Stephan Bonnar UFC

The MMA world learned of shocking news on Christmas Eve about the loss of an icon in the sport.

UFC Hall of Fame fighter Stephan Bonnar, the runner-up in the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter, passed away at the age of 45.

The UFC announced the news of Bonnar’s sudden passing on Twitter. They later revealed in their statement that Bonnar died of “presumed heart conditions.”

The tweet with the statement read, “The UFC family is saddened by the passing of UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar. We send our sincerest condolences to his family and friends.”

Many consider Bonnar’s fight with Forrest Griffin in the TUF 1 finale to be one of the most important fights in UFC history.

After news of his passing came through, reactions quickly trickled out.

UFC president Dana White issued a statement as well. Via MMA Junkie, the statement from White read, “Stephan Bonnar was one of the most important fighters to ever compete in the octagon. His right 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.”

Next, MMA reporter Ariel Helwani then tweeted and offered condolences of his own. Helwani said, “Horrible news. Not hyperbole to state that without Stephan Bonnar’s contributions on TUF 1 (and the finale) the sport isn’t what it is today. He will forever be an extremely important part of MMA history. May he restin peace.”

Then, veteran wrestling commentator Josh Mathews tweeted, as he said, “Very sad news this evening. Stephan Bonnar was always a class act whenever I got a chance to talk to him. Loved talking wrestling and MMA with him.”

Lastly here, former fighter and ESPN MMA analyst Megan Anderson also spoke after Bonnar’s tragic passing. She talked of Bonnar’s impact as she tweeted, “Stephan Bonnar vs Forrest Griffin was the first MMA fight I ever watched, and it completely changed my life.”


About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022