Stephan Bonnar dead at 45: UFC Hall of Famer and MMA legend dies after ‘presumed heart complications at work’
AN MMA legend known for fighting one of the most important rounds in UFC history has died at the age of 45.
Ultimate Fighting Championship Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar passed away on Thursday « from presumed heart complications while at work, » UFC confirmed.
« Stephan Bonnar was one of the most important fighters to ever compete in the Octagon, » UFC President Dana White said in a statement.
« 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 for starring in the very first season of The Ultimate Fighter in 2005.
The program followed sixteen fighters while they lived and trained in two separate teams that competed in various challenges.
During the show, Bonnar faced off against Forrest Griffin in a legendary battle that revived the dying sport.
According to UFC, the fight may have saved the company after it introduced cage fighting to a new generation of fans.
« I knew it was a good fight during the fight, » Bonnar previously said.
« It hit me when everyone started stomping their feet and it felt like the whole place was shaking. »
While Bonner finished as runner-up, he did win a fan following and a fighting career he once could only dream of having.
« Everything changed, » he said.
« I didn’t think I’d have a UFC career. It was just a little hobby I was doing, so it changed everything. »
He would go on to fight plenty of memorable rounds in the next seven years, defeating notable players like Keith Jardine, James Irvin, and Kyle Kingsbury.
Known as The American Psycho, the Indiana native also faced off against fellow Hall of Famers Rashad Evans, Anderson Silva, and Tito Ortiz before ending his career.
His tragic loss comes after he posted about « losing everything » to a house fire earlier this year.
Just three days ago, he promoted a fight on Instagram in a now-heartbreaking post.
Bonnar retired from mixed martial arts after suffering a first-round TKO defeat to Anderson Silva in 2012.
But he returned to the cage two years later at Bellator 131, where he suffered a split-decision defeat to Tito Ortiz.
The American Psycho closed the book on his professional MMA career for a second and final time shortly after losing to his fellow UFC great.
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