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How did Stephan Bonnar die? Tributes pour in as UFC Hall of Famer and fighting legend dies at 45

Several professional fighters took to social media to respond to the sudden death of UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar
UPDATED DEC 25, 2022
MMA legend Stephan Bonnar has died at the age of 45 (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
MMA legend Stephan Bonnar has died at the age of 45 (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

HAMMOND, INDIANA: UFC veteran Stephan Bonnar has died at the age of 45. The Hall of Famer died suddenly on Thursday, December 22, and according to reports, he was suffering from heart problems. Bonnar was widely known for sparking interest in mixed martial arts. Bonnar won eight of his 15 UFC fights. Bonnar also tested positive for illegal substances twice, including in his last UFC fight against Silva.

In 2014 he returned to the ring at Bellator, but was defeated by Tito Ortiz and never fought again. A year earlier, Bonnar had been inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. Later, Bonnar, who was also known as 'The American Psycho,' shifted his focus to professional wrestling and participated in Impact Wrestling several times. The Indiana-born fighter also had difficulties in life after his competitions, and in 2018 he was charged with drunk driving. Earlier this year, his house caught fire, destroying both the structure and his family's belongings. At the time, Bonnar said, "Lost everything, the house is done."


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Meanwhile, on his tragic passing, according to The Sun, UFC president Dana White said in a statement, "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 and related to him and he always gave them his best. He will be missed." UFC also tweeted from their official Twitter handle, “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.” Several other former UFC fighters also came out and paid their respects to the late MMA star. 


UFC fighter Michael Chiesa tweeted, "My condolences go out to Stephan Bonnar’s family. His fight with Forrest Griffin changed the landscape of the sport of MMA and pushed it to the next level. He’s a big part of the reason we are here today." Another former lightweight champion, BJ Penn added, "RIP Legend. Terrible news. One of the nicest guys in MMA.” Former Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping noted, "Heard about this early this morning. Truly a heartbreaking loss. So very sad. Thoughts are with his family."





Kyle The Monster Nelson wrote while posting Bonnar’s photo, “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” Bonnarleaves behind his wife Andrea and their 10-year-old son Griffin, named after his dad's rival.

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