Honorees

Meet Our Icons

We believe honoring those who have made a significant impact in the world of COMBAT sports is of the upmost importance.

Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson is an American actor and filmmaker. He is best known for his action hero roles, namely his breakout role as Max Rockatansky in the first three films in the Mad Max post-apocalyptic action series, and as Martin Riggs in the Lethal Weapon buddy cop film series.

Gibson produced, directed, and starred in the epic historical drama film Braveheart (1995), for which he won the Golden Globe Award and Academy Award for Best Director, along with the Academy Award for Best Picture. He received further critical notice for his directorial work of the action-adventure film Apocalypto (2006). After a 10-year hiatus from directing, Gibson returned with the critically praised and financially successful Hacksaw Ridge (2016), which won two Academy Awards and was nominated for another four, including Best Picture and Best Director for Gibson, his second nomination in the category.

Rigan Machado

Rigan Machado is an 8th degree red and black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, earning his rank under Carlos Gracie Jr. He is a former Pan American Champion (1996, 1997 weight and absolute) and a veteran medalist of the ADCC. Machado holds a victory over Ron Tripp, Rigan Machado currently teaches out of his Beverly Hills California Academy and is instructor to notable students Ashton Kutcher, Vin Diesel and Charlie Hunnam from the television show Sons of Anarchy.

Rigan Machado was awarded the first black belt under Gracie Barra founder Carlos Gracie Jr. and is one of the original teachers who taught in the garage of Rorion Gracie in the early days of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in America. He also trained with his other cousins such Rickson Gracie, Rorion Gracie, Rillion Gracie, his uncle Carlos Gracie Sr, and his brothers. He is widely regarded as one of the top competitors in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu history. He also competed and won many tournaments in judo, sambo, and wrestling.

Chuck Liddell

Chuck Liddell is an American retired mixed martial artist and former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. He has an extensive striking background in Kempo, Karate, and Kickboxing, as well as a grappling background in collegiate wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Liddell had 23 fights in the UFC; along with Randy Couture, he is widely credited for bringing MMA into the mainstream of American sports and entertainment. On July 10, 2009, he was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.

Earnie Shavers

Earnie Shavers is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1969 to 1995, and challenged twice for the world heavyweight title in 1977 and 1979. He is considered by many boxing experts to be the hardest puncher of all time, holding a 91.8% knockout-to-win ratio, and having stopped 50 opponents in three rounds or less; 23 in the first round.

Shavers is best known for his fights with Larry Holmes and Muhammad Ali: despite losing these contests, he scored a heavy knockdown against Holmes, and hurt Ali badly in the second round as well as during the final rounds of their fight.

Shavers officially retired from boxing in 1995. He released an autobiography about his life and boxing career, titled Welcome to the Big Time in 2001.

Steven Seagal

Steven Seagal is an American actor, producer, screenwriter, director, martial artist, and musician who holds American, Russian, and Serbian citizenship. A 7th-dan black belt in aikido, Seagal began his adult life as a martial arts instructor in Japan; becoming the first foreigner to operate an aikido dojo in the country

In addition, Seagal is known as an environmentalist, an animal rights activist, and as a supporter of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. He is also known for his outspoken political views and for his friendship with Vladimir Putin. Seagal once referred to Putin as “one of the great living world leaders”.

Tito Ortiz

Tito Ortiz is an American retired mixed martial artist. In the MMA world, he is known for his stint with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Bellator MMA, where he is a former Light Heavyweight Champion, having held the title from April 14, 2000 to September 26, 2003. Along with fighters like Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell, he was one of the sports early stars. Ortiz ultimately became the biggest pay-per-view draw of 2006 for his fights with Liddell, Forrest Griffin, and Ken Shamrock.

Outside of his fighting career, Ortiz is the CEO of the Punishment Athletics MMA equipment and clothing line. He also owns an MMA training gym called Punishment Training Center, which is located in his hometown of Huntington Beach, California. On July 7, 2012, Ortiz became the ninth inductee into the UFC Hall of Fame.

Freddie Roach

Freddie Roach is an American boxing trainer and former professional boxer. Roach is widely regarded as one of the best boxing trainers of all time.

He is the enduring boxing coach of the eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao, five-time and four-division World Champion Miguel Cotto, former WBC Middleweight Champion Julio César Chávez, Jr., defensive master and three-time world champion James Toney, former UFC Middleweight and three-time Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre, as well as top prospects Jose Benavidez, Peter Quillin, and Vanes Martirosyan. Roach was the trainer of former two-time world champion and notable women’s champion Lucia Rijker. He has also trained former junior welterweight champion Amir Khan.

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