UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar is leaving retirement behind to join Bellator MMA. | Photo: Gleidson Venga/Sherdog.com
Stephan Bonnar, who retired from mixed martial arts in 2012, has signed with Bellator MMA.
The news was announced via press release on Wednesday. It seems likely Bonnar will be returning to compete for the Scott Coker-led promotion, as “The American Psycho” calls out Tito Ortiz in the release.
"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 via press release. “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."
Aside from returning to compete, the 37-year-old will also have his hand in on various components relating to Bellator, including the possibility of on-air commentating and analysis.
Bonner hung up his gloves after suffering a lopsided first-round knockout loss at the hands of Anderson Silva at UFC 153. With a career mark of 15-8, Bonnar has lost only to champions or former champions Forrest Griffin, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Jon Jones, Mark Coleman, and Silva, aside from a controversial TKO loss to Krzysztof Soszynski.
Bonnar's legendary brawl against Griffin on the finale of the inaugural “The Ultimate Fighter” is widely credited with helping put the UFC on the map and is often mentioned among the greatest fights in MMA history.
“Stephan is a guy that has been a huge part of this sport and we are excited have him as part of the roster,” said Bellator President Scott Coker. “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 Rampage, Tito, King Mo, 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.”
Bonnar is expected back inside the cage before the end of 2014.