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UFC Veteran & Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar Passes Away

December 24, 2022 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Stephan Bonnar Impact

UFC veteran and Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar, best known as a finalist on the original season of The Ultimate Fighter, has passed away. announced his passing earlier today. He was 45 years old. Bonnar passed away on Thursday (Dec. 22) from presumed heart complications while at work.

Speaking on the news, UFC President Dana White commented, “Stephan Bonnar was one of the most important fighters to ever compete in the Octagon. 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.”

Bonnar is best known as one of the original cast members for the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, which debuted on Spike TV in 2005. He faced then-future UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Forrest Griffin in the finals of the show’s first season, which went on to become an iconic fight for the organization and helped reignite the UFC brand and mixed martial arts. The fight likely saved the UFC and helped introduce TUF and the UFC to a whole new generation of fans.

Griffin won the classic three-round battle via decision. The fight was later inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame’s fight wing in 2013.

While Bonnar didn’t win the finale of TUF, he was also awarded a UFC contract. He went on to fight for the UFC through October 2012, his last fight being a first-round loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 153 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He ended his UFC career with a record of 11-7. He went 15-9 overall for his professional MMA career.

During his UFC career, Bonnar would fight the likes of Forrest Griffin again, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Rashad Evans, and former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones. He also faced UFC Legend Mark Coleman in a losing effort at UFC 100.

Bonnar also did work in professional wrestling over the years. At Impact Wrestling’s Victory Road even in 2019, he lost to Moose in a one-on-one match. He also made appearances at House of Glory and IWS.

Bonnar’s last fight was a split decision loss to former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Tito Ortiz at Bellator 131 in November 2014. Bonnar’s impact on UFC and the sport of MMA as a whole cannot be dismissed. On behalf of 411, we send our condolences to the friends, family members, and loved ones of Stephan Bonnar.

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Stephan Bonnar, Jeffrey Harris