Ultimate Fighting Championship star Evan Tanner has died in the desert east of San Diego, possibly of heat exposure. A huge favorite in the Ultimate Fighting universe he was an inspiration to many and a hero to most. RIP Evan Tanner your style and aggression will always be remembered by your fans, myself included. God bless your family and enjoy this new journey. Please refrain from giving Jesus a triangle choke. God Speed…
Sheriff’s Lt. George Moreno said the 37-year-old Tanner was found Monday about two miles from his campsite in a remote area of the Palo Verdes Mountains, where temperatures had reached 110 degrees. Moreno said a preliminary coroner’s report suggests Tanner died of heat exposure.
Tanner left for the desert last week to go camping and motorcycle riding.
His agent, John Hayner, said Tanner called a friend on Wednesday to say the dirt bike had run out of gas. He was about 100 miles from the nearest town.
“As an extreme ultimate fighter, practicing mixed martial arts, he really didn’t define himself as being a fighter,” Hayner told FOXNews.com. “He defined himself as being an adventurer, and he would fund his adventures through fighting.”
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And Tanner has been thinking about risky adventures in recent months.
“This summer he wanted to go kayaking from Alaska to California, and I said, ‘Evan, that’s incredibly dangerous; you could die out there,” Hayner told FOXNews.com. “And he goes, ‘Well, you could die anywhere.’
“He always had this kind of concept [of], well, it sharpens your senses by being on a razor’s edge with your life actually on the line.”
Tanner, 37, had blogged ominously about his trip into the desert to “cleanse.”
“I plan on going so deep into the desert, that any failure of my equipment, could cost me my life,” he wrote on his journal for Spike TV.
Tanner made his MMA debut in April 1997, winning three fights in one night, including a win over Paul Buentello. His biggest fight came in February 2001 when he challenged then-UFC Light Heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz in the main event of UFC 30 but was knocked out in just 32 seconds.
Tanner later moved down to 185 pounds and won the vacant UFC Middleweight Championship over David Terrell, but then lost the title in June 2005 to Rich Franklin in a fight where the winner would also become one of the coaches for the second season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”
The UFC signed Tanner to a four-fight contract last November with the first fight of that contract taking place earlier this year in March at UFC 82 in Columbus, Ohio. He lost by KO to Yushin Okami and then suffered another loss in June to Kendall Grove by split decision on the TUF 7 Finale show in Las Vegas.