|Association||Hard Knocks Kickboxing|
|Weight Class||Middleweight (185 lbs.)|
|Height||6' 0" (183cm)|
|Style||Freestyle, Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu|
|Birth Date||February 11, 1971|
|Death||September 5, 2008|
|Fighting Out Of||Gresham, Oregon|
|Evan Tanner Pictures||Official Website|
Evan Loyd Tanner (February 11, 1971 – c. September 5, 2008) was an American mixed martial artist.
He 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. Tanner won his first championship when he defeated Heath Herring at USWF 7, and went on to successfully defend that title five times. Tanner then won the UFC Middleweight title at UFC 51, stopping David Terrell with strikes in the first round.
|Record||32 - 8 - 0 (Win – Loss – Draw)|
|Loss||Kendall Grove||Decision (Split)||The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale||6/21/2008||3||5:00|
|Loss||Yushin Okami||KO (Knee)||UFC 82: Pride of a Champion||3/01/2008||2||3:00|
|Win||Justin Levens||Submission (Triangle Choke)||UFC 59: Reality Check||4/15/2006||1||3:14|
|Loss||David Loiseau||TKO (Cuts)||UFC Fight Night 2: Ultimate Fight Night 2||10/03/2005||2||4:15|
|Loss||Rich Franklin||TKO (Doctor Stoppage)||UFC 53: Heavy Hitters||6/04/2005||4||3:25||Lost UFC Middleweight Championship|
|Win||David Terrell||TKO (Punches)||UFC 51: Super Saturday||2/05/2005||1||4:35||Won vacant UFC Middleweight Championship|
|Win||Robbie Lawler||Submission (Triangle Choke)||UFC 50: The War of '04||10/22/2004||1||2:22|
|Win||Phil Baroni||Decision (Unanimous)||UFC 48: Payback||6/19/2004||3||5:00|
|Win||Phil Baroni||TKO (Punches)||UFC 45: Revolution||11/21/2003||1||4:42||Middleweight debut|
|Loss||Rich Franklin||TKO (Punches)||UFC 42: Sudden Impact||4/25/2003||1||2:40|
|Win||Shannon Ritch||Submission (Triangle Choke)||FCFF: Fighting Against Cancer||2/15/2003||1||N/A|
|Win||Chris Haseman||Decision (Unanimous)||UFC 38: Brawl at the Hall||7/13/2002||3||5:00|
|Win||Evlis Sinosic||TKO (Cut)||UFC 36: Worlds Collide||3/22/2002||1||2:06|
|Win||Homer Moore||Submission (Armbar)||UFC 34: High Voltage||11/02/2001||2||0:55|
|Loss||Tito Ortiz||KO (Slam)||UFC 30: Battle on the Boardwalk||2/23/2001||1||0:32||For UFC Light Heavyweight Championship|
|Win||Lance Gibson||TKO (Punches and Elbows)||UFC 29: Defense of the Belts||12/16/2000||1||4:48|
|Win||Travis Fulton||Submission (Triangle Choke)||USWF 18: Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation 18||11/25/2000||1||4:31||Defended USWF Heavyweight Championship|
|Win||Raoul Romero||N/A||USWF 17: Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation 17||7/17/2000||N/A||N/A||Defended USWF Heavyweight Championship|
|Win||Vinny Nixon||Submission (Keylock)||USWF 14: Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation 14||4/24/1999||1||1:07||Defended USWF Heavyweight Championship|
|Loss||Leon Dijk||TKO (Knees)||Pancrase: Breakthrough 4||4/18/1999||1||11:39|
|Win||Mike Cizek||Submission (Strikes)||USWF 13: Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation 13||3/20/1999||1||2:06||Defended USWF Heavyweight Championship|
|Win||Valeri Ignatov||TKO (Elbows)||UFC 19: Ultimate Young Guns||3/05/1999||1||2:58|
|Win||Darrel Gholar||Submission (Rear Naked Choke)||UFC 18: Road to the Heavyweight Title||1/08/1999||1||7:57|
|Win||Ryushi Yanagisawa||Submission (Arm Triangle Choke)||Pancrase: Advance 12||12/19/1998||1||2:24|
|Win||Gene Lydick||Submission (Rear Naked Choke)||USWF 12: Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation 12||10/24/1998||1||4:15||Defended USWF Heavyweight Championship|
|Win||Kiuma Kunioku||Decision (Lost Points)||Pancrase: 1998 Anniversary Show||9/14/1998||1||20:00|
|Win||Justin McCully||Technical Submission (Kimura)||Pancrase: 1998 Neo-Blood Tournament Second Round||7/26/1998||1||5:07|
|Win||Kosei Kubota||Submission (Arm Triangle Choke)||Pancrase: 1998 Neo-Blood Tournament Opening Round||7/07/1998||1||2:23|
|Win||Ikuhisa Minowa||Submission (Arm Triangle Choke)||Pancrase: 1998 Neo-Blood Tournament Opening Round||7/07/1998||1||4:05|
|Win||Tony Castillo||TKO||USWF 9: Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation 9||6/20/1998||1||4:06||Defended USWF Heavyweight Championship|
|Win||Dennis Reed||Submission (Triangle Choke)||Gladiators: Gladiators 2||4/18/1998||1||1:20|
|Win||Wade Kroeze||TKO||Gladiators: Gladiators 2||4/18/1998||1||1:00|
