Combat Sports World Loses Stephan Bonnar

Combat Sports World Loses Stephan Bonnar

UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar was a regular face for years at our CAC Vegas reunions and award nights and even more visible at the weekend wrestling cards promoted by Billy Blade.

His first time attending was in 2015, the year music and acting legend Kris Kristofferson and his family came to the reunion. Stephan lived in Las Vegas and said "I've been a huge Kris mark forever and wanted to meet him when I heard he was coming to town with his wife and kids. I had little idea that this whole wrestling history brotherhood was going on every year in my hometown and wanted in right away."

Bonnar, always an excellent promo said he loved watching pro wrestling growing up in Indiana and later used some of the trash-talking he saw, first in MMA as a Light Heavyweight title contender("always the underdog, baby!") and later in national pro wrestling companies like Impact.

In UFC, he had classics with top names Anderson Silva(@UFC 153), Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida, Tito Ortiz and more. He was initially taught by Carlson Gracie and earned black belts in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Tae Kwon Do.

He made his pro wrestling debut in Smashmouth Pro W, following up in the House of Glory promotion.

Born April 4, 1977, Stephan passed away this past December 22 "of presumed heart complications while at work" as UFC reported in a news release. Only 45 with so much potential yet to come as he yearned for years to continue doing color commentary as he had in UFC, WEC and for the series MMA Live on ESPN2.

Stephan began wrestling amateur at just 10 years old then began black-belting while tackling his MMA disciplines. Once he retired from in-ring MMA, he was appointed President of the Minnesota-based North Star Combat Sports promotion.

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.” Many others in MMA and pro wrestling are sending him his deserved flowers online.

We'll all miss you brother. He leaves behind his wife Andrea and son Griffin Brandon, who Stephan named after his famous opponent Forest Griffin.