So I think this is something unique to Mate 16.04. I’ve tried several other variants of Ubuntu 16.04 and the controller works fine out of the box. It is only with Mate that the controller is rather temperental to the point of being nonfunctional.
I’ve tried installing xboxdr, the steampad drv, everything that I can think of and the issue still isn’t resolved. Can someone help me figure out why this is happenign?