Actually that would make perfect sense. I reckon that Volkner got so bored of winning against every challengers that he lost interest in battling and decided to let any challengers take his gym badges for free, until he got all fired up about battling again when he witnessed the fighting spirit of Ash that eventually reminded of Volkner's own past. Not like the other opponents in the league getting a badge without fight would make them less worthy since they still had to earn 7 other badges. I also heard this one time in the show (probably in Kanto) that apart from the 8 gyms Ash decides to compete there are other gyms for battle too, but the show chooses to stick to the gyms available in the games.
Originally Posted by raz1337
"Your signature was too epic! My epeen couldn't handle its epicness" - so called half-arsed mod (they know who they are)