UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar died Thursday, the promotion announced. He was 45 years old.
The UFC reported that Bonnar, who notably fought Forrest Griffin in the season one finale of “The Ultimate Fighter” in 2005, died of suspected heart complications at work.
“Stephan Bonnar was one of the most important fighters to ever compete in the Octagon,” UFC President Dana White said in a statement.
“His fight with Forrest Griffin changed the sport forever, and he will never be forgotten. The fans loved him, connected with him and he always gave them his best. He will be missed.”
Bonnar, who didn’t believe he would have a career as a UFC fighter, said “everything changed” after his fight with Griffin.
“Almost overnight, I became like a celebrity. Everywhere I went, someone recognized me, even in obscure places,” Bonnar said.
During his career, the Indiana native faced future Hall of Famers Rashad Evans, Mark Coleman, Anderson Silva and Tito Ortiz.
Bonnar ended his career with 15 wins in 24 fights before being inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2013.
“We have lost a legend,” UFC commentator Joe Rogan said in a heartfelt post on Instagram, saying Bonnar will “never be forgotten.”
“RIP to American Psycho, Stephan Bonnar. I remember watching it with Anderson Silva,” tweeted Internet celebrity became boxer Jake Paul.
UFC fighter Renato Moicano tweeted his condolencescalling Bonnar’s death a “sad year for the UFC community”.
‘Stephan Bonner is key to growing our sport’, retired UFC star Frankie Edgar said. “I remember seeing him and Forest fight and thinking, I have to try this. RIP to a true pioneer!