Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Evan Tanner, former UFC middleweight champion and one of MMA’s most popular fighters, has been found dead in the California desert at age 37.

Tanner, who had been camping in the Palo Verde area, sent a text message to a friend on Wednesday, September 3, saying he was out of water and needed help. He was officially reported as missing on Friday, and a search began on Saturday when temperatures in the area reached nearly 115 degrees.

Tanner, a blogger for Spike TV, discussed the trip in an entry dated August 16.

“I’ve been gathering my gear for this adventure for over a month, not a long time by most standards, but far too long for my impatient nature,” Tanner wrote. “Being a minimalist by nature, wanting to carry only the essentials, and being extremely particular, it has been a little difficult to find just the right equipment. I plan on going so deep into the desert that any failure of my equipment could cost me my life.”

In a later entry, he downplayed the danger.

“It seems some MMA websites have reported on the story, posting up that I might die out in the desert, or that it might be my greatest opponent yet, etc. Come on guys. It’s really common down in southern California to go out to the off road recreation areas in the desert about an hour away from LA and San Diego. So my plan is to go out to the desert, do some camping, ride the motorcycle, and shoot some guns. Sounds like a lot of fun to me. A lot of people do it. This isn’t a version of “Into the Wild”. I’m not going out into the desert with a pair of shorts and a bowie knife, to try to live off the land. I’m going fully geared up, and I’m planning on having some fun.”

Tanner, who never considered himself a fighter, fought 42 professional bouts in over 11 years.

“I always thought of myself as the poet, the writer, or the philosopher – I never thought of myself as a fighter,” he chuckled. “But here I am. I always had an idea of the flow of my life, but not exactly what I would be doing day to day. And fighting definitely wasn’t something I thought I’d be doing.”

Tanner’s motorcycle was found at a campsite and the body was found nearby by an Imperial County Sherrif’s Department Deputy on Monday.

The cause of death is not known at this time.
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