UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar dies at age 45

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Stephan Bonnar

Stephan Bonnar, who helped launch the UFC into the mainstream with his fight against Forrest Griffin in 

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the finals of the first season of "The Ultimate Fighter" reality show, died at the age of 45, the promotion announced Saturday.

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Bonnar died of supposed heart complications while at work, according to the UFC.

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Bonnar and Griffin were both inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2013 

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Their knockdown, drag-out fight on April 9, 2005, is regarded as one of the most important fights in the promotion's history.  

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"The Ultimate Fighter" reality series and that fight in particular were critical to landing and keeping the UFC on cable.

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The drama of Griffin vs. Bonnar, with both men digging deep in a bloody brawl, has long been an example of what the sport of MMA can be 

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allowing it to form its own identity apart from other combat sports such as boxing. 

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Griffin won the fight by unanimous decision to earn a six-figure UFC contract. But the fight was so good that UFC President Dana White awarded Bonnar a contract as well. 

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