UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar confirmed dead at 45

UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar’s passing has been confirmed. Both UFC and a law enforcment officers with inside knowledge of the situation confirmed that Bonnar passed away on December 22nd.

Official cause of death hasn’t been released by UFC’s announcement stated it was due to “presumed heart complications.”

UFC writes:

“Stephan Bonnar was one of the most important fighters to ever compete in the Octagon,” said UFC President Dana White. “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 pioneering competitor who introduced himself to UFC fans on season one of The Ultimate Fighter in 2005, Bonnar teamed up with Forrest Griffin at the show’s finale to produce one of the greatest fights of all-time, later earning it a place in the UFC Hall of Fame’s fight wing.

“I knew it was a good fight during the fight,” Bonnar once said of the epic three-rounder. “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.’”

More than that, though, the first Griffin-Bonnar fight may have saved the UFC as it led to another season of TUF and introduced the sport to a new generation of fans.

“Everything changed,” Bonnar said. “I didn’t think I’d have a UFC career. It was just a little hobby I was doing, so it changed everything. Almost overnight, I became like a celebrity. Everywhere I went, someone would recognize me, even in obscure places. I was traveling with TapouT and we were in a small town. I was jogging and someone in a pickup was going ‘Hey Bonnar.’ And everywhere you go, someone knows who you are. It was wild.”

While fans speculate this might’ve been related to vaccination it’s unlikely that’s the case at this time. Bonnar was a big opponent of Covid vaccinations and had suffered professionally for it and even documented getting kicked out of a gym for lack of mask compliance.

He had a big episode sometimes last year when he ended up in a hospital that refused to give him medications. Turns out Bonnar was ill with a severe staph infection.

Doctors found infected abscesses on both sides of a fractured vertebrae he said he suffered during pro wrestling match. He spent five-weeks in recovery program.

Sadly this wasn’t the end of his troubles, his house would burn down in April of this year.

Family ended up setting up a gofundme and Tyron Woodley and Henry Cejudo were among the first UFC veterans to provide support. They ended up raising a little over $17,000 dollars for the Bonnar family.

Bonnar had to retire in the fall out from injuries suffered and was working as a commentator and promoter for BJJ competition High rollerz in addition to other ventures.

Bonnar was born on April 4th 1977 and is survived by his wife Andrea Brown and son Griffin Brandon. He will be forever remembered as one of the men that saved the UFC at a critical time. Rest in Peace.