Stephan Bonnar, the UFC Hall of Fame mixed martial artist, died on December 22, 2022. He was 45. No official cause of death was given, but it was believed to be the result of heat complications.
Mr. Bonnar was the first runner-up on Season One of The Ultimate Fighter. His bout against Forrest Griffin is considered a classic. As the fight progressed the ratings for the finale continued to climb as viewers called friends to tune in. The winner of the bout was to get a six-figure contract with the UFC. Because the fight was so entertaining and competitive, both Griffin and Bonnar received contracts. Dana White, the President of the UFC said that the Griffin/Bonnar fight saved the promotion (which is now a multi-billion dollar business).
Stephan Bonnar ended his professional MMA career with a 15 -9 record.
I watched the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. I was also one of the people that called friends during the finale. The Bonnar/Griffin fight truly saved the UFC. It was because of that fight that the UFC television contract was extended.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Stephan Bonnar’s family, friends and fans.