Chael is getting a title shot for more PPV buys.
Giving Le a title shot to break into a new market is a similar thing.
It's a combination of things with Chael. First he stepped up to save the card along with Anderson who didn't mind facing a 205er as long as it wasn't the LHW title holder. He would later fulfill that promise by facing Bonnar in one of the most spectacular displays of improvisational fighting. Second I really think the UFC brass wanted to annoy the LHW title holder and just do it as a big "f u" for not saving the card when he had the chance.
You mentioned Leites and Cote as viable options, now you say it was because there was nobody else to fight except middleweights on winning streaks. Who is there now to fight except Weidman? Lombard arguably lost his first fight.
I agree Cung Le did not deserve to be #1 contender, so how about make it a non-title fight to appeal to the Chinese fans and fans worldwide that want to see Bruce Lee-like MMA?
Cote earned the shot, Leites was picked more of his BJJ imo plus he was on a win streak. The fight was interesting, problem was Leites was fighting scared.
Cung while highly dynamic should face one more top tiered fighter. He poses some unique challenges; crafty, vast array of kicks, under rated wrestling and submissions. Ultimately Anderson would also have a say and that's why Weidman isn't getting his shot same with Hendricks. Both GSP and Anderson have earned a certain level of status and rightfully so. How do you reward the UFC's greatest general. Ask em what he wants then give it to em on a silver platter. People need to understand business and how life works. It's a mutually beneficial relationship. Always has been.
Cung would draw in certain markets, but a better match up would be Cung vs Bisping. Kicker vs puncher. Definitely not Belfort, glad that fight fell through cuz Cung would be out in 30 seconds if Belfort charged em. Kicks are nullified at close proximity.
Marcus Aurelius: Tell me again, Maximus, why are we here?
Maximus: For the glory of the Empire, sire.
Baked, not fried... the healthy choice.