Unfortunately, he may now be remembered as nothing more than a cheater.
That's twice that Bonnar has tested positive for anabolic steroids, this time getting tagged for use of Drostanolone—a substance used for bodybuilding and artificially cutting cholesterol levels.
When it happened the first time after a unanimous decision loss to Griffin at UFC 62, Bonnar made no argument, apologizing and serving his nine-month suspension without complaint. Over time, he built up good will by (supposedly) staying clean and settling into his position as high-level gatekeeper.
But this time, the timing is far worse.
Bonnar was on the verge of walking away from the Octagon with the glory of being the UFC's ultimate loyal employee, willing to put his last effort into a fight where he was a historical underdog. It wasn't smart, but it was recognized as a selfless act from a man with nothing to lose.
As it turns out, Bonnar can still lose his hard-earned reputation.
Not only does this throw a dark cloud over Bonnar's last fight, but this second positive drug test also throws many of Bonnar's previous wins into question. What really fueled Bonnar's bottomless cardio and iron chin?
Did he really beat Kyle Kingsbury, Igor Pokrajac and Krzysztof Soszynski on his own steam?
Or, is it more likely that Bonnar had a little help from banned substances in all those bouts?
Either way, it obviously didn't help him against Silva. Bonnar was effectively outclassed by the world's greatest MMA fighter, who has ironically fought two men in a row that have failed drug tests.
(Chael Sonnen was suspended after UFC 117 when his urine sample showed an illegally high testosterone/epitestosterone ratio of 16.9:1—the average male ratio is 1:1.)
That's a pretty damning outcome for Bonnar, who simply wants to be remembered for something more than being a perennial Hall of Fame loser. As a fan of the original TUF 1 Finale, it's suddenly hard to look at him any other way.