Stephan Bonnar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Stephan Bonnar
BornStephan Patrick Bonnar
(1977-04-04)April 4, 1977
Hammond, Indiana, U.S.
DiedDecember 22, 2022(2022-12-22) (aged 45)
Other namesThe American Psycho
Height6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Weight205 lb (93 kg; 14 st 9 lb)
Light Heavyweight
Reach80 in (200 cm)
Fighting out ofLas Vegas, Nevada, United States
Teacher(s)Carlson Gracie, Sergio Penha
RankBlack belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Sergio Penha
Black belt in Tae Kwon Do
Years active
  • 2001–2012; 2014 (MMA)
  • 2017–2022 (professional wrestling)
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout3
By submission7
By decision5
By knockout3
By decision6
UniversityPurdue University
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Stephan Patrick Bonnar (April 4, 1977 – December 22, 2022) was an American mixed martial artist. Bonnar competed as a Light Heavyweight in the UFC for most of his career. Bonnar was the runner-up on The Ultimate Fighter 1, his TUF Ultimate Finale loss to Forrest Griffin is widely considered to be the most important fight in the history of the UFC.[1][2][3][4][5]

Early life and education[edit]

Bonnar was born in Hammond, Indiana, and raised in Munster, Indiana, attending Munster High School.[6] Bonnar had an extensive background in combat sports, beginning with Wrestling when he was 10 years old, Tae Kwon Do at age 12, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu at age 22, and then added Boxing and Muay Thai when he was 24 years old. He earned his black belt in Tae Kwon Do at the age of 16 and was a two-time Golden Gloves Champion in the Super Heavyweight division. He attended and graduated from Purdue University in 2000, earning a degree in Sports Medicine.[7]

Early career[edit]

Bonnar began training Brazilian jiu-jitsu with Carlson Gracie during the summer of 1999, under whom he received his purple belt. Bonnar also trained in Muay Thai during several trips to Thailand. Since the beginning of 2010 Bonnar trained in Muay Thai in Las Vegas under Master One Kick Nick Blomgren at One Kick's Gym.[8]

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

Due to his strong performance in the Light Heavyweight finals, where he lost a unanimous decision to Forrest Griffin in a back and forth fight, Bonnar was awarded a six-figure UFC contract along with Griffin. After his loss to Griffin, Bonnar became the staple of the regular UFC Ultimate Fight Night shows at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, defeating such notables as Sam Hoger, James Irvin and Keith Jardine before succumbing to Rashad Evans by majority decision. In 2006 Bonnar lost a unanimous decision against Forrest Griffin in the long-anticipated rematch at UFC 62. After UFC 62, Bonnar tested positive for the banned substance Boldenone, a type of anabolic steroid. The commission issued a nine-month suspension on Bonnar's fighter's license and fined him $5,000.[9]

Bonnar in 2007.

Bonnar was forced to withdraw from his fight against Matt Hamill at UFC Fight Night 13 due to a serious knee injury he suffered during training. He returned to action at UFC 94 against Jon Jones, which resulted in a loss via decision. In his next fight at UFC 100 Bonnar lost a unanimous decision to Mark Coleman.[10]

Bonnar mentioned on the MMA Live Post Fight Show for UFC 101 that he was considering a drop down to Middleweight after two disappointing losses at Light Heavyweight. Despite this, Bonnar next faced Krzysztof Soszynski on February 21, 2010 at UFC 110.[11] Soszynski was victorious at 1:04 in the third round, due to TKO (Cut). Video replays that showed that the cut was opened up by a clash of heads led Bonnar to appeal referee John Sharp's decision. It was announced on March 10 that he had lost the appeal and the result would stand as a TKO win for Soszynski.[12]

At UFC 116, Bonnar won the rematch with a second-round TKO against Soszynski after catching him with a knee. The win broke Bonnar's three fight losing streak, bringing his UFC record to 6-6. The fight earned Bonnar and Soszynski Fight of the Night honors alongside Yoshihiro Akiyama and Chris Leben's fight.[13]

Bonnar fought Igor Pokrajac on December 4, 2010 at The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale.[14] He won the bout via unanimous decision (29–26, 29–26, and 29–26).[15]

Bonnar was expected to face Karlos Vemola on August 14, 2011 at UFC on Versus 5.[16] However, Bonnar was forced to withdraw from the bout due to an injury and was replaced by Ronny Markes.[17]

Bonnar faced Kyle Kingsbury on November 19, 2011 at UFC 139.[18] Bonnar defeated Kingsbury by unanimous decision (30–27, 30–25, and 30–27).[19]

