Another eventful 12 months have come and gone in mixed martial arts. Bellator MMA, the Professional Fighters League, Invicta Fighting Championships, Rizin Fighting Federation and One Championship all made significant moves, but the Ultimate Fighting Championship once again cast an immense shadow across the globe; and the sport continued to evolve, for better and for worse.
A year that started with a beloved legend being drawn and quartered at UFC Fight Night 103 on Jan. 15 took a number of unexpected twists and turns, most notably lightweight champion Conor McGregor’s detour into professional boxing for a lucrative showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Four UFC champions lost their grip on promotional gold, as Michael Bisping, Jose Aldo, Cody Garbrandt and Joanna Jedrzejczyk were removed from power by force; Jon Jones returned to the top of the light heavyweight division, only to be undone soon after by a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs. Meanwhile, Cristiane Justino and Nicco Montano captured vacant titles in the women’s featherweight and women’s flyweight divisions.
The spaces in between were filled with fights that stretched the bounds of what was thought possible, crushing knockouts, gravity-defying submissions, judging controversies, athletic commission shenanigans and the rise of new stars that will help carry the combat sports torch into a promising but unknown future.
A complete rundown of Sherdog.com’s 2017 Year-End Awards:
• Fighter of the Year by Brian Knapp
• Fight of the Year by Eric Stinton
• Knockout of the Year by Todd Martin
• Submission of the Year by Anthony Walker
• Story of the Year by Tristen Critchfield
• Beatdown of the Year by Todd Martin
• Event of the Year by Anthony Walker
• Breakthrough Fighter of the Year by Edward Carbajal
• Robbery of the Year by Jordan Colbert
• Round of the Year by Jordan Colbert
• Upset of the Year by Brian Knapp
• Comeback Fighter of the Year by Edward Carbajal
• All-Violence Team by Jordan Breen