The mixed martial arts (MMA) community suffered a tremendous loss this past week when news broke on Christmas Eve that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Hall of Famer, Stephan Bonnar, had passed away at age 45.
Details on the death remain unclear, but heart complications have since been cited by UFC.
Shockwaves rippled throughout the sport with many instantly reacting, offering their condolences to the Bonnar family. Now, his most important opponent and long-time best friend, Forrest Griffin, has provided comment on the tragic news.
“Stephan was a lot of things: He was always the most interesting person in the room, he had the biggest heart and most importantly, he was my friend,” Griffin tweeted. “I always loved it that people got excited when they found out we were really friends. I’ll always miss you, brother.”
Bonnar and Griffin were immortalized in MMA fame from the moment they debuted against each other in The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Finale in April 2005. The Light Heavyweight duo went to war unlike anyone had ever seen before at the time, providing an instant classic that is considered to have “saved UFC” when the sport wasn’t catching on. Ultimately, Griffin won a unanimous decision on the night, but the fight was so entertaining and memorable that UFC President, Dana White, awarded both men with exclusive six-figure contracts.
“The American Psycho” fought until Oct. 2012 with the promotion, going 8-8 (15-9 overall). Bonnar’s highest-profile career bout came in his final Octagon appearance against former Middleweight champion, Anderson Silva, in Brazil at UFC 153. He’d fight once more before officially retiring, signing with Bellator to battle another former UFC champion, Tito Ortiz.
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