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Category: MMA

MMA’s Best Fighter: Evan Tanner

Written on June 04, 2011 by Markham Mencken

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Evan Tanner was a very good stand up fighter with a very well rounded game. Not only did he compete, but he fought for the title while in USWF and in UFC.

Born as Evan Loyd Tanner on February 11, 1971 in Amarillo, Texas, was a former UFC middleweight and USWF heavyweight champion. He was also the first American to win the Pancrase Neo-blood Tournament in Tokyo, Japan. In 1997, he dropped out from college after feeling that he wasn’t getting the ‘real world’ education he was looking for. Then he was convinced by friends to enter a local tournament, not knowing that it will open doors to his professional career.

He won the USWF 7 and got his first championship after he defeated Heath Herring. After that, Evan Tanner successfully defended his title five times. He continued to fight in local shows and tournament before leaving for Japan to compete in Pancrase. He won five times while abroad and competed in USWF once more, before joining the UFC.

Evan Tanner made his promotional debut in 1999, where he submitted Darrell Gholar at UFC 18 via rear naked choke. At UFC 19, he was tapped to face Valerie Ignatov — who was widely popular for his leg submission. That said, Evan Tanner fought barefoot in the Octagon for the first time. While under the UFC banner, he became the middleweight champion after beating David Terrell with strikes at the first round.

Following that, Evan Tanner was in and out of the active MMA competition, until he decided to go to the desert alone. On September 3, 2008, he rode to the desert region west of Palo Verde, California to go camping. That afternoon, his bike ran out of gas and informed his manager – John Hayner – about it and that he would walk back to his camp. Then on September 8, a Marine helicopter discovered his body – slipping over to his side – near Clapp Spring with empty water bottles. The Imperial County sheriff officially cited the cause of Evan Tanner’s death as Heat Exposure. And albeit Evan Tanner’s time of death was calculated sometime between late September 4 and early September 5, his legal date of death was recorded as September 8, 2008.

TapouT Films are working to make a documentary of Evan Tanner’s life, travel and philosophy, to be directed by Gerard Roxburgh.

Pancrase Hybrid Wrestling
1998 Neo Blood Tournament Winner

Ultimate Fighting Championship
UFC Middleweight Championship

Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation
USWF Heavyweight Championship (1 Time)
7 successful title defenses


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