UFC HOF Induction: White Defends Bonnar

Posted on July 15, 2013, 04:50 PM by Brian Cox
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“So, you guys have heard me say it a million times…as far as this company goes for sure, but as far as this sport goes, this was the most important fight in the history of this company. At the time when this fight happened, okay, you know where we were back then; you know where we were and what was happening, ah, with the sport. We were 44 million dollars in the whole into this business.”

That was the preamble which Dana White used as a lead up to his fiery and passionate introduction of Forest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar at the UFC Hall-of-Fame introductions in Las Vegas, this past week. His preface was couched as an answer to questions (“b****ing”) by the media, regarding how it is that Bonnar has come to be inducted into the UFC HOF; as many feel he hasn’t earned it.

The UFC president went on to lay out the case as to why Bonnar should be in the HOF and it all had to do with that 1 fight and in listening to his (passionate) case, he made a good one. With emotion in his voice White told the audience that even with the work they had put in, the success that the show (TUF) had been and even the “crazy” ratings it had garnered, there was still no deal with “SPIKE”. In essence, that the TUF I finale was their last shot at getting a TV deal and that it was Griffin & Bonnar that made the deal happen. As White said:

 “during 6 minutes of that fight 12 million people tuned in…you know what insane numbers those are?… (people in the arena) were stomping their feet in the place, it sounded like a f***ing train was going through that place...there has never been a more important fight, except for UFC 1, in the history of mixed-martial-arts and it is our honor to induct Forest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar into the UFC Hall-of-Fame.”

I think regardless of White’s sentiments and reasons, many will still have a tough time (no pun intended) in accepting Bonnar’s HOF induction.

For me, I think it could be argued either way. I understand the historical significance of Griffin / Bonnar I, but beyond that, he didn’t earn it and there seems to be no pretense (on anyone’s behalf) as to arguing otherwise.

Beyond that, my view of the UFC’s HOF ceremonies is that they lack any sense of celebration, drama, pageantry or officialdom. As example, Dana attended the “ceremony” in his best black t-shirt, jeans and running shoes and once his effusive remarks were gone, so was the energy of the whole affair.  

Agree or disagree with the entrants and what any or all may make of an individual fighter’s accomplishments, but the event could use an upgrade in the presentation department and the HOF itself, could use a legitimate home.

Closing out, Griffin said little, Bonnar said too much and in doing so, didn’t help his case for HOF status. Also, he seemed to bore the h**l out of Dana and Forrest.


Comments

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  • movescamp
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    Uh, seriously did you just start watching the UFC? This article is an op ed piece of junk. Why would you spend time belittling a man who helped imprint the sport in people's minds? He fought like crazy at a high level for a long time in many organizations helping form/train people who are now big stars. Why belittle the guy?

    Reply 9 months ago
  • Entity
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    Play nice, some articles you like and maybe some you dont care for. Lowkick is still a fun place.

    Reply 9 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    Entity, it is a fun place and MMA is supposed to be fun and given the nature of the sport, it should not be expected that we all would agree or see things the same way.

    At least Moves spent the time to tell me how he felt and i appreciate and respect the effort.

    Reply 9 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    Moves...I didn't belittle Bonnar and further, I support his induction. However, it is appropriate to raise the issue or ask the question (as much of the media has, hence White's remarks) and in recognition of the fact that many fans didn't get it.

    I stated that White made a passionate and good case. I also said it could be argued both ways, but that I understood Whites reasoning.

    On point though, no where in the White's introduction did he make any other comment about Bonnar's career. He simply made note of the the one fight. Subsequent to that, people have questions and I am obliged to represent both sides of the case.

    I have always liked Stephan and have rooted for him in most of his fights. I believe he's a nice guy and pretty funny, too and accomplished a great deal through persistence as opposed to sheet talent and I respect that in anyone.

    Regardless, I'm sorry you took the piece as belittlement for it was not meant as such and more to the point, the thought of belittling Stephan never entered my mind as I was writing it.

    Cheers,

    Brian

    Reply 9 months ago
  • movescamp
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    Ok. But why? What is the point of raising a question about the career of a man who has brought all he has to the sport when it was in its development stage. He fought all over the globe in some lesser divisions and has personally helped develope be careers of athletes even while being beat. The sport is in its infancy so for instance tycob may not be as impressive as Barry bonds but its apples and oranges. Why not bring up more important topics? I appreciate your comments usually, but this topic seems irrelevant as far as discourse goes. These guys get crapped on constantly like blue collar Americans. Give the guy praise for doing something most people have no idea how much dedication and discipline it takes to do what he has done. That said I am sorry for judging you. I know a lot of fighters, and even more wannabes and I find myself constantly defending the ones who live like monks to entertain and will most likely die poor. So give em a big poster in the hall.

    Reply 9 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    Moves, I couldn't disagree with any of what you said and I applaud your passion on the subject.

    However, there are two things to consider on this particular issue.

