Stephan Bonnar's Lifetime Exemption is Bad for Business

E. Spencer KyteSenior Analyst IFebruary 10, 2010

Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting's titular question regarding "The American Psycho" Stephan Bonnar 's career as he heads into his upcoming UFC 110 match is familiar to me.

And as Bonnar entered into his UFC 100 bout with Mark Coleman , I asked the same thing :

Does a loss mark the end of Bonnar 's UFC run?

It didn't following UFC 100 , as we're talking about Bonnar 10 events later but we're also talking about him just four days after the man who handily beat him at UFC 100 was written off by Dana White himself.

Entering his bout at UFC 110, Bonnar is riding a two fight losing streak, and has dropped four-of-six. For most fighters on the UFC roster, the thought of losing a third straight fight would be added pressure, but Bonnar apparently doesn't have to worry.

After all, this is Stephan Bonnar: one half of the greatest fight in UFC history.

As Dana White said in his UFC 94, Bonnar will always have a home in the UFC. As the guy who lost to Forrest Griffin on the original Ultimate Fighter Finale, it has earned Stephan Bonnar a "Lifetime Exemption" from being released.

If I'm any other fighter in the UFC, that doesn't sit well with me.

Let me say this: I understand where Dana White is coming from here, and I commend the loyalty he is showing to a guy who helped propel the company into the successful place it is now.

But it's not " show friends," it's " show business" and that rule has to apply to everyone or else you open yourself up to a lot of criticism and questions.

If Bonnar comes out on the wrong end of this bout at UFC 110, that will be his third consecutive loss.

His two most recent wins came in 2007 over veteran Eric Schafer and the since-released Mike Nickels . And it's not like Bonnar is fighting for chump change either; he earned $25,000 for his loss at UFC 100.

Those two factors would spell doom for anyone else, so why not Bonnar? Isn't there a statute of limitations on the TUF 1 Finale?

Apparently not, and that could have repercussions in the future.

This "Lifetime Exemption" for Bonnar shows that the UFC likes to take care of their own; TUF 1 cast members like Mike Swick , Josh Koscheck , and Diego Sanchez will never be in jeopardy, and we know that to be the case for "The Crippler" Chris Leben .

But the majority of the UFC roster is made up of fighters far from a "one of their own" distinction, meaning their futures are governed by a different set of rules and stipulations than the careers of the TUF 1 vets and upper echelon guys.

If Chris Leben had lost to Jay Silva at Fight Night 20, chances are "The Crippler" wouldn't have gotten cut. Of course, Leben won and Silva was shown the door after suffering back-to-back losses.

That is a dangerous double standard to maintain.

Yes, the UFC is the biggest stage available right now, but Strikeforce is working towards joining them in the spotlight. For an emerging talent, if the money is close, the clear double standard employed by the UFC in respect to "their own" would make me think twice about signing on the dotted line.

Your livelihood is at stake after two consecutive losses, but Stephan Bonnar is still employed because of a fight he lost five years ago?

Somewhere, Mark Coleman must be fuming.

In July, he handily beat Bonnar at UFC 100. Just 10 days ago, Dana White was speaking in superlatives about the historical contributions of the first heavyweight champion in the company's history.

One loss later and the UFC has shown him the door .

Yet the guy he laid a beating to in July is prepping for another fight and will most likely remain employed even if he loses at UFC 110 next weekend.

Life isn't fair and neither is business, but this extends beyond the boundaries of fairness into dangerous territory.

The UFC is operating with a serious double standard when it comes to Stephan Bonnar, and if they don't take action, their credibility will drop with every new notch in the loss column of "The American Psycho."