m in the same row as all the Commissioners. Great!  This actually might work out.  Unnnnntillllll… the show starts and I’m still the only person in my row, except for ‘Fighter of the Year’ nominee and his date.

The show started 45 minutes late and lasted about an hour and a half. And in a time saving move, only the names of the award winners were announced, not the names of the nominees. I can tell you, if I were a nominee, I wouldn’t be happy if my name wasn’t mentioned.

Three days before the show, I  found out that I was no longer presenting the ‘Best Referee’ award but now presenting the ‘Best Judge’ award. Din Thomas was now set to do that and he didn’t even show up! Since he was a no show, I figured that I’d be asked to present both awards, which would make sense since there were a few other people presenting two or three awards. NOPE. That didn’t happen, so I presented the award for ‘Best Judge’ and did so with dignity and pure awesomeness, of course.

All in all the show was good. The musical entertainment did leave more to be desired as one of singer’s lip-synced her entire performance and the other singer was barely understandable. The Master of Ceremonies was funny and had me giggling and laughing out loud at times. He did a good job keeping the flow of the show going. The sound and lighting was really good. Being that this was the first time this awards show took place, it was decently put together. The awards were really nice and quite heavy. I felt my bicep shaking when I was holding it at the podium, maybe it was my nerves, but my story is and I’m sticking to it was, the award itself was really heavy! The venue was quite nice and the seats felt good on my butt.

When the show was over, I made my escape and went to where I was staying in town (my friend’s house). I didn’t stick around to meet or mingle with fighters or coaches because as a MMA Referee, I have to keep a professional distance from them. Yes, I could’ve said good-bye and said thank you to the program host for the evening, but at that point, I just didn’t want to.

If I were to pick anything to whine about, it would be that the bar closed down and packed up by the time the show started. I really wanted to have a tasty beverage while sitting in a row all by myself in my gorgeous Ralph Lauren gown and tight-as-all-bloody-hell, brand new Spanx.

I’d like to extend my congratulations to the award winners and to those who were nominated, I wish the best of luck and continued success.

In closing, keep accepting your shampoo bottles and Lysol cans as your personal Oscar or Grammy! Never stop dreaming. Never stop make believing. Never grow up… it’s a trap!

Your friend in the cage,