    1. As much as I agree with you about hard work, living like monks and only to entertain us, it's not a HOF criteria. If it was, everyone who entered the UFC would eligible for induction.

    2. The reason I raised the issue as opposed to praise him, was and because, White raised the issue (proactively) and then spent a few minutes defending the decision. No where in any of it, did he raise any other aspect of Bonnar's career or Griffin's for that matter and only spoke of the one (TUF) fight.

    In furtherance of the point, I've never seen a UFC HOF induction where White felt required to defend the selection. By doing so, he acknowledged the questioning of the decision. Subsequently, I thought I'd put the subject up for debate on the site.

    Personally, I think he should have made no mention of it and should have spoken of more than just the 1 fight, but again, I thought his words made the case and he did it with passion. To be blunt, he sold me.

    As to judging me, you did not. You simply stated your opinion and that's all good around here, man.

    Cheers,

    Brian

    Reply 9 months ago
  • Entity
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    By the way, I was just messin with ya MovesCamp
    I just saw Brian's article and my fingers got tired 8))

    Reply 9 months ago
  • enjoylife321
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    At the end of the day Dana has justified why he believes Bonnar should be inducted. The problem for many is that the criteria for which he was inducted does not seem aligned with alot of people's expectation of what a Hall of Famer should be.

    Personally I think it should be reserved for those who have won a title, are drug free and were exceptional champions. Anderson Silva, GSP....those type of guys fit the conventional expectation.

    Reply 9 months ago
  • enjoylife321
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    What Bonnar did was exceptional in the sense that one fight changed the UFC landscape. It was just a right place at the right time moment....Anyway no harm in having Bonnar in there...

    Reply 9 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    Enjoy, if the criteria were that stringent the UFC HOF would be a lonely place.

    Michael Bisping for example. Here's a guy who's never won a title, yet he's been in the UFC since 2006 (same year as Silva) and has had 19 fights (2 more than the Spider).

    Clay Guida / Diego Sanchez...both great fighters, who have generally entertained and who together, put on one of the greatest fights I've ever seen in my life.

    Fighters like Lauzon, Lytle, Diaz and Stout would not be in the HOF, yet they put on brilliant performances in the ring and have taken home multiple bonuses as proof.

    I agree that there should be a standard, but I think it should be a tad more flexible than the one you suggest.

    Interesting question to throw around, though.

    Reply 9 months ago
  • enjoylife321
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    @Brian...lets assume that Dana White kept his comments about the Stefan Bonnar/Forrest Griffin fight quiet after the TUF Finale, noone would be talking about Bonnar being an inductee. Agree or disagree?

    The fight was great but Dana spent all these years hyping it to the point where he legitimised Bonnar's inclusion based on his own criteria which was not the criteria that most had expected. And the reason I say this is because why have so many people questioned his inclusion?? Its because an overwhelmingly large number of people felt that he was not a Royce Gracie or Matt hughes calibre athlete etc.

    There have been 1001 great fights in UFC history. On top of that he got caught as a drug cheat. Why is suddenly everyone making exception and ignoring that reality.

    Usually when it comes to inductees, a panel will usually decide based on the athletes record. We are all remembering Bonnar because of one fight he lost that meant so much to Dana. Thats what it boils down to.

    IMO, the Hall of fame should be reserved for those who have dominated and are champions. It could also include those with the most KO or best submission or even fight of the nights. Bonnar does not fall into any of those categories.

    We can't let Dana's emotions overule common sense judgement. Dana was the man who tried to sell us the Chael Sonnen deserves a title shot.

    Reply 9 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    Diego and Florian, as all the others, were in the right place and at the right time, but they weren't the ones that made the impact. Again, I get White's point on the issue. The 2 of them cause 12 million people to tune in, for rounds 2 & 3.

    That's a remarkable thing. It quite literally means, people who were watching round 1 called their friends and told them to watch rounds 2 & 3, because the fighters were involved in an all-out war.

    I truly get Dana's point, now. I had heard the story before, but never told quite that way, with that much detail and certainly never with that kind of passion. Again, he sold me.

    That's why he is where he is, today; passion. He was in full form on that stage.

    Reply 9 months ago
  • movescamp
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    Now that I agree with. Again I come off as an *** a bit but, sometimes its the performance itself that gets you in. You could plug away making records and never have a top 40 hit but, create an entire movement of motavated people who are inspired by art and become the next Radiohead, GSP, etc. both he and Forrest are good spokespeople for the sport because of their demeanor. Popped for drugs. Maybe. Only because they didn't have enough money to pay the bribes and get the most advanced science in their cycles. You can be nearly if not all the champions have used in their building/recovery (especially from injury). You only near to pass the test at fight time. Hell some fighters don't even want to but, don't want to be killed by the guy with the Engineers formulating their "diets".

    This is for another discussion but I can tell you for a fact the guys not using "science" in their diets are starting to get smashed in the pros.

    Reply 9 months ago
  • enjoylife321
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    Reply 9 months ago
  • watermelon fresh
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    Why does anyone take White seriously?

    Reply 9 months ago