UFC Hall-Of-Famer Stephan Bonnar Passes Away At 45

Rest In Peace, Stephan Bonnar.

Stephan Bonnar
(via @5th_round - Instagram)

The MMA world has lost another one of its own this year. 

Stephan Bonnar Passes Away 

On Christmas Eve, the UFC would announce that Stephan Bonnar had passed away at the age of 45. The UFC hall-of-famer reportedly died from presumed heart complications at work on Thursday. 

Legacy

Bonnar made his professional debut in 2001 and after going 7-1 on the regional scene, ‘The American Psycho’ would get the call to be a part of season one of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’. He’d win his first two bouts inside the TUF house to advance to the finale against Forrest Griffin.

History was made on April 9th, 2005 when Bonnar and Griffin collided for a UFC contract. The two fighters would give it all they had and slugged it out for three rounds of action. Going the distance, Griffin would ultimately get his hand raised but through Bonnar’s valiant effort, he would also be given a UFC contract. 

Many years after Bonnar’s war against Griffin concluded, it is still regarded as ‘the fight that saved the UFC’ as the bout gave the UFC much-needed exposure and a new generation of fans. The fight is also featured in the UFC Hall of Fame. 

Bonnar was in the UFC from 2005 to 2012. During his run, Bonnar picked up wins over the likes of Sam Hoger, James Irvin, Keith Jardine and more. He went through a murderer’s row of talent, facing some of the sport’s top names including Jon Jones, Anderson Silva and Rashad Evans just to name a few.

After 15 UFC fights to his name, Bonnar made an appearance at Bellator 131 back in 2014. He’d lose to Tito Ortiz by split decision in what would be his last fight ever. 

‘One Of The Most Important Fighters To Ever Compete In The Octagon’

UFC President Dana White shared a few words following the MMA legend’s death. 

“Stephan Bonnar was one of the most important fighters to ever compete in the Octagon,” White said. “His fight with Forrest Griffin changed the sport forever, and he will never be forgotten. The fans loved him, related to him and he always gave them his best. He will be missed.”

Our condolences go out to the friends and family of Stephan Bonnar during this time. 

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