By all measurements, the UFC had a down year in 2017. Their two biggest stars — Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor — didn’t step foot in the Octagon once, and ratings showed it. PPV buy-rates were down outside of Jon Jones’ grand return at UFC 214, and there was a general lack of fan hype around the promotion’s weekly events. High-profile USADA violations took down Anderson Silva and Jon Jones yet again, and few stars were truly born.
It was a year that kind of skirted by for the UFC, existing, for most fans, only in the orbit of the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor circus.
It paints a gloomy picture, but MMA has a pretty high basement when it comes to enjoyment. Yes, the stars of old are falling away, and too few have been there to pick up the slack, but the UFC put on the best combat sports show of 2017 with UFC 217, and it’s a reminder of how utterly enjoyable the sport can be.
UFC 217 had the perfect amount of spectacle, drama and easy to grasp storylines to allow for maximum enjoyment from the hardcore fan to the fringe viewer who would only watch one UFC show per year. Most importantly, every fight on the main card could be summed up in a simple, enticing logline.