Evan Tanner

A Spirit Still Fighting

Evan Tanner. Photo by Danita Rigert. Used with permission.

One year ago today, the mixed martial arts community lost one of its most beloved figures.

Yet the spirit of Evan Tanner is alive and well, and quite possibly stronger than ever, thanks to the legions of fans and supporters that he gained over the years. They are content to help spread the message he intended to share to the rest of the world before his untimely death last September in California.

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Link of the Day: The Tragic Tale of Evan Tanner

Evan Tanner. Photo by Martin McNeil.

Additional details have come out regarding the death of former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner, who sadly passed away from heat exhaustion during a camping trip in a mountain range near Palo Verde, California this past September.

Jon Wertheim, author of the new book, “Blood in the Cage”, has recapped Tanner’s fateful journey and looks back at the career and life of a man who considered himself much more than a fighter in a new article for SI.com.

Also for those interested, Tanner’s family has started selling memorial shirts and hoodies through a family friend here. All proceeds will go to the Evan Tanner Memorial Fund.

‘War Machine’ Released From UFC

Jon Koppenhaver. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

‘War Machine’, formerly known as Jon Koppenhaver before legally changing his real name to his nickname last week, has been formally released from the UFC following controversial comments concerning the death of former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner among other things.

In a recent interview with MMA Junkie, Koppenhaver stated that he learned of his release from the organization courtesy of UFC matchmaker Joe Silva this past Wednesday.

“Joe Silva—he was pretty much on a power trip,” War Machine said in the interview. “He was like, ‘I already told you that I already have Wolff for War Machine. I don’t know who he is thinking he’s negotiating with me. You know what? I’m sick of this guy.’ Then he brought up the Evan Tanner thing. ‘He made a dumbass comment on Evan Tanner. He’s not supporting the UFC. You know what? War Machine is cut.’ And they cut me.”

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Evan Tanner: For A Better World

Aaron and Livia Mello-Fisher, who put together last year’s MMA documentary titled “Potent: The Movie”, have put out some unreleased footage of Evan Tanner discussing an array of things including his thoughts on fighting, life, and himself. Part I is above and Part II is after the jump.

HT: Bloody Elbow

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Evan Tanner’s Top Nine Fights

Evan Tanner and Phil Baroni engaged in a pair of memorable wars during their respective stints with the UFC. Tanner was victorious in both of them. Photo by Tracy Lee.

He never set out to become one of the world’s best fighters, but Evan Tanner did just that during an eventful eleven-year career that saw him win three championships in three major organizations, including the UFC. Tanner’s career was filled with ups and downs, all of them memorable moments that are now etched in the minds of those that followed him until his untimely death over the weekend.

In honor of Tanner, here’s a look back at the most historic fights of his illustrious career and the defining reasons why Tanner became one of the most beloved fighters to ever grace the sport of mixed martial arts.

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Friends and Fans Reflect Tanner’s Impact

The continual outpour of reaction concerning the untimely death of former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner yesterday shows just how much of an impact he made with those that were involved with and followed the sport of mixed martial arts.

Tanner’s official website has been turned into an online memorial by his family, friends, and associates. Everyone is encouraged leave comments detailing their thoughts on Evan’s death, career, and life.

Chris Nelson of Bloody Elbow, which has had a bunch of coverage concerning Tanner all day long, has set up a petition formally asking for the posthumous induction of Evan into the UFC Hall of Fame. I’ve signed and I hope everyone else will as well.

Major props have to go out to our friends at Fightlinker, who have spent the entire day honoring Tanner by re-posting all of their old stories about him. Ryan Harkness’ thoughts on Tanner’s life and death is a must-read.

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Tanner Leaves Legacy to Believe In

Evan Tanner. Photo by Tracy Lee.

When David Singer asked if I would be interested in helping him with an MMA blog he was starting during the summer of 2006, I was elated. Knowing the success that he had with other websites, I figured that we could create quite the avenue for myself and others to voice our opinions on the sport. Once I figured out that getting in contact with fighters for interviews and to create stories was part of the job description, I became pretty nervous.

One of those fighters that helped quell my fears was Evan Tanner. He quickly became my favorite fighter once I started watching the sport years ago and was one of the first fighters I contacted once I started writing. It couldn’t have been a better choice. Easily one of the nicest guys that I’ve ever spoken to, Tanner, who was admittedly a shy guy himself, calmed me down as I stumbled on the phone with him for the first time. It’s something I’ll never forget.

So when a reader sent in an email last night saying that Tanner may have passed away over the weekend during his planned camping trip into a mountain range near his new home of Oceanside, I quickly became pretty upset.

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Evan Tanner Found Dead in California

Evan Tanner. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner was found dead in a mountain range near Palo Verde, California on Monday. He was 37-years-old.

The Imperial Valley Press first broke news of the story Monday afternoon, stating that a body was discovered in the Palo Verde mountain area and that authorities believed it may have been that of Tanner, who reportedly embarked on a camping trip into the range last week.

MMA on Tap has since been able to confirm through members of Tanner’s camp that the body found was indeed that of Evan. No other details are available at this time although reports have stated that it appears Tanner may have died from hyperthermia or dehydration after attempting to walk out of the range after his motorcycle ran out of gas.

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TUF 7: Finale Live Results

Results from The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale:
Rob Kimmons def. Rob Yundt - Submission (Guillotine Choke)
Dean Lister def. Jeremy Horn - Submission (Guillotine Choke)
Matt Brown def. Matt Arroyo - TKO
Drew McFedries def. Marvin Eastman - TKO
Tim Credeur vs. Cale Yarbrough - Cancelled
Dustin Hazelett def. Josh Burkman - Submission (Armbar)
Matt Riddle def. Dante Rivera - Unanimous Decision
Spencer Fisher def. Jeremy Stephens - Unanimous Decision
Diego Sanchez def. Luigi Fioravanti - TKO
Amir Sadollah def. CB Dollaway - Submission (Armbar)
Kendall Grove def. Evan Tanner - Split Decision

- Dollaway protested his loss, suggesting he didn’t tap out.  It did appear that he tapped once.  It resulted in a good-looking hanging armbar from Sadollah.
- Tanner could not solve Grove’s size.  He walked into a few punches, and looked surprised by the reach of Grove’s legs.  Tanner had a good third round, but nothing that compared to the first two, which easily went to Grove.  The split decision result was curious.

Live commentary:
MMA Weekly
Bloody Elbow

Video Hype: Grove Talks “Must-Win” Bout

In the above video, Kendall Grove, the middleweight winner of the third season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, discusses his upcoming bout against former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner, which will take place this Saturday night at The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rampage vs. Team Forrest Finale in Las Vegas, courtesy of ESPN. Grove also talks about his last two devastating losses at the hands of Patrick Cote and Jorge Rivera respectively, as well as his decision to move back to his native state of Hawaii in order to train with current UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn.

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