Stephan Bonnar, mixed martial arts (MMA) legend and UFC Hall of Famer, died on Thursday while at work. While the official cause of death is pending, its believed that Bonnar died due to heart complications. UFC President Dana White broke the news.
"Stephan Bonnar was one of the most important fighters to ever compete in the Octagon," he said in an official 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."
A Fan Favorite
Bonnar was a fan favourite despite never reaching that height. He traded wins and losses over his seven-year UFC run. The MMA fighter was highly regarded for his willingness to compete with seeming reckless abandon for his own safety.
The legend competed 26 times as a professional. He had 15 UFC appearances and one for Bellator. Bonnar made his pro-debut in 2001 with his UFC debut eight fights later; he entered the UFC at 7-1, but lost to Griffin and won the next three. About his fight against Griffin, he said it was a good fight. "It hit me when everyone started stomping their feet and it felt like the whole place was shaking. And that was in the second round. I was like 'oooh...this must be good'."
In 2019, Bonnar competed for Impact Wrestling following a two-year build on the independent pro wrestling circuit, and in 2020, the pro-fighter briefly entered the MMA circuit as a cornerman for fellow TUF 1 contestant Diego Sanchez. In his professional MMA career he came faced stars like Tito Ortiz, Rashad Evans, Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, Mark Coleman and Lyoto Machida.
Injury and Difficulties
Bonnar was also a wrestler but his independent wrestling career came to an end when he sustained an injury in the fall of 2021. He suffered from a broken back. And difficulties followed like a bad omen. Bonnar and his wife lost their Las Vegas home in a fire.
Now his death has left a gaping hole in MMA. Bonnar was a beloved fighter who stood out with his toughness.