("Get the fuck out of here, a movie with Christina Aguilera *and* Cher?!?!" PicProps: KTFOMMA.com)
Stephan Bonnar is a man of many talents, among them: Producing insane slugfests, being the subject of terrifying GIFs and offering fair-to-decent color commentary on broadcasts the UFC doesn’t deem too important. For a professional fighter, you might say dude is of above average intelligence. Smart, even. Granted, over the last couple of years Bonnar’s talents have not necessarily included winning more fights than he’s lost, but even after going 1-3 during 2009-10 his job security has never truly been in doubt. Why? Because he’s done the UFC a couple of solids over the years and because he can always be counted on to turn in a good show for the fans.
But we have to ask: Isn’t being a guy the company and viewers consistently expect to sacrifice his own body in the name of their personal entertainment both a blessing and a curse? Doesn’t Bonnar ever worry that the bill for all of these wars in the cage might unexpectedly show up somewhere later in life in the form of, say, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and/or dementia? That he might become one of those tottering old men who insists on calling his grandson by the name of his long dead brother and spends his one hour a day away from the retirement home wandering aimlessly through the women’s underwear section at JC Penny? Why yes, Bonnar admits on Wednesday during this interview with MMA Fighting. Yes, he does wonder about that.
"I’m not so much worried about those type of fights taking years off my career. I guess I’m more worried about them affecting my creativity and my quick wit," Bonnar says. "That’s what I care about. I want to be able to think clearly and process information. I’m pretty creative and I’m not too dumb for a fighter, you know? I’m a Purdue grad. That’s the one thing that scares me, is losing that. I’m not too worried yet, though. You’ve seen me take the shots and I’m still there, I’m still witty. In the back of my mind, I do worry about it a little though."
As much as we like to toss around shaky statistics about MMA being “safer than boxing” or football, we have to admit that the sport itself is so young that the jury is still out on its long-term effects to, like, the brain. For a dude like Bonnar, who relies on his mental acumen more than most, that has to give you some pause. At the same time, since nobody is holding a gun to his head and making him climb in there, he appears to be taking a “buy-the-ticket, take-the-ride” kind of approach here.
"At this point, I just want to keep putting on good fights for the fans,” he says. “Watching the UFC all the time, you sometimes see boring fights and it just reminds me, man, I don’t think I’ve ever been in one of those. I don’t think I’ve been stood up in a fight or had a break for inactivity or anything like that."
Plus, Bonnar is an MMA fighter, so while he admits to having concerns about his safety and the overall future of his cognitive abilities, there comes a time when he just says “fuck it.”
"I can’t help it,” he admits. “I go in there and it’s the only way I know how to fight, really. I’ve tried before to listen to coaches and slow it down and out-point the guy and not take many risks. I just can’t do that, so I’ve stopped trying. I know now what I’m going to do when I go in there, and the fans love it. Maybe it’s just my insecurity, but that really feels good, knowing that people like the way I fight …
“Really, what I’m banking on is all the advancements they’re making in stem-cell research. In ten years, when I’m hobbling around, I’ll just take myself into a stem-cell clinic and get some fetuses IV’d to me. …Okay, so I don’t know how it works, but whatever it is I’m probably going to be a candidate some day for it."
For the record, in 10 years Stephan Bonnar will be just 43 years old.