Issue 204

April 2024

The first clash of gloves between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar at the Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale on April 9, 2005, wasn't just a fight; it was the resurrection of an entire sport. Dana White called it the most important fight in UFC history as these two TUF 1 contestants fought their way to a co-main event and a UFC contract. 

This monumental bout came at a critical time, with the UFC teetering on the edge of financial collapse. Griffin and Bonnar threw caution into the wind to deliver a relentless back-and-forth, especially as they entered the final round exhausted yet unyielding, showing the essence of MMA to the rest of the world. This battle exemplified MMA's dramatic allure and raw excitement, ensuring the promotion's survival and future prosperity.

They later met for a rematch in UFC 62, shown here, where Griffin again emerged victorious by another unanimous decision. While rivals on the show, Bonnar and Griffin were great friends. Following Bonnar’s passing, Griffin posts on social media: “Stephan was a lot of things: He was always the most interesting person in the room, he had the biggest heart, and most importantly, he was my friend. I always loved it that people got excited when they found out we were really friends. I’ll always miss you, brother.”

Sometimes, a fight packs a lot more punch when you dig below the surface. 

Date: August 26, 2006

Location: Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas