UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar died from apparent heart complications, the promotion announced on Saturday. He was 45 years old.
Bonnar played an instrumental role in growing UFC with his April 9, 2005, fight against Forrest Griffin during the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter”.
Griffin won the fight by unanimous decision and was awarded a six-figure contract, but UFC president Dana White also offered Bonnar a contract. Both Griffin and Bonnar were inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2013.
“Stephan Bonnar was one of the most important fighters to ever compete in the Octagon,” White told UFC.com on Saturday. “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.”
Bonnar went on to finish his career with a 15-9 record, losing his final match by split decision to Tito Ortiz on November 15, 2014.
After his MMA career, Bonnar became involved with professional wrestling and made numerous appearances with Impact Wrestling in 2019. He also spent time doing colour commentary for the WEC and served as an MMA analyst for ESPN and Fox Sports.