Stephan Bonnar comes in at #9 in “MMA Legends of the Fall”. First of all, Bonner is here for two reasons: One he’s forever a UFC legend, being one half of Griffin vs. Bonnar #1 which Dana White calls the most important fight in UFC history. That makes him one of a scant few UFC ‘Mr. Incredibles’ in the annals of MMA lore. Finally, testing positive for steroids not once, but twice and being forced to retire following the second gets him safely on the list of the most noteworthy doping scandals in MMA.
The first time he tested positive was less dramatic for the presence of banned Boldenone, than for the fact that he chalked up his second loss to Griffin. His explanation that he felt forced to take the PED in order to try to heal an injury faster that would have surely cancelled Griffin-Bonnar #2 had he not, makes us look below the surface. The B story in this Top Ten List is this: the degree to which fighters, even the very best, are left with few or no alternatives but to enhance performances naturally or unnaturally to avoid being seen as soft, unreliable, or just not a company man.
With a year full of both new drug scandals and colossal injuries in elite MMA, its a question that’s going to have to be addressed before it threatens to undermine the long term credibility and viability of the sport, and continues to undermine the long-term health and wellbeing of the fighters who donate their bodies to the sacrificial science of full contact combat sports. But with a legendary rise and an unceremonious fall, the Stephan Bonnar story has it all. But don’t be fooled by the gruff exterior, Dana White is the master of the happy ending, inducting Bonnar into the UFC Hall of Fame with Griffin in July of 2013. Not that Bonnar doesn’t deserve the Hall of Fame nod, he does. It’s just that Dana White is so damned good at underplaying the importance of PEDs in the ‘Bible stories’ of UFC history that are always being creatively re-authored by Zuffa.