It was announced by UFC that former mixed martial arts fighter, Stephan Bonnar, has died at the age of 45. Bonnar played a significant role in the UFC’s growth into the dominant promotion in the sport.
Bonnar, who was originally from Indiana, died on Thursday from “presumed heart complications while at work,” according to a statement from UFC on Saturday. No further details have been released.
Bonnar had not fought in the UFC since 2014, and had a record of 8-6 during his seven years with the promotion.
Bonnar appeared as a contestant on the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” the UFC’s long-running reality competition show, in 2005.
He made it to the competition’s finale, where he had a memorable and bloody bout with Forrest Griffin.
Although Griffin won the decision, the fight gained widespread attention and is credited with helping to expose the sport to a larger audience online and on Spike TV, which broadcast it. Bonnar was inducted into the UFC’s Hall of Fame in 2013.
In a statement, UFC President Dana White said, “Stephan Bonnar was one of the most important fighters to ever compete in the Octagon.
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.”
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