2017’s Event of the Year was barely debatable, with all writers responding coming to a unanimous decision.
Bellator NYC. KSW 39. UFC 217. The MMA world saw a number of huge events go down in 2017 — but who did we choose as Event of the Year? In the end, it wasn’t even close. In fact, across our entire MMA Year in Review series for 2017, it was the only unanimous selection.
You’ve probably guessed the answer already, but read on to see what our writers chose as the Event of the Year 2017 in MMA.
Event of the Year 2017
Heath Harshman: UFC 218 was a ton of fun, but the history made at UFC 217, along with the performances, is unmatched in MMA this year. Featuring the return of GSP, the grudge match between Cody Garbrandt and TJ Dillashaw, and the rise of Rose Namajunas, UFC 217 is tough to beat. The fact that it all took place at Madison Square Garden is icing the cake of the best event of the year.
Paarth Pande: UFC217. There were three “and new” moments. Three major upsets. Almost all fights ended in finishes. UFC 217 was amazing
Jay Anderson: Probably the easiest call of the year-end selections I’ve had to make. KSW 39 was big, breaking attendance records. Bellator NYC was big, but ultimately bizarre. UFC 213 and 214 pretty much fell apart. In fact, it was a rather rough year for the world’s leading MMA promotion. UFC 217 was one of the few bright spots for the company — but what a bright spot it was. Three titles changed hands that night, an unprecedented occurrence we may not see again. TJ Dillashaw reclaimed his bantamweight title by finishing arch-rival Cody Garbrandt. Rose Namajunas shocked the world by usurping strawweight Queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Finally, Georges St. Pierre returned from a four-year hiatus to choke out Michael Bisping and claim the UFC middleweight champion.
Mike Straus: UFC 217 (no explanation necessary!).
Gabriel Gonzalez: UFC 217. While the event lacked the sheer star power of UFC 200 last year, this year’s Madison Square Garden card changed the courses of three divisions. Three belts changed hands, and each champion is set for an incredible 2018. GSP will be the top story regardless of his next move, Namajunas appears to have a rematch in the pipeline, and Dillashaw is set for a super fight. To have all that in one night makes this card the clear winner.
Mike McClory: UFC 217 – 3 title fights, 3 finishes and 3 title changes. The UFC could only hope for more events like this one.
Dan Doherty: Gotta be the night that three titles shifted hands in spectacular fashion. From bottom to top this event had it all: A spinning back elbow KO, referee controversies, a spectacular head kick, and that was just the prelims. Although the main card started out with Johny Hendricks simply surviving for 8 minutes against Paulo Costa, Wonderboy picked things up with a prime performance against Jorge Masvidal. Then we got to the title fights. Rose Freakin’ Namajunas knocked Joanna Jedrzejczyk out in what was the biggest upset of the night, maybe the year given how unstoppable Jedrzejczyk looked prior to UFC 217. Then TJ Dillashaw washes off a rough first round by knocking out his former teammate Cody Garbrandt to reclaim his bantamweight title. Lastly, Georges St. Pierre ends his four-year hiatus by casually winning the middleweight title over Michael Bisping, effectively fixing a great weight class. I have to say, seeing GSP win the title the way he did may have been the most amazing moment I’ve witnessed in MMA. Unbelievable.
Eddie Law: UFC 217. Three belts change hands, all three lost by the trash talkers. It was a win for takers of that “high road” everywhere.
The end result: there’s no doubt about it, UFC 217 was the Event of the Year 2017!