The UFC confirmed on Saturday that Stephan Bonnar, who helped bring the organization into the public eye by defeating Forrest Griffin in “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show’s championship match, passed away at age 45.
According to the UFC, Stephan Bonnar died at work due to suspected cardiac problems.
2013 saw the induction of Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin into the UFC Hall of Fame. One of the most significant fights in the promotion’s history is considered to have been their knockout, dragging out the contest on April 9, 2005. That specific bout from “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series was crucial to getting and maintaining the UFC on television.
The drama of Griffin vs. Bonnar, with both fighters giving it their all in a violent scrap, has long served as an illustration of what MMA can be and how it can differentiate itself from other combat sports like boxing. Griffin received a six-figure UFC contract after winning the bout by unanimous decision. However, UFC president Dana White gave Bonnar a contract since the fight was so excellent.
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On Saturday, White told UFC.com that Stephan Bonnar was “one of the most significant fighters to ever compete in the Octagon.” “His confrontation with Forrest Griffin altered sports history, and he will always be remembered. Fans adored him, could identify with him, and he always gave his all for them. We will miss him.”
Stephan Bonnar, a native of Hammond, Indiana but a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, had not competed in an MMA match since facing Tito Ortiz in the main event of the most viewed Bellator event in company history in 2014, which was held under the Bellator banner. When Bonnar last participated in the UFC, he lost to Anderson Silva, one of the greatest fighters ever. Bonnar has won his previous three fights before that one.
Before losing to Rashad Evans, who would later become the UFC light heavyweight champion, Bonnar also enjoyed a three-fight winning streak following his defeat to Griffin in the “The Ultimate Fighter” finals. In a rematch of their legendary battle in 2006, Forrest Griffin prevailed by unanimous decision. Griffin would later succeed in winning the UFC light heavyweight championship.
Throughout his career, Stephan Bonnar faced seven potential or actual UFC champions: Mark Coleman, Griffin, Ortiz, Silva, Evans, Jon Jones, and Lyoto Machida. Griffin was the name Bonnar gave his first child in honor of his greatest foe, who later developed into a close friend.
Stephan Bonnar, who had a 15-9 record at the end of his career, also occasionally served as an MMA analyst for ESPN and Fox Sports and provided color commentary for the WEC organization over the years.
Stephan Bonnar began professional wrestling after his MMA career and made several appearances with Impact Wrestling in 2019.
What Was Stephan Bonnar’s Personal Life Like When He Was Alive?
On October 30, 2009, Stephan Bonnar married his longtime lover in Tuscany, Italy. Griffin Brandon, the couple’s only child, was given the names of Andrea’s late brother, Brandon Brown, and Forrest Griffin.
His asthma was severe. The Who’s song “Eminence Front,” which Bonnar utilized as the music for his entrance into UFC fights, was his favorite. In addition to competing, Bonnar has provided commentary for televised mixed martial arts events. He was the WEC’s color commentator for most of 2010 and called five of the WEC’s final seven fights.
Additionally, he has appeared as a commentator for the ESPN2 program MMA Live and UFC broadcasts on Fox television networks. After he retired from mixed martial arts, Bonnar was chosen to lead North Star Combat, an MMA company based in Minnesota.