When Forrest Griffin retired just months after Stephan Bonnar, the UFC said the two fighters would enter the UFC Hall of Fame together. Bonnar's banned substance violation and lackluster career mattered less than his part in the groundbreaking bout on the first "The Ultimate Fighter" finale.
Tito Ortiz, a current member of the UFC Hall of Fame, isn't so sure that Bonnar deserves to have the same honor as him.
"As far as Stephan, I have nothing against the guy, but you've got to be a world champion, I think, to be in the Hall of Fame ... That's a big honor to be in the Hall of Fame," Ortiz said to MMA Junkie. "It means you had a significance in the sport at one time or another. You look at that, and the Forrest and Stephan fight was a big step for the UFC, so do they deserve it? Possibly. But can one fight get you in the Hall of Fame? I don't know. I guess that's Dana's decision."
Griffin won the UFC light heavyweight championship with a win over Quinton Jackson in 2008, but then lost it to Rashad Evans. He finished with a record of 19-7. Bonnar announced his retirement after losing a non-title bout to Anderson Silva at UFC 153. He tested positive for a banned substance for the fight. His final record was 15-8, and he never fought for a UFC title.
Ortiz's comments bring to the forefront to the problems with the UFC Hall of Fame. The UFC's Hall of Fame has no open criteria or voting process, and is limited to just UFC fighters. As Ortiz notes, the decision appears to rest in the hands of UFC president Dana White.
It's totally within the UFC's rights to run their Hall of Fame as they see it, but it shouldn't be compared to say, the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Football's Hall of Fame in Canton has a clear criteria and voting process, and isn't limited to just NFL members.