With the UFC needing to replace the main event at UFC 153, they turned to Bonnar and Anderson Silva to fill the spot left empty by injuries. The two UFC vets squared off in a Light Heavyweight match October 13, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Silva won the fight via TKO. Bonnar tested positive for anabolic steroids after the fight (Drostanolone).[20] After his loss to Silva it was announced on October 30, 2012 by UFC president Dana White that Bonnar had retired from MMA competition.[21]

UFC Hall of Fame[edit]

Shortly after the announcement of Forrest Griffin's retirement, Dana White announced that Bonnar and Griffin would be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. Bonnar and Griffin were officially inducted on July 6, 2013.[22]

Bellator MMA[edit]

On August 27, 2014, Bellator announced they had signed Bonnar to a multi-fight deal, seemingly coming out of retirement.[23] Bonnar faced Tito Ortiz on November 15, 2014 at Bellator 131 and lost via split decision.[24] Thereafter, Bonnar retired for a second time.[25]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Independent circuit (2017–2021)[edit]

On April 8, 2017 Stephan made his pro wrestling debut at Smashmouth Pro Wrestling's event Smashfest in a Battle Royal. On August 1, 2017, House of Glory, a New York City independent wrestling company announced that Bonnar would be stepping into a wrestling ring for the first time ever to face another former UFC fighter and independent wrestler, Matt Riddle. However, Riddle backed out and he faced Sho Tanaka from NJPW instead. On December 2, 2017, "Speedball" Mike Bailey defeated Bonnar at IWS Season's Beatings in Montreal.[26]

Impact Wrestling (2017, 2019)[edit]

Bonnar made his Impact Wrestling debut on November 5, 2017 teaming with Moose losing to King Mo and Bobby Lashley at Bound for Glory (2017) in Ottawa, Canada.[27]

On September 14, 2019, Bonnar faced Moose in a losing effort at Impact Wrestling's Victory Road 2019.[28]

During the Impact Wrestling October tapings from Las Vegas, Bonnar faced Moose in a repeat of their contest from Victory Road. The rematch was used as part of Moose's buildup towards a match against Ken Shamrock at Bound for Glory later that month. The commentators said that Bonnar had been chosen as he was from a similar background and is a similar type of wrestler to Shamrock, therefore viewed as an ideal warmup for Moose. However, Shamrock then made an unexpected appearance after Moose disqualifies himself from the match by attacking the referee, Shamrock then put Moose in his signature ankle lock.[29]

Personal life[edit]

Bonnar and his longtime girlfriend were married on October 30, 2009, in Tuscany, Italy. The couple have one son, Griffin Brandon, named after Forrest Griffin and in memory of Andrea's late brother, Brandon Brown.[30]

He was asthmatic.[31]

Bonnar was a fan of the rock band The Who and used their song "Eminence Front" as his entrance music to his UFC fights.[32] Outside of competition, Bonnar has done commentary work for televised mixed martial arts programming, notably serving as the WEC's color commentator for most of 2010, calling 5 of their final 7 cards. He has also made appearances as an analyst on the ESPN2 series MMA Live[33] and for UFC broadcasts on the Fox television networks.[34]

After retiring from the mixed martial arts, Bonnar was appointed the president of North Star Combat, a Minnesota-based MMA promotion.[35]

Legal issues[edit]

On October 28, 2018, Bonnar was arrested in Nevada and charged with DUI. At approximately 1:15 p.m., the Nevada highway patrol received multiple reports that there was a red Cadillac, a vehicle owned and being driven by Bonnar, observed driving recklessly and making unsafe lane changes. When the NHP arrived on scene, they witnessed Bonnar had both hands tied and strung up to each side of his inside car handles. The pedestrians on scene said he attempted to flee the scene of the accident, so they were forced to "hog tie" him to the inside of his wrecked vehicle. This entire exchange was recorded via the responding officer's body cam and aired on the television shows season 4 of PD Cam. Officers also claimed that they could smell alcohol on Bonnar's breath and inside of Bonnar's vehicle. Bonnar was arrested on scene, refused to comply or respond to officers commands, and had to be carried and laid inside the back of the patrol car. He was then taken to the Clark County detention center where he was charged with DUI and resisting arrest.[36]


Bonnar died on December 22, 2022 , at the age of 45.[37][38] UFC issued a statement suggesting it was presumed that Bonnar had died of a heart complication while at work.[39][38]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed martial arts[edit]

Professional wrestling[edit]

  • World Class Revolution
    • WCR Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[44]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Professional record breakdown
24 matches 15 wins 9 losses
By knockout 3 3
By submission 7 0
By decision 5 6


Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 15–9 Tito Ortiz Decision (split) Bellator 131 November 15, 2014 3 5:00 San Diego, California, United States
Loss 15–8 Anderson Silva TKO (knees to the body and punches) UFC 153 October 13, 2012 1 4:40 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Post-fight announced MMA retirement. Bonnar tested positive for Drostanolone.
Win 15–7 Kyle Kingsbury Decision (unanimous) UFC 139 November 19, 2011 3 5:00 San Jose, California, United States
Win 14–7 Igor Pokrajac Decision (unanimous) The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale December 4, 2010 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 13–7 Krzysztof Soszynski TKO (punches) UFC 116 July 3, 2010 2 3:08 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Fight of the Night.
Loss 12–7 Krzysztof Soszynski TKO (doctor stoppage) UFC 110 February 21, 2010 3 1:04 Sydney, Australia Bonnar's cut was a result of an inadvertent headbutt.
Loss 12–6 Mark Coleman Decision (unanimous) UFC 100 July 11, 2009 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 12–5 Jon Jones Decision (unanimous) UFC 94 January 31, 2009 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 12–4 Eric Schafer TKO (punches) UFC 77 October 20, 2007 2 2:47 Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Win 11–4 Mike Nickels Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC 73 July 7, 2007 1 2:14 Sacramento, California, United States
Loss 10–4 Forrest Griffin Decision (unanimous) UFC 62: Liddell vs. Sobral August 26, 2006 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Bonnar tested positive for boldenone after the fight.
Loss 10–3 Rashad Evans Decision (majority) UFC Fight Night 5 June 28, 2006 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 10–2 Keith Jardine Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night 4 April 6, 2006 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 9–2 James Irvin Submission (kimura) UFC Fight Night 3 January 16, 2006 1 4:30 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 8–2 Sam Hoger Decision (unanimous) UFC Ultimate Fight Night August 6, 2005 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 7–2 Forrest Griffin Decision (unanimous) The Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale April 9, 2005 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States The Ultimate Fighter Season 1 Light Heavyweight tournament final. Fight of the Year (2005).
Win 7–1 Sean Sallee Submission (triangle choke) IHC 7-The Crucible June 5, 2004 1 2:28 Hammond, Indiana, United States
Win 6–1 William Hill TKO (punches) Total Fight Challenge 1 April 24, 2004 1 N/A Hammond, Indiana, United States
Win 5–1 Brad Lynde Submission (rear-naked choke) IHC 6: Inferno November 22, 2003 1 4:10 Hammond, Indiana, United States
Loss 4–1 Lyoto Machida TKO (doctor stoppage) Jungle Fight 1 September 13, 2003 1 4:21 Manaus, Brazil
Win 4–0 Terry Martin Decision (unanimous) Maximum Fighting Challenge September 7, 2002 1 10:00 Hammond, Indiana, United States
Win 3–0 Jay Massey Submission (guillotine choke) UA 1: The Genesis January 27, 2002 1 1:09 Hammond, Indiana, United States
Win 2–0 Josh Kruger Submission (armbar) IHC 3: Exodus November 10, 2001 1 2:55 Hammond, Indiana, United States
Win 1–0 Brian Ebersole Submission (guillotine choke) IHC 3: Exodus November 10, 2001 1 0:51 Hammond, Indiana, United States