|Win||Rusty Totty||Submission (Arm Triangle Choke)||USWF 8: Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation 8||3/28/1998||1||1:36||Defended USWF Heavyweight Championship|
|Loss||Heath Herring||Submission (Rear Naked Choke)||PSDA: PSDA||11/22/1997||1||8:20|
|Win||Jesse Gonzalez||Submission (Choke)||PSDA: PSDA||11/22/1997||1||1:15|
|Win||Joe Frailey||Submission (Strikes)||PSDA: PSDA||11/22/1997||1||0:56|
|Win||Heath Herring||Verbal Submission (Exhaustion)||USWF 7: Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation 7||10/18/1997||1||6:19||Won USWF Heavyweight Championship|
|Win||Paul Buentello||Submission (Rear Naked Choke)||USWF 4: Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation 4||4/12/1997||1||2:20|
|Win||Gary Nabors||Submission (Keylock)||USWF 4: Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation 4||4/12/1997||1||2:21|
|Win||Mike Kennedy||Submission||USWF 4: Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation 4||4/12/1997||1||1:29|
Tanner was born in Amarillo, Texas and graduated from Caprock High School in 1989 where he won the Texas State Championships in wrestling as a junior and senior despite only entering the sport in his sophomore year of high school. Tanner attended college but dropped out because he felt that he was not receiving a "real world" education that he was searching for.
After dropping out, he travelled the country and eventually returned to Amarillo where he entered a local mixed martial arts tournament. What he thought would be an isolated event served as a springboard to his professional career. In 2008, he relocated to Oceanside, California. Tanner will be featured in UFC's new game, UFC 2009 Undisputed due out this May, as a tribute to the fallen fighter. He was a very deep person and many found inspiration through some of his quotes. Do you have any heroes? "I don't like to use the word hero. I would rather use the word respect. There are those for whom I have respect. To me that is something more than what “hero” means. I have respect for anyone who stands up strong for his ideals and principals. I have respect for anyone who has the strength to walk with integrity and live in truth and honesty. I have respect for those who have a big enough heart to show kindness to all those around them. I have respect for those who can laugh at themselves, and understand it is those around us that give life meaning."
Mixed Martial Arts Career
Tanner, with a Wrestling background, began fighting in 1997 when he was convinced by friends to enter a local MMA tournament, hosted by the now defunct Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation. Tanner won the tournament, defeating three fighters including future UFC Heavyweight contender Paul Buentello, in one night.
After his initial success, Tanner taught himself submission and grappling techniques using instructional videos created by the famous Gracie family. He continued to fight in local shows and tournaments in Texas and Iowa before traveling across the world to Japan to compete in the Pancrase organization. Tanner won five fights overseas and competed in the USWF once more before being asked to join the UFC.
Tanner made his UFC debut in 1999 at UFC 18, submitting fellow Amarillo native Darrell Gholar by rear naked choke in the first round. Tanner's next fight in the UFC was against Valerie Ignatov at UFC 19. Ignatov was widely known for his leg submissions and because of this, Tanner decided to fight barefoot for the first time in his career, citing that shoes sometimes make it easier for an opponent to gain a submission.
Tanner fought once more in Pancrase and defended his title two more times in the USWF before deciding to take the first of multiple breaks from fighting in his career. He returned to action in July 2000 and remained undefeated in the USWF, successfully keeping his Heavyweight belt in victories over Raoul Romero and Vinny Nixon. Tanner made his next appearance in the UFC at UFC 29, beating Lance Gibson by TKO.
A New Outlook on Fighting
With three victories in the UFC, Tanner received a title shot against UFC Light Heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz at UFC 30. Unfortunately, Tanner suffered his first UFC loss in just 32 seconds, being knocked unconscious due to a high level slam by Ortiz. It was after this defeat that Tanner began to become a more disciplined fighter.
Also during that time, Tanner began training with Oregon-based Team Quest. He returned to the Octagon at UFC 34, taking on Homer Moore, who he stopped in the second round with an armbar. At UFC 36 he defeated Elvis Sinosic by TKO (Cut), and at UFC 38 won a unanimous decision over Chris Haseman in an unaired undercard bout. In his next fight, at UFC 42, he faced Rich Franklin. He was defeated by TKO (strikes) in the first round.
After his loss to Franklin, Tanner decided that his frame was not large enough for Light Heavyweight, and decided to drop to Middleweight, where he would be more physically imposing than many of the opponents in that division.
Baroni I and II
Upon becoming a Middleweight, Tanner faced Phil Baroni in consecutive fights at UFC 45 and UFC 48 respectively. Both of the bouts between the two had their share of controversy. In the early minutes of their fight at UFC 45, Baroni was in control as he stunned and bloodied Tanner. However, Tanner was able to regain his composure and take Baroni to the ground where he threw a series of unanswered punches and elbows. After a brief verbal exchange between Baroni and referee Larry Landless the fight was stopped and Tanner was awarded the victory.
Immediately after the fight, Baroni contended that he did not submit and in the confusion struck Landless in the face twice. Baroni maintained that it was a verbal miscommunication and he never asked for the fight to be stopped. To quell the controversy, the UFC agreed to give Baroni a rematch at UFC 48. Their matchup at UFC 48 showed Tanner to be the clearcut victor. It was noted many times during the broadcast that Baroni did not look like himself. After the fight, Baroni stated that his gameplan was to prevent fatigue in the earlier rounds by pacing himself. Tanner credited his ability to stand with Baroni to training with his newly hired Boxing coach, Curtis Crawford.
Road to the UFC Middleweight Title
After winning these fights, Tanner was victorious for a third time in the Middleweight division against Robbie Lawler at UFC 50, submitting him with a triangle choke. Shortly after the Lawler fight, Tanner left Team Quest and began training on his own.
Because of his success, Tanner was given a shot at the vacant UFC Middleweight championship against David Terrell at UFC 51. Despite being the underdog, Tanner overcame losing his mouthpiece early on and a guillotine choke that almost ended the fight. He went on to control Terrell on the ground against the cage, delivering punches and elbows until referee Herb Dean stopped the fight in the final seconds of the first round. Tanner became the first UFC Middleweight champion since Murilo Bustamante held the title before leaving for PRIDE Fighting Championships in 2002.
Tanner was next given the opportunity to avenge his loss to Rich Franklin at UFC 53, who had also decided to drop down to the Middleweight division after fighting as a Light Heavyweight for years. Tanner was able to knock Franklin down with a right hand in the first round of the bout but Franklin took control from there, dominating Tanner until the fight was stopped by the ringside doctor.
Tanner's fight against Franklin at UFC 53 was for more than just the Middleweight title, as the winner of the fight would also become one of the coaches for the The Ultimate Fighter 2 reality show. Tanner had expressed a great deal of interest in being one of the coaches, stating that the opportunity would give him tremendous exposure. Franklin subsequently became a coach on the show along with then UFC Welterweight champion Matt Hughes.
After losing the title, Tanner began training with American Top Team, but lost his next fight to David Loiseau at Ultimate fight Night 2. Tanner was ahead on points until the fight was stopped in the second round due to a cut Tanner received from a Loiseau elbow. After this defeat, Tanner took time away to deal with some personal issues but stated that he would become an official member of the Chute Boxe Academy team.
Tanner returned to the UFC in April 2006 at UFC 59, defeating Justin Levens by way of triangle choke. Levens was a late replacement for Jeremy Horn who was originally scheduled to fight Tanner but was forced to withdraw after a training injury.
2006 – 2008
On December 29, 2006, Tanner unveiled plans to set up a mixed martial arts training camp that would reside in his house in Gresham, Oregon. The focus would be setting up a home for disadvantaged athletes and young men at risk. Tanner traveled from Las Vegas to Gresham in the following weeks and began to set up the project. Tanner remodeled and refurnished the house so it would be fit for the athletes to live in.
In February 2007, Tanner announced further details about the foundation. Twelve athletes would reside in the house from six different weight classes. (Heavyweight, Light Heavyweight, Middleweight, Welterweight, Lightweight and Featherweight).
In a March 2007 interview with MMA Weekly, Tanner was asked about the possibility of fighting again but indicated that he wanted to focus on developing his foundation. However, he did hint that he would be training year-round with the athletes he would be coaching and that it might only be a matter of time before he returned. UFC president Dana White was interviewed by CBS Sportsline one week later and stated that Tanner would be welcomed back whenever he was ready.
