Stephan Bonnar has always been the entrepreneurial type.
Whether it be teaching seminars or expanding his T-shirt brand, he has always found a way to squeeze a little bit more income out of his livelihood. This business-minded approach continued once the former UFC fighter retired from professional competition, as he decided to dive head first into an entirely new career path: Stock trading.
The decision to jump into an entirely new line of work was a simple decision for Bonnar - either he would start making a little extra money, or he would allow his knee surgery and recovery to get the better of him.
"It's like 'ok I'm retired, I'm getting knee surgery. Yeah I gotta find out figure out another way to make money' and I dabbled a bit in the trading, with you know, when you just buy like stocks and what not and buy stuff, and you know like 'oh apple pulls back', so you gotta buy something to hold onto it - or you know I did that with some airline stocks and Netflix - but then I got into day trading. The future." Bonnar explained.
"The like FP500 future's market where every day you just look for set ups and read the market in real time and make decisions, and a lot of trades close out in like a half hour and all the of them by the end of the day and it was just, it was different, and I mean it was really exciting. What a rush.
"I learned a lot of lessons, I broke a lot of rules and made a lot of money doing the wrong things, but then I paid for it. It bit me in the ass and I got lucky that I didn't get my whole account liquidated."
While many fighters retire and continue to find work in their field, either as a coach or a gym owner of some sorts, few have stepped outside of the boundaries of Mixed Martial Arts in search for a more fulfilling endeavor.
"My whole life was all about the UFC. Whether it was fighting, or training, or teaching seminars, and making event t-shirts, and making goofy t-shirts for the fighters, or doing TV work. I mean it was like my whole life was centered around the UFC. It was like my source of identity. And then you know, that went and then it's like 'shit, what am I left with?' you know? Just some dipshit who only knows how to fight people in the cage. learn something else."
Some competitors have the sense to leave MMA and focus on another stable living. Former Bellator heavyweight champion Cole Konrad retired as the promotion's champion to accept full-time work as a commodities broker. It is a path that some, but not many, gravitate towards.
Bonnar fancies himself as one of those few fighters. He simply refused to let his lack of knowledge stop him from learning a potential moneymaking endeavor. In fact, his new job has proven to be quite profitable - to the extent that simply accepting the fight against Tito Ortiz is costing him potential earnings.
"I started about a year and a half ago and since December I like probably logged in a thousand hours of studying. It was just like my wife thought I was nuts. Like are you kidding me? That's all you do? So now that I've trained for this fight again - that's another thing that Tito's gonna have to pay for. Its gonna cost me money - you know I can watch the market open in the mornings - good thing I'm on the West Coast. It opens at 6:30 - but within a couple of hours I gotta close everything up and go to the gym and train.
"I miss out on a lot of opportunities and this jerk Tito's costing me money right now."