by Dann Stupp and John Morgan of MMAJunkie.com
Edson Baraboza didn’t see his recent ESPY nomination as a personal accomplishment so much as he did a win for the sport of MMA.
Barboza’s spinning-wheel-kick KO of Terry Etim at UFC 142 recently was nominated as one of the year’s top 16 plays as part of the 2012 ESPN ESPY Awards.
Baraboza said that having an MMA highlight actually rank among those in the NFL, NBA, MLB and worldwide soccer is already a big win for his chosen sport.
“It is really nice to be able to see MMA competing head to head with soccer, football, golf and others,” Barboza told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) through a translator. “I am especially happy … because MMA is growing every year more and more. When I saw that I was competing against ‘Neymar’ (Neymar da Silva Santos), who comes from soccer, and other athletes who come from huge sports, it makes me more motived. I realized that MMA is growing faster and faster.”
Barboza said he learned of his nomination after manager Alex Davis read about it on MMAjunkie.com.
Fans ultimately will decide the winner of the 2012 “Best Play” ESPY through a vote up until the July 11 awards show. Each play is seeded No. 1-16. Barboza’s kick, which took place in January and moved him to 10-0 (while also earning him a third straight “Fight of the Night” award), is seeded No. 14 (watch the clip) in the first round of voting. He’s up against the PGA’s Louis Oosthuizen and his double-eagle at the 2012 Masters, which is seeded No. 3 (watch the clip).