The UFC announced today the gut wrenching news of Stephan Bonnar’s death. Bonnar, aged 45, is a hall of famer and one of the great pioneers in Mixed Martial Arts. His legacy is one of the most important in the sport’s history.
Bonnar competed in the very first season of the UFC’s hit show, The Ultimate Fighter, with a contract on the line. There he made it to the finals and faced Forrest Griffin in one of the greatest fights of all time. Although he lost the bout, he was still awarded a 6-figure contract. The UFC, which was in danger of falling apart, was saved by his efforts.
This was due to how spectacular his fight with Griffin was. It was so good that the promotion was re-signed to major TV deals and was able to continue to grow into the worldwide sensation it is today. The cause of death is unknown, but it is to note that he struggled with substances in recent times prior to his passing.