The Ultimate Fighter Season 1 star and Ultimate Fighting Championship Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar has passed away at the age of 45.
The mixed martial arts organization announced Bonnar’s passing on Christmas Eve. Bonnar passed away on Thursday, December 22, “from presumed heart complications while at work.”
UFC President Dana White paid tribute to the pivotal fighter, whose The Ultimate Fighter final fight against Season 1 winner Forrest Griffin became an instant classic and helped launch the company to a mainstay television draw for Spike TV at the time.
“Stephan Bonnar was one of the most important fighters to ever compete in the Octagon,” said UFC President Dana White. “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.”
Nicknamed “The American Psycho,” Bonnar would end his MMA career with 15 wins and 9 defeats. After losing to Anderson Silva at UFC 153, Bonnar would fight one time outside the UFC (a split decision defeat to Tito Ortiz) and then retire. In addition to his war with Griffin, Bonnar also had memorable fights against Keith Jardine, Rashad Evans, Jon Jones, and Mark Coleman. After his fighting career ended, he competed in professional wrestling and appeared in IMPACT Wrestling several times.