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Stephan Bonnar Bio". July 4, 2010. Retrieved July 4, 2010.
  2. ^ "Ranking the 20 most influential fights in UFC history ahead of UFC 200".
  3. ^
  4. ^ "The 60 Greatest UFC Fights of All Time". August 16, 2022.
  5. ^ "The biggest fights in MMA history | DAZN News US".
  6. ^ Erickson, Matt (August 24, 2011). "Munster native Stephan Bonnar draws Kyle Kingsbury at UFC 139 in San Jose". Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  7. ^ "NameBright - Coming Soon".
  8. ^ Richardson, Andrew (October 11, 2012). "UFC 153 complete fighter breakdown: Stephan Bonnar edition". MMA Mania. Archived from the original on July 4, 2018. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  9. ^ "When Can The UFC Expect To See Alistair Overeem's Return To Competition?". Bloody Elbow. June 21, 2012. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  10. ^ Marrocco, Steven (January 28, 2010). "After Mark Coleman loss, UFC 110's Stephan Bonnar no longer a dream interpreter". MMA Junkie. Retrieved December 24, 2022.
  11. ^ "Stephan Bonnar vs. Krzysztof Soszynski expected for UFC 110". Archived from the original on November 9, 2009. Retrieved November 7, 2009.
  12. ^ Stephan Bonnar loses UFC 110 appeal, welcomes rematch with Krzysztof Soszynski Archived 2010-03-12 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Cain, Jeff (July 4, 2010). "TWO FIGHT OF THE NIGHT BONUSES AT UFC 116, $75,000 CHECKS". Retrieved December 24, 2022.
  14. ^ "TUF 12 Finale: Stephan Bonnar vs Igor Pokrajac booked for Dec. 4 in Las Vegas". Retrieved September 4, 2010.
  15. ^ Smith, Michael David (December 4, 2010). "UFC: Stephan Bonnar Beats Igor Pokrajac by Decision". MMA Fighting. Archived from the original on December 8, 2010. Retrieved December 4, 2010.
  16. ^ "Stephan Bonnar vs. Karlos Vemola targeted for UFC on Versus 5". May 10, 2011. Archived from the original on May 13, 2011.
  17. ^ "Bonnar Injured; Newcomer 'Markes' in for UFC Live 5". June 17, 2011.
  18. ^ "Stephan Bonnar vs. Kyle Kingsbury added to UFC 139 in San Jose". August 23, 2011. Archived from the original on October 21, 2011.
  19. ^ "UFC 139 results: Stephan Bonnar dominates Kyle Kingsbury on the ground". USA Today. November 20, 2011. Retrieved December 27, 2022.
  20. ^ Morgan, John; Erickson, Matt (November 2, 2012). "Stephan Bonnar, Dave Herman fail UFC 153 drug tests, await potential suspensions". Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  21. ^ "Stephan Bonnar Retiring from MMA". October 30, 2012.
  22. ^ "Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar Will Enter UFC Hall of Fame Together in July". May 26, 2013.
  23. ^ "UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar signs with Bellator, could do commentary". August 27, 2014.
  24. ^ "Tito Ortiz-Stephan Bonnar, Will Brooks-Michael Chandler set for Nov. 15 Bellator". September 5, 2014.
  25. ^ "Stephan Bonnar retired unless something comes along 'that sparks my interest'". April 7, 2015.
  26. ^ "IWS Season's Beatings 2017 Results", International Wrestling Syndicate, Retrieved on December 03, 2017.
  27. ^ "Stephan Bonnar". Cagematch. Retrieved December 25, 2022.
  28. ^ "IMPACT Results: Victory Road 2019 – Enid, OK (9/14)". September 14, 2019.
  29. ^ "Ken Shamrock Steps Up When Moose SNAPS vs Stephan Bonnar! IMPACT! Highlights Oct 11, 2019". YouTube. October 12, 2019. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021.
  30. ^ Iole, Kevin (October 1, 2012). "Stephan and Andrea Bonnar contemplating naming unborn son after former foe Forrest Griffin". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  31. ^ Samano, Simon (April 6, 2021). "UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar kicked out of gym over mask, mocks 'sheep' on way out". Archived from the original on April 7, 2021. Retrieved April 7, 2021.
  32. ^ Harris, Scott (May 13, 2014). "The 10 Best Signature Walkout Songs in the UFC Right Now". Bleacher Report. Archived from the original on June 5, 2018. Retrieved December 24, 2022.
  33. ^ Lane, Jon (April 13, 2009). "'s weekly "MMA Live" news program finding its groove". MMA Junkie. Archived from the original on June 29, 2022. Retrieved December 24, 2022.
  34. ^ Botter, Jeremy (November 2, 2012). "On Stephan Bonnar, Drug Failures and Tarnished Legacies". Bleacher Report. Archived from the original on November 4, 2012. Retrieved December 24, 2022.
  35. ^ Danny Segura (April 26, 2020). "Now president of North Star Combat, Stephan Bonnar hopes to land UFC Fight Pass streaming deal".
  36. ^ "UFC veteran Stephan Bonnar arrested for DUI by Nevada Highway Patrol". October 29, 2018.
  37. ^ Marrocco, Steven (December 24, 2022). "Stephan Bonnar, TUF 1 finalist and UFC Hall of Famer, dead at 45". MMA Fighting. Retrieved December 24, 2022.
  38. ^ a b "Stephan Bonnar: UFC Hall of Famer dies aged 45 due to heart complications". The Independent. December 25, 2022. Retrieved December 25, 2022.
  39. ^ Gerbasi, Thomas (December 24, 2022). "Stephan Bonnar 1977–2022". UFC. Retrieved December 24, 2022.
  40. ^ "UFC's greatest hits: The middle years". Yahoo. Retrieved December 27, 2022.
  41. ^ "Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Stephan Bonnar II, UFC 116". Tapology. Retrieved December 27, 2022.
  42. ^ "Stephan Bonnar obituary". ABC 7. December 26, 2022. Retrieved December 27, 2022.
  43. ^ "Wrestling Observer Awards 2005". Indeed Wrestling. Retrieved December 27, 2022 – via Google Sites.
  44. ^ "Breaking News: San Antonio, TX September 27th, 2019 Stephan Bonnar Becomes World Class Heavyweight Champion!!". Facebook.
  45. ^ "Stephan Bonnar". Sherdog. Retrieved December 27, 2022.

External links[edit]