Today would have been the fortieth birthday of former UFC middleweight champion, Evan Tanner. The Pancrase and UFC vet passed away September 5, 2008, due to heat exposure as he trekked across a desert in Southern California alone, a few months after his final fight to Kendall Grove at “The Ultimate Fighter” season 7 finale.
Tanner was a former UFC Middleweight and USWF Heavyweight champion with a professional record of 32 wins and 8 losses. He was also the first American to win the Pancrase Neo-Blood tournament in Tokyo, Japan, and has held victories over Paul Buentello, Robbie Lawler, Heath Herring, Travis Fulton, Elvis Sinosic and two over Phil Baroni. His first fight took place in 1997, the dark ages of MMA in America, and Tanner battled for 11 years before his untimely death. A documentary about Tanner is currently in production, called “Once I was a Champion,” and clips can be viewed over on their Youtube page, which features many fighters talking about Tanner.
Enjoy this clip from MMA documentary, “Potent”, that shows the character of this man and why his time on this earth was up far sooner than it should have been. Let’s all take a moment and remember Mr. Tanner, not just as a fighter, but as an inspirational human being that we should all do our best to become.
Evan Tanner, 1971-2008. Rest in Peace.