This past December, current UFC lightweight Anthony “Showtime” Pettis put on a spectacular performance against Ben Henderson en route to capturing the WEC lightweight championship on the WEC’s last show, a performance he capped off by delivering the now-famous “Showtime kick.” With that strike, Pettis entered the national consciousness, as he was featured on highlight reels on sports stations across the country.
Now, “Showtime” has the opportunity to attain a level of mainstream acceptance that few MMA fighters get the opportunity to reach, as he’s been nominated for ESPN’s “Play of the Year.” MMA is also represented in the “Upset of the Year” and “Fighter of the Year” categories, as Fabricio Werdum’s shocking defeat of Fedor Emelianenko, Georges St-Pierre, and Jon Jones are nominated, respectively.
Currently matched up against a tag team interception by Oklahoma St., Pettis’ kick is one of sixteen nominations for “Play of the Year.” Fans will need to vote for the kick for it to proceed through the tournament. It is the only representation of combat sports in the field. Fans can vote online for the ESPY’s at http://espn.go.com/espys/#!/voting/.
Pettis last fought at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale last month, losing a unanimous decision to Clay Guida. With the defeat, Pettis loses the title shot which was promised to him upon his winning the WEC lightweight championship prior to the UFC’s absorption of the WEC. The Duke Roufus-trained Milwaukee native also falls to 13-2 and sees his four-fight winning streak snapped.
Thanks to Mark Wayne for contributing to this article.