Stephan Bonnar passed away a few days before Christmas, with the pioneer of The Ultimate Fighter and UFC Hall of Famer just 45 years old.
Half of what has been dubbed the fight that saved the UFC, Bonnar clearly made an impression on so many in the industry. His death took the MMA community by surprise, and figures and fighters from different eras took to social media to mourn the loss.
At the end of TUF1 there was a cast party. I’m hobbling around the casino on crutches and I get a call.
“Hey. We have to go. Some bouncer put his hands on Stephan and Stephan kicked him in the head and knocked him out.”
He lived hard and fast.
Nothing but love, brother. https://t.co/J28htUPPYH
— Nathan Quarry (@NateRockQuarry) December 25, 2022
RIP to the American psycho, Stephan Bonnar. I remember seeing him and Anderson Silva.
From what I’ve read, UFC might not have made it without him and Forrest Griffin.
— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) December 24, 2022
Bonnar/Griffin changed the UFC forever! If you would know @StephanBonnar It was impossible not to love him, a loyal friend with a great sense of humor who once took over an entire floor of our hotel in Australia and made his own kangaroo meal! RIP American Psycho, gone way too young! pic.twitter.com/KMPEADC1ZX
— Mike Goldberg (@GoldieOnTV) December 25, 2022
Absolutely shocked by the news of Stephan Bonnar’s death. One of the most genuine and solid people I have ever met. My heart goes out to his family. Rest in peace my friend. I am so thankful that our paths crossed and for the time we had together. pic.twitter.com/HeQqVkbrM2
— Gray Maynard (@GrayMaynard) December 25, 2022
Stephan Bonner is a key element in the growth of our sport. I remember watching him and Forest fight and thought I have to try this. RIP a real pioneer!
— Frankie Edgar (@FrankieEdgar) December 25, 2022
Stephan Bonnar vs. Forrest Griffin was the first MMA fight I ever saw and it completely changed my life.
It is so incredibly heartbreaking to hear the news of Stephan’s death. Another left way too soon. My thoughts are with his family at this time pic.twitter.com/1wa2oz1s6H
— Megan Anderson (@MeganAnderson) December 24, 2022
My condolences to Stephan Bonnar’s family. His fight with Forrest Griffin changed the landscape of MMA and took it to the next level. He’s a big part of the reason we’re here today. https://t.co/NtGaVAN96M
– Michael Chiesa (@MikeMav22) December 24, 2022
Rip legend Stephan Bonnar…. Sad year for the MMA community… #ufc #mma
— Renato Moicano UFC (@moicanoufc) December 24, 2022
As all MMA fans know, Stephan was a pioneer of the sport. But he was also so nice and fun to work with. Whenever we saw him, even after his fighting career, he still lit up the room. Prayers for him and his loved ones at this difficult time. https://t.co/dMSUuBczdt
— Megan Olivi (@MeganOlivi) December 24, 2022