UFC Hall Of Famer Stephan Bonnar, Dead At 45

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The UFC has announced that Hall of Fame Fighter Stephan Bonnar has died. He was 45 years old.

The news release revealed that Bonnar died Thursday, Dec. 22 from presumed heart complications

News of Bonnar’s death broke on Christmas Eve after the UFC posted a tribute on Twitter.

“Stephan Bonnar was one of the most important fighters to ever compete in the Octagon,” UFC President Dana White said in the release.

“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.”

Others offered tributes to the late fighter.

Bonnar rose to prominence on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. The season finale featured Bonnar squaring off with Griffin in what’s regarded as one of the greatest UFC fights in history. That fight is also enshrined in the UFC Hall of Fame.

“I knew it was a good fight during the fight,” Bonnar once said. “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.’”

That fight is credited with helping the UFC’s popularity explode, something that wasn’t lost on Bonnar.

“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. Almost overnight, I became like a celebrity.”

The Indiana native went on to defeat some of the sport’s biggest names like James Irvin, Keith Jardine, Krzysztof Soszynski, Igor Pokrajac and Kyle Kingsbury.

Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle

Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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