Terrible news took the MMA community by storm as we all learned that MMA legend Stephan Bonnar has tragically passed away. 2022 was a hard one in terms of the MMA fighters lost; Elias Theodorou, Anthony ‘Rumble' Johnson, and now Stephan Bonnar — all three have these UFC vets have tragically left us this year.
Stephan Bonnar was not only fought the who's who of the UFC, but he was one half of the most important fight in the organization's history. In fact, it's not terribly farfetched to say that Griffin vs Bonnar was the fight that saved the UFC!
Though the first season of The Ultimate Fighter didn't go poorly, the UFC was essentially a sinking ship. The organization desperately needed to capture attention while the season finale was aired on television. Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin went to war and the views came pouring in, thus, the UFC was saved.
It takes two to tango, and even though Forrest Griffin took the win, Bonnar put on a performance that would not and could not be denied some sort of victory. The fans and the UFC didn't see a winner and a loser, but rather, two warriors that deserved nothing but respect for the battle they just went through. Both fighters received a contract immediately after the bout.
Bonnar was more than the Griffin fight, though. He went on to have a great run in the UFC! He took on the likes of Keith Jardine, Rashad Evans, Anderson Silva, and Jon Jones. Yeah, he fought two of the arguable MMA GOATs.
Bonnar wrapped up his time with the UFC after losing to Anderson Silva in 2012. Two years later, Bonnar found himself opposite fellow MMA legend, Tito Ortiz. He'd lose this fight by split decision after going 3 rounds.
Regardless of wins and losses, Bonnar showed what it meant to be a fighter. He showed that hard work and the will to win can really take one's career to the next level. Further, he was loved. Bonnar leaves behind a family and a whole lot of fans that wouldn't have found MMA had it not been for him.
Bonnar spent the last year dealing with a severe staff infection that hospitalized him. He seemed to be on a bit of an upswing and was in better spirits when interviewed. The cause of his untimely passing is presumed to be heart complications.
Bonnar was inducted into the UFC's Hall of Fame in 2013. On behalf of anyone that has ever enjoyed an MMA fight, we'd like to give our deepest condolences to anyone who had the pleasure of knowing Stephan Bonnar.
Stephan Bonnar is immortalized through his body of work. Having a spot on the UFC's Hall of Fame is great, but the fighting spirit that he carried has influenced an entire generation of fighters. He has left his mark in one of the best ways possible. “Gone but not forgotten” hardly scratches the surface with someone like Bonnar, who contributed to the growth of a sport that has and will continue to change so many lives.