UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar has died at the age of 45.
The UFC confirmed the heartbreaking news on social media, leaving fighters and fans across the MMA community shattered.
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“The UFC family is saddened by the passing of UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar. We send our sincerest condolences to his family and friends,” the UFC tweeted.
Bonnar was a finalist on the first ever season of The Ultimate Fighter and was credited by UFC boss Dana White as saving the promotion when he and Forest Griffin stood toe-to-toe and unleashed at the end of a hellacious fight during the season finale.
No official cause of death has been released.
Bonnar and Griffin were inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013 with White saying during the ceremony: “There has never been a more important fight in the history of the UFC.”
Tributes came pouring in from across the UFC as the news rocked every fighter and fan.
UFC legend Michael Bisping wrote: “Heard about this early this morning. Truly a heartbreaking loss. So very sad. Thoughts are with his family.”
Current UFC fighter Kyle Nelson wrote: “The first time I ever heard of mixed martial arts was when I was 14 and saw the first ultimate fighter. That started the dream that led me to where I am today. The finale between Stephan and Forrest saved the UFC from going under. R.I.P.”
UFC analyst Megan Anderson wrote: “Stephan Bonnar vs Forrest Griffin was the first mma fight I ever watched, and it completely changed my life. It is so incredibly heartbreaking to hear the news of Stephan’s passing. Another one gone too soon. My thoughts are with his family during this time.”
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