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‘A big part of the reason we are here today’: Fighters react to Stephan Bonnar’s death at 45

The 9th Annual Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards at The Venetian Theatre Inside The Venetian Las Vegas Photo by David Becker/WireImage

Stephan Bonnar’s sudden death came as a huge shock to the MMA community.

Tributes from current and former fighters poured in online as they reacted to the death of Ultimate Fighter 1 finalist and UFC Hall of Famer at 45.

Many pointed to Bonnar’s status as a pillar in the history of the sport; his fight with Forrest Griffin at The Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale is widely credited for saving the UFC at a time when it was losing money.

The UFC announced on Saturday that Bonnar died of “presumed heart complications.” A separate law enforcement source told MMA Fighting Bonnar died on Dec. 22. The official cause of his death is pending.

Check out fighter’s reaction to Bonnar’s death.

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