UFC Hall-Of-Famer Stephan Bonnar has today been unveiled as Bellator’s latest signing.
The 37 year-old has been retired since shortly after a first round 2012 loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 153 in Brazil. After the event it emerged that Bonnar had tested positive for steroids. It was the second time in his UFC career that ‘The American Psycho’ had failed a drugs test and led to him losing his spot as an analyst for both the promotion and FOX.
Despite that Bonnar was still inducted into the UFC’s Hall-Of-Fame in 2013, thanks largely to his legendary fight with Forrest Griffin at the TUF Season 1 Finale in 2005 which is often cited by Dana White as the most important bout in the history of the organization.
Now Bellator have managed to coax him out of retirement and Bellator CEO Scott coker sees some big fights for him on Spike TV, while it’s also believed that they are considering him for broadcast opportunities too.
“Stephan is a guy that has been a huge part of this sport, and we are excited have him part of the roster,” Coker stated in a press release. “He was one half of probably the greatest and one of the most important fights in MMA history, and it happened on Spike. When you look at our light heavyweight division, with names like (Quinton ‘Rampage’ Hackson), Tito, (Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal), Emanuel Newton and others, there are a lot of fights Stephan can be involved in. Big fights against big names. After talking to Stephan, I know that’s what he wants, and we want to provide that to our fans.”
Meanwhile, Bonnar is already talking up a potential fight with another UFC Hall-Of-Famer, Tito Ortiz.
“I want everyone to know I’m coming out of retirement because it’s time to free the MMA world of the virus that’s known as Tito Ortiz,” Bonnar said. “We’ve been suffering through his boring fights for too many years, and it’s about time that someone beats it out of him once and for all.”
Bonnar holds a 15-8 career record and went 8-7 during his time in the UFC. While he fought a number of big name opponents over the course of his 11 year stint in the sport, more often than not he came out on the losing end of the equation and so it may well be that he sees a former champion like Ortiz as the perfect opponent to change that.
The two have also had bad blood in the past, with Ortiz making it clear last year that he objected to Bonnar getting a spot in the UFC’s Hall of Fame.