Luke Bushwhacker is our expert on MMA and sent us a retrospective commentary on the life of Evan Tanner. For those who don’t follow MMA, Tanner a former MMA-great, was found dead on a camping trip, as the L.A. Times reports:
“His body is discovered in a remote desert area of Imperial County. Authorities say he apparently ‘succumbed to the elements.”
Like Chris McCandless in “Into the Wild,” mother nature got the best of him. Please comment on your favorite moment of Tanner’s. Here is an exclusive feature from Luke:
If you haven’t already heard, the sport of MMA lost a true warrior yesterday, Evan Tanner. Though not all details have surfaced, it appears that Tanner embarked on a trip to the desert, ran out of gas, attempted to walk his way out, and ultimately was overcome by dehydration in the mountains near Palo Verde, CA. The unfortunate circumstances of his death mirror the manner in which he lived his life both in and out of cage, which was loose and on the edge.
Travelling in the desert alone is dangerous for even the most experienced of outdoors men, but Evan Tanner only did life one way. In the ring, Tanner was a throwback fighter, never one for a game plan he entered the ring with an “Anywhere, Anytime” attitude. His style in the ring screamed “Me Against the World” and he was very successful using it. He became the USWF Heavyweight Champ in 1997 and successfully defended his title seven times. He then headed off to the UFC, where he immediately faced Tito Ortiz for the light heavyweight title and lost, but he eventually took home the middleweight crown in 2005.
Life outside the ring was a bit more difficult for the wild man. Tanner admits in his blog that he has battled substance abuse for much of his life and has every job known to man. Following a devastating loss to Rich Franklin, which cost him his UFC crown, Tanner could never seem to get back on the wagon. He attempted to start his own fight camp in 2006, which would essentially consist of seven or so fighters training and living in the same compound full time, but he was never able to get it off the ground. Disheartened and confused he spent nearly two years away from the fight game travelling around the US on his motorcycle. What was he doing? Where was he going?
As one of his many fans I wanted to know what had happened to him and why he had left us with so many fights left in his career. In 2007, he returned to the UFC, but faced two of the strongest new competitors in the sport and lost. Had the game passed him by? Maybe. But maybe he was looking for something more than money and wins in the UFC. Perhaps his motorcycle trip was an effort to look deep within himself and find out just who he wanted to be, unfortunately, we will never know. I never met Evan Tanner, I can’t say I know him at all really, just that I watched him put on a great show for the fans and do his best to build the sport to what it is today. Certainly we’ll miss him as a fighter, but I am also sure that the people of the MMA world will miss the human being even more.