On May 11, 2007, further foundation development was put on hold by Tanner, citing his own training and a bad experience with the first fighter that was invited to the house. Tanner announced through his official website that he would return to active competition and continue his quest to regain the UFC Middleweight title.
Rumours stated that Tanner would make his return to the UFC in December 2007 at UFC 79 against Dean Lister, where he would represent the American Chute Boxe team. That report was dismissed by Tanner, as he did not have an upcoming fight with Dean Lister, and was continuing to battle his alcohol problems. Furthermore he stated that things had not worked out with American Chute Boxe and he no longer trained with them. He then started training at Hard Knocks Kickboxing in Las Vegas Nevada.
On November 8, 2007, Tanner announced the signing of a new 4 fight deal with the UFC. In addition to his signing with the UFC Tanner revealed that he intended to accept no corporate sponsorships in favor of starting "Team Tanner" intended as an exclusive fan club to be represented in his upcoming fights.
His first fight back in the UFC was at UFC 82, where he lost to Japanese fighter Yushin Okami by KO in the second round.
In what would be his final fight, Tanner lost to Kendall Grove in a split decision at The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale on June 21, 2008. In a post-match interview, Tanner stated that he felt "flat" throughout the fight, and that he had begun wondering if his two years of serious alcohol abuse had damaged his body past the point where he could compete at the level he once had.
In the second-to-last entry posted on his Spike-TV blog on August 16, Tanner wrote,
- "I'm hoping that very soon I'll be sitting out in the quiet of the desert beneath a deep blue midnight sky, listening to the calm desert breeze. The idea going into the desert came to me soon after I moved to Oceanside. It was motivated by my friend Sara's talk of treasure hunting and lost gold, and my own insatiable appetite for adventure and exploration. I began to imagine what might be found in the deep reaches of the untracked desert. It became an obsession of sorts.
- "Treasure" doesn't necessarily refer to something material.
- Today, I ran to the store to pick up a few things, and with the lonesome, quiet desert thoughts on my mind, I couldn't help but be struck with their brutally stark contrast to my current surroundings, the amazing congestion in which we exist day to day. The landscape as far as I could see, crowded, choked, with me and the rest of the species, an almost writhing mass of organisms, fighting over space and resources,....on the highways, in the parking lots, on the sidewalks, and in the aisle of the stores. And to think, there are still places in the world where man has not been, where he has left no footprints, where the mysteries stand secure, untouched by human eyes. I want to go to these places, the quiet, timeless, ageless places, and sit, letting silence and solitude be my teachers.
- 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. 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. I've been doing a great deal of research and study. I want to know all I can about where I'm going, and I want to make sure I have the best equipment.
- One more week. I think one more week, and I'll be ready to go. "
Tanner had recently purchased a dirt bike, and on September 3 he rode into the desert region north of Brawley, California to go camping. According to Tanner's manager John Hayner, Tanner called that afternoon to say that his bike had run out of gas, and that he would accordingly walk back to his camp. Temperatures that day reached 118 °F (48 °C), and friends became concerned and reported Tanner missing after he failed to contact them. His body was discovered by a Marine helicopter on September 8.
The Imperial County coroner determined Tanner's time of death to be sometime between late September 4 and early September 5, but the legal date of death was recorded as September 8. Tanner's body was found near Clapp Springs with empty water bottles. Tanner had reportedly intended to refill his bottles at the springs before heading back to the provisions at his campsite, but the springs were unexpectedly dry, and Tanner text messaged a friend informing him of this. However, Evan felt he could make it back to camp if he traveled during the later hours of the evening, refusing offers at that time to send help. Friends were told that if they had not heard from Evan by the next morning and could not reach him by 8am, they then needed to contact Search and Rescue.
Rescuers found Evan at a spot where he stopped to rest. During that rest, he succumbed to the excessive heat, slipping over onto his side into the position that rescuers found him in. An empty water pouch was nearby. According to the military article that was posted, Evan's motorcycle was at his camp, and within his provisions were ample supplies of water. The Imperial County sheriff's office official cause of death was cited as heat exposure.
A "Celebration Of Life" service was held in Amarillo, Texas, on September 27 at 2:00 p.m. at the Amarillo Civic Center. A less formal "Celebration of Life" gathering was held at a close friend's house for those that were a part of Evan's Oceanside life. It was attended by Evan's sister and those close to Evan, with sharing of stories and pictures of his life. At dusk, a candlelight vigil was held to honor their friend and loved one.
Ranks and Titles
- Former USWF Heavyweight Champion (successfully defended title 7 times)
- Former UFC Light Heavyweight title challenger (fought Tito Ortiz)
- Former UFC Middleweight Champion (fought David Terrell to win vacant title)
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