By the time that this is published, the ceremony that will make Stephan Bonnar an official member of the UFC Hall of Fame will be underway. Bonnar’s resume includes an 8-7 UFC record, a flawless 0-0 record in UFC title fights, two failed drug tests and the significance of his TUF Finale bout against Forrest Griffin – a fight so important to UFC history that it has its own Wikipedia page. Bonnar also is on good terms with Dana White, which is arguably the most important criterion for induction into what is supposedly the UFC’s highest honor.
Regardless of how you feel about Bonnar’s induction, that last sentence should make you feel uncomfortable. A company that already has trouble convincing non-fans that it isn’t glorified professional wrestling selects people into its hall of fame the same way that the WWE does – by allowing one person to dictate who is worthy of the honor. Both halls have some debatable inductions. Both halls have some notable omissions. Neither hall is taken seriously by most fans of either sport.
While many articles have been written about how Bonnar’s induction highlights everything that’s wrong with the UFC Hall of Fame selection process, pretty much none of them offered any solutions. Below you’ll find a few suggestions to fix the hall, as well as reasons that they may not work. Let’s start off with the most obvious fix…
Let the Journalists Vote
Why it would work - Because that’s pretty much what every legitimate Hall of Fame does. It may not make too much of a difference as to who gets inducted (more on that in a second), but at least then we’ll be able to take the hall seriously.
Why it wouldn’t work – Or will we? If the only journalists who are allowed to vote are those who are on good terms with the UFC – and unwilling to do anything to jeopardize this – the results will inevitably be just as biased as those adorable “official UFC rankings.”
Let the Fans Vote
Why it would work - Because halls of fame are for the fans in the first place, so why not let them decide who they want in them? Also, current UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz seems to believe it would work. Via MMA Junkie:
“I think [the Hall of Fame selection process] should be a fan vote,” Ortiz said. “That’s what it should really come down to. The fans should consider how much they’ve known the person, how much they’ve watched them fight and so forth and just how much the fighter had significance in the sport in general. I think that’s the answer.”
Why it wouldn’t work - How’s this for irony: Ortiz doesn’t think that Bonnar deserves to be in the hall of fame, but thinks that allowing the fans to induct
their favorite the most worthy fighters is the solution. If you’re even slightly familiar with the voting process for the NBA All Star Game, then this requires zero explanation. If you aren’t familiar with it – and were too lazy to click the two links in this section – then let’s just say that guys like Bonnar would only be more likely to be inducted into the hall if the fans were allowed to vote.
Mark Cuban’s Weighted Fan Vote
Why it would work – The problem with letting the people vote on the Internet is that anyone with an unhealthy obsession with an athlete and too much free time can significantly affect the outcome, regardless of how often they even watch the sport. In an attempt to fix this, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban offered a solution – count votes cast in arenas during events twice as much as Internet votes. This not only rewards fans who are loyal enough to buy tickets to events, but also helps ensure that votes from educated fans aren’t immediately cancelled out by votes from people looking to troll the election. Win/win.
Why it wouldn’t work – At best, counting arena votes twice as much as Internet votes is like putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound; if you’re trolling an election online, you aren’t just voting once. At worst, keep in mind that it’s estimated that as much as 60% of a sporting event’s live gate comes from casual fans, which means that the Affliction clad oaf who thinks Brock Lesnar is the best fighter on the planet would now have twice as much influence on the outcome as the hardcore MMA fans watching the event from home.
Why it would work – If the current problem facing the UFC Hall of Fame is human bias, then adding even more humans to the mix isn’t going to fix anything. Let’s just take a look at the stats – Win/loss record, takedown percentage, strikes landed; etc. – and let the numbers determine who really belongs in the hall of fame.
Why it wouldn’t work – The fighter who has landed the second-most strikes in UFC history, the third-most takedowns and left the organization with a 14-3-1 UFC record isn’t a member of the UFC Hall of Fame. Is this proof that we need to use statistics to determine who should be in the hall?
If you said yes, then congratulations – you just inducted Jon Fitch.
Screw it, Let’s Just Start a CagePotato.com Hall of Fame
Why it would work – It wouldn’t.
So how do you think the inductions should be handled? Let us know in the comments section.