What a great person. It feels like we lost one of our own.
True. It still seems a bit surreal. I just can't believe he's gone.
Tanner was an MMA fighter to treasure
By Dave Sholler
Special to the Caller-Times
Originally published 05:25 p.m., September 12, 2008
Updated 05:25 p.m., September 12, 2008
Former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner didn't drive a fancy car. He didn't live in a mansion with dozens of plasma televisions and a Sub-Zero refrigerator either. For the Amarillo native, material possessions meant very little.
The 11-year professional sought fulfillment in ways that had nothing to do with designer clothes, shiny jewelry, or customized sports cars.
Simply put, Tanner derived pleasure from experiencing the little things in life that many take for granted. He enjoyed testing the ocean with his surfboard. He grew fond of pounding the winding roads and terrain with his mountain bike. And most notably, he found satisfaction in spending time learning about nature.
A self-described minimalist, Tanner planned to embark on a journey deep into the Southern California desert last week. Writing on his blog for Spike TV's Web site, Tanner called the trip a "pilgrimage" in order for him "to do some thinking."
Unfortunately, a trip that was supposed to be a peaceful retreat turned into a tragic mystery. While few details have been released, officials in Imperial County, Calif., confirmed Tanner's body was found in the desert Monday. Initial reports suggest Tanner passed away after succumbing to 100-plus degree temperatures in the California wilderness. The former champion was 37.
Even though circumstances surrounding Tanner's death are unknown, it is clear by the reaction from the MMA community that the Texan was deeply respected. Recognized for his powerful knees and proficient ground game inside the Octagon, perhaps Tanner will be best remembered for his friendly demeanor outside of the cage.
The first American to win the Pancrase Neo-Blood Tournament in Tokyo, Japan, Tanner boasted one of the sport's finest resumes. However, long before trading punches with Rich Franklin or David Loiseau, Tanner built a reputation as one of MMA's gentle warriors.
He was gracious with his time. Whether it was with an aspiring fighter, pesky reporter, or star-struck fan, Tanner was genuine and gave each person the respect they deserved.
On top of showing great humility with fans and media alike, Tanner spoke few ill words toward his opponents. Having fought the likes of Tito Ortiz, Heath Herring, Phil Baroni, and Robbie Lawler, Tanner could have embraced a arrogant, "me against the world" attitude. He could have opted to engage in trash talk. Instead, he showed gratitude and appreciation for his opponents, ultimately letting his skills doing the talking.
Above all, Tanner never once lost sight of his own personal beliefs while achieving fame. When corporate sponsors offered bags full of money for Tanner to wear their logos, the former University of Oklahoma student chose to keep things simple.
He wasn't in the sport for their money. Unlike others who fought to make ends meet, Tanner battled to challenge his mind, body, and soul.
Evan Tanner jokingly told readers of his blog that he was heading into the California desert to "find treasure." In need of some time to reflect, the former 185-pound champion felt that solitude in the desert was the best opportunity for mental clarity.
Tanner never returned from his trip to the desert. However, those that know the humble fighter realize that he likely found the peace he was looking for.
It's just the way Evan Tanner was. He was humble. He was grateful.
He was one to treasure.
tough pill to swallow, may his soul rest in peace
never met him but feel like i have lost a close friend
im still in disbelief.
TTT for a great fighter and a great human.
there is a shortage of them these days.
With all the stresses of life and the constant pressures to always making money, ect. ect..Evan Tanner makes you want to be more like him in this respect. More like a minimilist. There is something peacefull about thinking this way. Placing it into action is the hard part. It sounds cliche' but when the word Warrior is used in MMA, he is that. I say is, and not "was' because his spirit will live inside many of us. He makes you stop and smell the roses so to speak.
He certainly had something about him that made the word "Warrior" totally fit. He is the first one that comes to mind when you hear that word. There are a lot of tough guys who aren't afraid to fight, but he had that extra something that brought a sense of honor and purpose to it.
I agree. And more than likely because he was a good guy with a big heart. And also one that could kick the shit out of you if need be. RIP Evan. Hard to believe you've left us.
I couldn't agree more, jason
Yeah it really sucks. I never met him, but feel like I lost a close friend. I could'nt even watch Spike, because they showed his last fight. I got even more bummed out when they started Inside MMA talking about him. I wish I could have met him......
I always enjoyed watching him fight and respected his openess about his life when he wrote his blogs. He was'nt afraid to let people know he was a regular guy.
R.I.P. champ, gone but never forgotten........
They did a very well thought out piece on him on Inside MMA.
He was a great person. Someone who did right. He didn't care about material objects and wanted to do his part for society. You gotta respect that.
^ Indeed, we lost a very unique and wonderful person. I hope that he will continue to inspire people (with the same spirit he had ,alive) in death. There are some very worthwhile interviews and tributes out there that are worth watching. Evan Tanner was 1 in a million! RIP
I just keep listening to the Into the Wild soundtrack..over and over